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Summer Poetry

And an oily smoke that rolls through the trees/
into the night of the last American summer . . . —Major Jackson

compiled by David Johnson
sweet pea flowers

Read more verse honoring the seasons.

See a glossary of poetry terms.

Read biographies of notable poets.

The summer's flower is to the summer sweet,
Though to itself it only live and die.

William Shakespeare (1564–1616) Sonnet 94 (before 1598)



And pomp, and feast, and revelry, With mask, and antique pageantry, Such sights as youthful poets dream On summer eves by haunted stream.

John Milton (1608–1674) L'Allegro (1631)



Summer ends now; now, barbarous in beauty, the Stooks arise Around; up above, what wind-walks! what lovely behavior Of silk-sack clouds! Has wilder, willful-waiver Meal-drift molded ever and melted across skies?

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–1889) No. 38, "Hurrahing in Harvest," Poems (1918)



Go down to Kew in lilac time (it isn't far from London!)
And you shall wander hand in hand with Love in summer's wonderland.

Alfred Noyes (1880–1958) "The Barrel-Organ," Poems (1904)



Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.

—William Shakespeare (1564–1616) Sonnet 18 (before 1598)



Now welcome, somer, with thy sonne softe,
That hast this winters wedres overshake.

Geoffery Chaucer (1343-1400) The Parliament of Fowls (1380–1386)



Night of the south winds - night of the large few
stars!
Still nodding night - mad naked summer night.

Walt Whitman (1819–1881) "Song of Myself" (Part 21) Leaves of Grass (1855)



'Tis the last rose of summer,
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone.

Thomas Moore (1779–1852) "The Last Rose of Summer," Irish Melodies (1807-1834)



Eternal summer gilds them yet,
But all, except their sun, is set.

George Noel Gordon, Lord Byron (1788–1824) Don Juan (1819–1824)



All good things vanish less than in a day,
Peace, plenty, pleasure, suddenly decay.
Go not yet away, bright soul of the sad year,
The earth is hell when thou leav'st to appear.

Thomas Nash (1567–1601) "Summer's Last Will and Testament" (1600)



Bright was the summer's noon when quickening steps
Followed each other till a dreary moor
Was crossed, a bare ridge clomb, upon whose top
Standing alone, as from a rampart's edge,
I overlooked the bed of Windermere,
Like a vast river, stretching in the sun.

William Wordsworth (1770–1850) "Summer Vacation," The Prelude (1805)




Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

Did you know?
The worst epidemic in U.S. history was the outbreak of Spanish influenza in 1918.

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