English poets to know and love.


1822 - 1888

Matthew Arnold, the great 19th century English poet, author of "Dover Beach" and "The Scholar Gypsy".

Dover Beach

The sea is calm tonight

A bleak but beautiful reflection on 19th-century life by Matthew Arnold.


1559 - 1634

George Chapman was an English dramatist and translator. His translations of Homer were praised in a famous sonnet by Keats "On first looking into Chapman's Homer"

Opening lines from Homer’s Odyssey

The man, O Muse, inform, that many a way

The first lines of the Odyssey, translated by George Chapman in a version admired by Keats



Arthur Hugh Clough was an attractive poet who expressed healthy scepticism about the public ethics of the Victorian period and wrote movingly about friendship and the pain of estrangement.

Say not the trouble nought availeth

Say not the trouble nought availeth

Optimism and self-help from this principled poet of the Victorian era



Largely forgotten today, Cowley was a very famous English poet in his day and  is buried in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey.

A Vote

This only grant me

Abraham Cowley's country idyll


18th Century

Eighteenth century poet and scholar

Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College

Eton College in the gateway to Orcus

Vestibulum ante ipsum primisque in faucibus Orci

Virgil's traces are visible in this eighteenth-century poet

Thomas Hardy



An unflinching chronicler of an unforgiving century in his novels, Hardy's compassion and humanity perhaps show through more clearly in his poems.

Proud songsters

The thrushes sing as the light is going

Hardy shares his sadness and his flair for nature

Channel Firing

That night your great guns, unawares

The madness and inevitability of war


1849 - 1902

W E Henley, poet, critic and friend of R L Stevenson and J M Barrie

“A late lark” and “Madam Life”

Madam Life's a Piece in Bloom

Contrasting takes on death by the Victorian W E Henley


1608 - 1674

England's great 17th-century epic poet.

Paradise Lost Book 1, lines 1 - 26

Paradise Lost begins

Of Man's first disobedience, and the fruit

The opening lines of Milton's great epic


1688 - 1744

Alexander Pope, the great Georgian poet and wit, was also a translator of Homer.

Opening lines from Homer’s Iliad

The wrath of Peleus' son, the direful spring

A Georgian wit attempts to render the epic of ancient Greece