Top 10 Greatest Classic English Short Poems of All Time

When William Wordsworth wrote “We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!” he wouldn’t have thought that it would feature in the Best Poems ever written. Similarly, the greatest poets in the English language would not have written if they knew the whole world was ready to critique and assess it. But today, among the works of Shakespeare and Shelley and Frost and Browning, a generation of poetry admirers stand united.

Poetry has always been a fancy of the humankind which evoked certain emotions in them which other forms of art could never unleash. In an era which stands far from the wavelengths of poetry, there are still folk in the world who love the real rhythm of English poetry. And since the World Poetry Day is coming close (March 21), we thought we would give out a tribute to all those mentioned in this article.

So, this list on the will feature the most famous and the best English Poets of all time. These are all Famous English Poets’ Names with Pictures who are forever engraved in the golden slate of literature. In this article, we list out the best excerpt by the poet along with our thoughts on what the author meant. So, come along on this journey of mystical words, and you will be startled, stumped and stupefied by the abundance of literary might and beauty showcased through rhyme and rhythm.

10. We Wear the Mask

Paul Lawrence Dunbar 

best english poems of all time

We start with this poem because, in the current state of the abundantly created façade of pretence in every turn of our life, no other poem could be apter.

This poem written by Paul Lawrence Dunbar talks about a mask (a social performance that African-American used to put up to avoid bitter experiences which happened in the country).

This racial discrimination is shown in this short but touching poem.

9. Daddy

Sylvia Plath

sad english poetry Sylvia Plath’s greatest wish was to make poems relevant to the public reading it. We think she did a spectacular job in doing so!

One of the best poems by the poet, it speaks of a troubled girl who lost her father right when she thought he was the one who her entire life spun around.

This poem drips of anguish as well as hatred when she speaks of her dad, drawing out the chance of a possible Electra complex.

Whatever interpretation you bring out of the poem, Sylvia Plath’s work continues to bring in an overwhelming surge of emotions.

8. Solitary Reaper

William Wordsworth

famous poems on nature in englishA poem which mesmerizes with words, stanzas which charm you with rhythm.

As William Wordsworth fell in love with the lone Highland Lass, we fell in love with the words which described her.

We fell in love with each and every word, each and every tone which Wordsworth wrote in the Solitary Reaper.

A poem which describes the beauty of the solitary girl reaping in the fields, singing to herself is just splendid. The poet sees her as he passes by and is blown away by her melancholic sweet notes.

7. Ode on a Grecian Urn

 John Keats

best poets of all time englishIn this world-class poem which will forever be on the platter of best poems of the world, John Keats speaks ever so graciously to the Urn in front of him.

The Urn, according to the poet, will not speak unless spoken to.

This poem, stanza after stanza, addresses the surroundings of the Urn and he also addresses the illustration clad pots so-called husband “Quietness”.

6. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Robert Frost

best english poems on lifeHow can anyone forget “Woods are lovely, dark and deep… and miles to go before I sleep”?

How simple the poetry seems but if you look deep into the realms of the meanings which the poem offers, you will be sinking in deeper and deeper.

The ambiguous ending of the poem opened doors unknown to man before in terms of imagination.

Whereas on the other hand, Robert Frost, on a simpler note, stands true to the name of the poem and does not complicate.

But those who delve into the dark side of the metaphors given in the poem, realize that it is full of hidden meanings and pains.

5. O Captain! My Captain!

 Walt Whitman

best english language poets of all timeImmortalized by various movies and TV series, this poem forever is engraved in all our memories. The poem is an elegy which originally was written to honor Abraham Lincoln after his death.

The poem is spun around the American Civil War, and it mirrors the American ideals and values.

Whitman writes in a tone shrouding with sadness on the sad demise of the so-called “Captain”.

His tone is fragile yet proud due to the safe return of the ship in which they set sail. A beautiful rendition of war poems, O Captain! My Captain will fuel your desire to read more.

4. Tiger

William Blake

poems for recitation

“In what distant deeps or skies, Burnt the fire of thine eyes”.

The poem addresses the mighty tiger in the woods, running around hunting down animals and is a forever favourite of literature addicts.

“On what wings dare he aspire, what the hand may seize the fire”? These lines genuinely captivate everyone who reads this.

The level of the poem is elementary to comprehend so people of all age groups, especially those who are just starting, will find it extremely aesthetic in its literary fashion.

3. Sonnet 18

William Shakespeare

ranking best poets of all time

How could a list of best poems feature without the works of William Shakespeare?

In this Sonnet, the legendary poet compares his love to a summer day.

He describes how the loved one is beautiful and how they will not be forgotten through the mist of time.

Time kills every memory of a loved one, and Shakespeare is long gone, but people still talk of his works.

That’s the impact poets have on the world!

2. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Goodnight

Dylan Thomas

best poets of english literature

Dylan Thomas, in this wondrous poem, is sending a plea for his old age stricken father who is on his deathbed.

The son is asking his father to fight and fight until the light in him burns for some more time.

The end, which finds all men has come for his father too, but in the poem, he shows that he is not ready to let go of his loving parent.

1. Invictus

William Ernest Henley

best quotes of english poets

The incomparable verse- undeniably one of the best poems ever written, Invictus takes the cake for the best poetry on our list.

When readers read this poem, it’s a certainty that a chill will crawl through your spine, and you will be forever changed.

Whatever your beliefs about God, the Universe or yourself is, you should read the poem a few times so that it gets engraved in your mind.

Fearlessness- is what you will be after reading this poem.

Are you a poetry enthusiast too? If yes, do you agree with the list we made? These were the Best Poems and Poets of all time in the English language. Let us know in the comments below which one you like the best and which poet you admire the most.

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