Good poetry is meant to stir a feeling in the reader. It can be any feeling: delight, sorrow, rage, desire, shame, envy, sympathy but never indifference. One of the common features of all the soulful lines listed below is their universality which makes them appeal to everyone and inspire differing emotions, depending on the interpretation of the reader. These are undoubtedly the most beautiful verses of poetry ever penned:
''Drink to me only with thine eyes,/ And I will pledge with mine;/ Or leave a kiss but in the cup,/ And I'll not look for wine.''
-Song to Celia II, Ben Jonson
"I wandered lonely as a cloud / That floats on high o'er vales and hills, / When all at once I saw a crowd, /A host of golden daffodils"
-I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, William Wordsworth
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - / I took the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference."
-The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
''I will show you fear in a handful of dust.''
- "The Waste Land" by T.S. Eliot
''Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me.''
-Because I Could Not Stop for Death, Emily Dickinson
''She walks in beauty, like the night Of cloudless climes and starry skies.''
-She Walks in Beauty, Lord Byron
"here is the deepest secret nobody knows / (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud / and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows /higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide) / and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart / i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)"
-i carry your heart with me, EE Cummings
"O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done; / The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;"
-O Captain! My Captain!, Walt Whitman
"I stand amid the roar / Of a surf-tormented shore, / And I hold within my hand / Grains of the golden sand-- / How few! yet how they creep / Through my fingers to the deep, / While I weep - while I weep!"
-A Dream Within A Dream, Edgar Allan Poe
''When to the sessions of sweet silent thought /I summon up remembrance of things past, / I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,/ And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste.''
-"Sonnet 30″ by William Shakespeare
''Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold''
-"The Second Coming" by William Butler Yeats
''I knew a woman, lovely in her bones, / When small birds sighed, she would sigh back at them; /Ah, when she moved, she moved more ways than one:/ The shapes a bright container can contain!''
-"I Knew a Woman" by Theodore Roethke
''It is not a carol of joy or glee,/ But a prayer that he sends from his heart's deep core,/ But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings/ I know why the caged bird sings!''
-I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
''How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. / I love thee to the depth and breadth and height / My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight / For the ends of being and ideal grace."
-How Do I Love Thee?, Elizabeth Barrett Browning
"I can promise all my heart's devotion; / A smile to chase away your tears of sorrow; / A love that's true and ever growing; / A hand to hold in your's through each tomorrow."
-These I Can Promise, Mark Twain
"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? / Thou art more lovely and more temperate"
-Sonnet 18, William Shakespeare
"Of Man's first disobedience, and the fruit / Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste / Brought death into the World, and all our woe, / With loss of Eden, till one greater Man / Restore us, and regain the blissful seat, / Sing, Heavenly Muse"
-Paradise Lost, John Milton
"The woods are lovely, dark and deep, / But I have promises to keep, / And miles to go before I sleep, / And miles to go before I sleep."
-Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
-"But / if each day, / each hour, / you feel that you are destined for me / with implacable sweetness, / if each day a flower / climbs up to your lips to seek me, / ah my love, ah my own, / in me all that fire is repeated"
-If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
"Heart, we will forget him, You and I, tonight! / You must forget the warmth he gave, I will forget the light. / When you have done pray tell me, Then I, my thoughts, will dim. Haste! ‘lest while you’re lagging / I may remember him!"
-Heart, We Will Forget Him! Emily Dickinson
"Scarcely a tear to shed; / Hardly a word to say; / The end of a summer day;/ Sweet Love dead."
-An Evening, Gwendolyn Brooks
"Our whisper woke no clocks, / We kissed and I was glad / At everything you did, / Indifferent to those / Who sat with hostile eyes / In pairs on every bed, / Arms round each other's neck, / Inert and vaguely sad."
-"Dear, Though the Night Is Gone", WH Auden
"Darkness settles on roofs and walls, / But the sea, the sea in the darkness calls; / The little waves, with their soft, white hands / Efface the footprints in the sands, / And the tide rises, the tide falls."
-The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
''But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only, / That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour. / Nothing further then he uttered - not a feather then he fluttered - / Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before - / On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.' / Then the bird said, `Nevermore.'"
-The Raven, Edgar Allan Poe
''When we two parted / In silence and tears, / Half broken-hearted / To sever for years, / Pale grew thy cheek and cold, / Colder thy kiss; / Truly that hour foretold / Sorrow to this."
-When We Two Parted, George (Lord) Byron
''I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,/ And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.''
-Sea Fever, John Masefield
"At twenty I tried to die / And get back, back, back to you. / I thought even the bones would do. / But they pulled me out of the sack, / And they stuck me together with glue."
-Daddy, Sylvia Plath
''From childhood's hour/ I have not been/ As others were; I have not seen/ As others saw...''
-Alone, Edgar Allan Poe
Share some of your favorite lines or tell me the ones you like best from the list :)