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100 Favourite Love Poems of Britain__BBC

100 Favourite Love Poems of Britain        BBC 

“In 1995, The Bookworm (a BBC weekly television programme on literature hosted by Griff Rhys Jones, 1994 to 2000) asked BBC viewers and listeners to vote for their favourite poems (See 100 Favourite Poems of Britain) ... This year we want to find out which love poems have really touched the nation’s heart…  This book is an attempt to collect together everyone’s favourite love poems, old, new, happy, sad, erotic or wistful. If you’ve ever had the experience of being in love and suddenly finding lines from poems filling your head unbidden and you need to track them down, then I hope you’ll find them in this book.” (from The Nation’s Favourite Love Poems – a Selection of Romantic Verse,  ‘Introduction’ by Daisy Goodwin)

Note: Unlike The Nation’s Favourite Poems, the poems are not arranged by popularity as indicated by the number of votes. Instead, “the 10 most popular poems from the 1997 poll to find the nation’s favourite love poem” are first listed. The table of contents then groups poems by theme.

The 10 most popular love poems as polled by BBC in 1997 are:

1  Sonnet from the Portuguese XLIII  How do I love thee? Let me count the ways, Elizabeth Barrett Browning

He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven, W.B. Yeats

Twelve Songs IX  Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, W.H. Auden

A Red, Red Rose, Robert Burns

Sonnet 116  Let me not to the marriage of true minds, William Shakespeare

To His Coy Mistress, Andrew Marvell

Sonnet 18  Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?  William Shakespeare

Remember, Christina G. Rossetti

Renouncement*, Alice Meynell  1847--1922

10  When You are Old, W.B. Yeats

(*Editor’s note in the book: “The poems in this book were selected before the poll results were announced. This poem was not in the original selection, however it will feature in future editions.”)

Love’s Beginnings

Sonnet from the Portuguese XLIII  How do I love thee? Let me count the ways, Elizabeth Barrett Browning 1806—61

First Love, John Clare  1793--1864

He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven, W.B. Yeats  1865--1939

Oh Tell Me the Truth about Love, W.H. Auden  1907--73

Delight in Disorder, Robert Herrick  1591—1674

Sonnet LXXV  One day I wrote her name upon the strand, Edmund Spenser  1552—99

from Maud, Come into the Garden Maud, Alfred, Lord Tennyson  1809—92

After the Lunch, Wendy Cope  1945 –

from The Princess, Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal, Alfred, Lord Tennyson  1809—92

To Celia, Benjamin Jonson  1572—1637

The Baite, John Donne  1572—1631

Love’s Philosophy, Percy Bysshe Shelley  1792—1822

Valentine, Wendy Cope  1945—

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love, Christopher Marlowe  1564—93

A Subaltern’s Love-Song, Sir John Betjeman  1906—84

from The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, Edward Fitzgerald  1809—83

The Flea, John Donne  1572—1631

 To the Virgins, To Make Much of Time, Robert Herrick  1591—1674

To His Coy Mistress, Andrew Marvell  1621—78

The Canonization, John Donne  1572—1631

Song, Edmund Waller  1606—87

Giving Up Smoking, Wendy Cope  1945—

Celebration and Adoration

Sonnet 18  Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?, William Shakespeare 1564—1616

Dea Ex Machina, John Updike  1932—

She Walks in Beauty, George Gordon, Lord Byron  1788-1824

Flowers, Wendy Cope  1945—

Sonnet 29  When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes, William Shakespeare 1564—1616

Field Work, Seamus Heaney  1939—

Warming Her Pearls, Carol Ann Duffy  1955—

Sonnet 106  When in the chronicle of wasted time, William Shakespeare 1564—1616

You’re, Sylvia Plath  1932—63

from Doctor Faustus, The Face that Launched a Thousand Ships, Christopher Marlowe  1564—93

Valentine, John Fuller  1937—

The Confirmation, Edwin Muir  1887—1959

Celia, Celia, Adrian Mitchell  1932—

Love in Absence

Bobby Shafto’s Gone to Sea, Anon

Remember, Christina G. Rossetti  1830—94

Words, Wide Night, Carol Ann Duffy  1955—

A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning, John Donne  1572—1631

