A selection of poems notable for frequency of appearance, significance to their miscellany context, or meta-reflection on the subject of compiling a poetry book

Displaying 1–25 poems out of 192 total


Search for keywords within first line, transcription, description, or author name. For exact phrases, use quotation marks (e.g. “A knife dear girl”)

First Line Author Description Manuscripts
'Tis Friendship's pledge, my Young, fair friend [Anonymous]

Occasional (Presentation of a gift book) [Friendship; Literature]. 

Transcribed from UChicago Library Codex Ms. 549.

'Twas on a lofty vase's side Thomas Gray

Occasional (Death of a cat) [Animals, pets]. 

Transcribed from "On the death of a favorite cat, drowned in a tub of goldfishes." London magazine, or, Gentleman's monthly intelligencer, vol. 17, April 1748, p. 183. British Periodicals, [ProQuest document ID] 5223708. 

A Hermit on the Banks of Trent, Edmund Cartwright

Narrative, Educational material, Ballad.

Transcribed from Four poems viz: I. Armine and Elvira. II. The hermit of Warkworth. III. The deserted village. IV. The traveller. N.p., [1773]. Eighteenth Century Collections Online. ESTC T63588.

A Knife, dear Girl, cuts Love, they say Samuel Bishop

Occasional (Presentation of gift) [Love; Marriage, courtship]. 

Transcribed from "To Mrs Bishop, with a Present of a Knife." Bishop, Samuel. The poetical works of the Rev. Samuel Bishop... Vol. 2, 1796. Eighteenth Century Collections Online, GALE|CW0116327478.

A Man of Wisdom may disguise Richard Savage

Narrative [Bodily functions; Humour]. 

Transcribed from "A True Tale of a young Squire." The Merry companion: or, A cure for the spleen... 1730, pp. 92–95. Eighteenth Century Collections Online, GALE|CB0127993130.

A Northern pair, we wave the name

Narrative [Courtship, marriage; Love; Family]. 

Transcribed from "The Power of Innocence." The Gentleman's Magazine: and historical chronicle, vol. 19, Nov. 1749, p. 517. ProQuest, [ProQuest document ID:] 8907766.

All hail! inexorable lord! Robert Burns

Lyric [Death, afterlife; Devotional writing, religious belief].

Transcribed from Burns, Robert. "To Ruin." Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect. By Robert Burns, 1787, pp. 176–177. Eighteenth Century Collections Online, GALE|CW0110589506.

All in the Downs the fleet was moor'd John Gay

Ballad; Narrative [Love; Passions, Sentiments; Travel; Women].

Transcribed from Gay, John. "Sweet William's Farewell to Black-Ey'd Susan." Poems on several occasions. Volume the first, 1720, pp. 405-407. Eighteenth Century Collections Online, GALE|CB0131703456. 

As Nero Laughing saw the flames consume [Anonymous]

Essay [Public affairs; Historical subjects].

Transcribed from "Nero the Second, Monstrum Horrendum," English Jacobite Ballads, Songs & Satires, etc. From the MSS. at Towneley Hall, Lancashire. ed. by Alexander B. Grosart, 1877, Lancashire, pp. 6–8. Hathi Trust, https://hdl.handle.net/2027/coo1.ark:/13960/t7hq4gz7v.

As on his Death-bed gasping Strephon lay Thomas Flatman

Elegy; Pastoral [Death, afterlife; Conduct, morality].

Transcribed from Wilmot, John. The works of the Earls of Rochester, Roscommon, Dorset, &c. In two volumes. Adorn'd with cuts, 1714. Eighteenth Century Collections Online, GALE|CW0108648301. 

As some fond virgin, whom her mother's care Alexander Pope

Pastoral; Narrative [Women; Solitude, retirement]. 

Transcribed from Pope, Alexander. "To a Young Lady on her leaving the Town after the Coronation." The works of Mr. Alexander Pope, 1717, pp. 373–375. Eighteenth Century Collections Online, GALE|CW0110765267. 

As those we love decay, we die in part James Thomson

Epitaph [Death, afterlife; Friendship].

Transcribed from Thomson, James. "Verses Occasioned by the Death of Mr. Aikman, a particular Friend of the Author's." Poems on several occasions. By James Thomson, 1750, p. 5. Eighteenth Century Collections Online, GALE|CW0114295665. 

