Famous Poems


Do you recognize this famous poet?  Or his most famous poem?

Do you recognize these famous lines? Most likely you do, even if you do not know where you first heard them. They are lines that live in infamy, lines that have been repeated infinite times, parodied and bandied about for generations. But do you know from whence these vaunted lines sprung?

These are the first lines of three of the most famous poems in the English language. While you may not have the poems memorized, you no doubt are familiar with at least one or two of their lines. Do you know who authored these lines, or the histories of these famous poems?


“How Do I Love Thee” is undoubtedly one of the best known poems ever penned. This famous poem was written by English poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861), and was included in the poet’s Sonnets From the Portuguese, her most famous collection of poetry. Although the poems are not Portuguese translations, they are Browning’s love songs to her soon-to-be husband, Robert Browning, also a poet.


“Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day,” also known as Sonnet #18, is the work of none other than William Shakespeare. While better known as the playwright of such enduring works as Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet, Shakespeare was also an accomplished poet who wrote many verse poems and sonnets. Sonnet #18 was one of a collection of Shakespeare’s sonnets, and celebrates the timelessness of romantic love.


Those who have survived high school English courses will no doubt recognize these lines as those of the immortal “Raven,” by American author Edgar Allan Poe. While much longer than either “How Do I Love Thee” or Sonnet #18 – 18 stanzas of 6 lines each, to be exact – “The Raven” is famous not only as a poem, but as a horror story in verse. Poe, who was known for his dark and often supernatural writings, instills an aura of doom and fear in “The Raven” that have made it a creepy classic.

While these three are among the most famous poems in the English language, they are all examples of larger bodies of work by their authors that also deserve reading. Don’t just stick to the classics – branch out!


  • Yazmin

    Thanx!My english hw was much easier thanx to u!

  • mat

    very nice

  • erinfarina

    I've taught Sonnet 18 to my students. It was difficult for them to get the meaning, though I enjoy reading the poem so much. It's romantic!

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