A Red, Red Rose, Robert Burns  1759—1796

To Lucasta, Going to the Warres, Richard Lovelace  1618—58

Western Wind, Anon

Love Fulfilled

The Good-Morrow, John Donne  1572—1631

A Birthday, Christina G. Rossetti  1830—94

from The Prophet, On Marriage, Kahlil Gibran  1883—1931

Love (III), George Herbert  1593—1633

The Undertaking, John Donne  1572—1631

Lullaby, W.H. Auden  1907—73

Sonnet 116  Let me not to the marriage of true minds, William Shakespeare 1564—1616

Aire and Angels, John Donne  1572—1631

Bright Star, John Keats  1795—1821

The Sunne Rising, John Donne  1572—1631

The First Day, Christina G. Rossetti  1830—94

In a Bath Teashop, Sir John Betjeman  1906—84

Wedding-Wind, Philip Larkin  1922—85

John Anderson My Jo, Robert Burns  1759—96

Elegie: To His Mistress Going to Bed, John Donne  1572—1631

from Summer with Monika, Roger McGough  1937—

Sonnet form the Portuguese XLIII  How do I love thee? Let me count the ways, Elizabeth Barrett Browning  1806—61

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat, Edward Lear  1812—88

In Warning of Love

When I was One-and-Twenty, A.E. Housman  1859—1936

La Belle Dame Sans Merci, John Keats  1795—1821

In Honour of Love, Jenny Joseph  1932—

The Clod and the Pebble, William Blake  1757—1827

Unfortunate Coincidence, Dorothy Parker  1893—1967

Love Song, Ted Hughes  1930—

For Anne Gregory, W.B. Yeats  1865--1939

He Fumbles at Your Spirit, Emily Dickinson  1830—86

Symptoms of Love, Robert Graves  1895—1985

from Twelfth Night, Song, William Shakespeare 1564—1616

Love Without Hope, Robert Graves  1895—1985

Love Lost and Love Remembered

Twelve Songs IX  Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, W.H. Auden  1907—73

Lady Greensleeves, Anon

When We Two Parted, George Gordon, Lord Byron  1788-1824

They Fle from Me That Sometyme Did Me Seke, Sir Thomas Wyatt  1503—42

Never Seek to Tell thy Love, William Blake  1757—1827

The Courtship of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo, Edward Lear 1812—88

Down by the Salley Gardens, W.B. Yeats  1865—1939

The Secret, John Clare  1793--1864

To Lizbie Browne, Thomas Hardy  1840—1928

 ‘Go Now’, Edward Thomas  1878-1917

Love’s Farewell, Andrew Drayton  1563—1631

After a Journey, Thomas Hardy  1840—1928

Coat, Vicki Feaver  1943—

One Art, Elizabeth Bishop  1911—79

Indoor Games Near Newbury, Sir John Betjeman  1906—84

Non Sum Qualis Eram Bonae Sub Regno Cynarae, Ernest Dowson  1867—1900

from A Shropshire Lad, Oh, When I was in Love with You, A.E. Housman  1859—1936

The Hill, Rupert Brooke  1887—1915

Love in a Life, Robert Browning  1812—89

R. Alcona to J. Brenzaida, Emily Bronte  1818—48

Sonnet XLII  What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why, Edna St. Vincent Millay  1892—1950

The Voice, Thomas Hardy  1840—1928

Sonnet II  Time does not bring relief; you all have lied, Edna St. Vincent Millay  1892—1950

Love Song in Age, Philip Larkin  1922—85

The Lost Love, William Wordsworth  1770—1850

So, We’ll Go No More A-roving, George Gordon, Lord Byron  1788-1824

Tarantella, Hilaire Belloc  1870—1953

Jenny Kissed Me, Leigh Hunt  1784—1859

When You are Old, W.B. Yeats  1865--1939   

(taken from The Nation’s Favourite Love Poems, a Selection of Romantic Verse, edited by Daisy Goodwin. London: BBC Books, 1997) 

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