Asses milk, half a pint, take at seven, or before; Philip Dormer Stanhope

Educational material [Domestic life; Conduct, morality; Women].

Transcribed from "Advice to a young Lady." The Gentleman's Magazine: and historical chronicle, vol. 6, November 1736, p. 680. ProQuest, [ProQuest document ID:] 8305661.

At length escap’d from ev’ry Human Eye George Lyttelton

Elegy [Death, afterlife; Love]. 

Transcribed from Lyttleton, George. To the Memory of a Lady Lately Deceased, 1747.

At Se'noke so fam'd for Virginity old Elizabeth Amherst Thomas

Song; Narrative [Women; Courtship, marriage; Satire - social].

Transcribed from "Se'noke Nunnery. To the Tune of Packington's Pound." Poems on several occasions, from genuine manuscripts of Dean Swift..., 1749, pp. 36–45. Eighteenth Century Collections Online, GALE|CW0111602085.

Before creating Nature will'd


Transcribed from "A Riddle by a Lady." The Gentleman's Magazine, vol. 7 September 1737, p. 567. British Periodicals, [Proquest Document ID:] 8535142. 

Beneath this Stone lies Katherine Gray [Anonymous]

Epitaph [Death, afterlife].

Transcribed from Hackett, John. Select and remarkable epitaphs on illustrious and other persons..., 1757, vol. 1, p. 217. Eighteenth Century Collections Online, GALE|CW0102442696.

Blest be the Man! his Memory at least Anne Kingsmill Finch

Lyric [Friendship; Literature]. 

Transcribed from Finch, Anne Kingsmill, "To a Friend, in Praise of the Invention of Writing Letters," Miscellany poems, on several occasions, 1713, pp. 214–216. Eighteenth Century Collections Online, GALE|CW0115381121.

Blush not, ye Fair, to own me, but be wise

Epitaph [Women; Conduct, morality].

Usually paired with poem on a man's skull, "Why start! the Case is yours, or will be soon..."

Transcribed from "On a Lady." Select and remarkable epitaphs on illustrious and other persons.... vol. 2, ed. John Hackett, 1757, pp. 94–95. Eighteenth Century Collections Online, GALE|CW0102442998.

Boy! bring an Ounce of Freeman's best Isaac Hawkins Browne

Imitation [Drinking, tobacco; imitation]. 

Transcribed from Browne, Isaac Hawkins. "Imitation VI." A pipe of tobacco: in imitation of six several authors, 1736, pp. 21–23. Eighteenth Century Collections Online, GALE|CW0110024349.

Bright was the Morning, cool was the Air Thomas D'Urfey

Ballad [Courtship, marriage; Love; Nature; Solitude, loneliness, retirement; Topography; Travel; Women].

Transcribed from Playford, Henry, and Thomas D'Urfey. "A Song." Songs compleat, pleasant and divertive; set to musick by Dr. John Blow, Mr. Henry Purcell, and other excellent masters...,1719, p. 261. Eighteenth Century Collections Online, GALE|CW0106313317. 



Brimful of anger, not of love

Satire [Satire-social; Courtship, marriage]. 

Transcribed from "Sent by the Late Dr. B--y, to a Young Lady, on Valentine's-Day, in a Pair of Kid Gloves." The Edinburgh magazine, vol. 3, 1759, p. 80. ProQuest, [ProQuest document ID:] 5645898.

By your Honour's Command, an Example I stand

Extempore [Humour]. 

Transcribed from "Addressing himself to the Captain." Weekly Journal or British Gazetteer, issue 162, 29 June 1728, p. 2. Burney Newspapers Collection, GALE|Z2001592139. 

Captive brother, break thy chain George Lyttelton

Narrative; Answer [Animals, pets]. 

Transcribed from Lyttleton, George. "The Squirrels of Hagley to Miss W.'s Squirrel." London Magazine, or, Gentleman's Monthly Intelligencer, August 1763, p. 442. 

Careful Observers may foretel the Hour Jonathan Swift

Mock-Pastoral [Satire - political; Public affairs]. 

Transcribed from "Description of a City Shower," The Tatler, issue 238, 1710, pp. 1–2. Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Burney Newspapers Collection, GALE|Z2001478686.