Here are my favorite poems about fate categorized:
- Poems about fate and destiny
- Poems about fate and love
- Poems about fate and death
- Poems about fate for her
So if you want the best poems about fate, then you’re in the right place.
Let’s jump right in!
- 63 Best Poems About the Unknown
- 93 Best Poems About Mystery
- 27 Best Poems About Illusion
- 27 Best Poems About the Future
Spellbinding Poems About Fate
Indulge in a selection of the most exquisite poems about fate, thoughtfully categorized for your browsing pleasure.
Whether you seek works that explore the intertwining of fate and love or contemplate the inevitability of fate and death, our collection offers a range of compelling examples.
With our carefully curated selection, you can find the best poems about fate all in one convenient location.
So take a moment to explore and discover the beauty and mystery of the forces that shape our lives!
Let’s get started!
My #1 Favorite Poem About Fate
“Fate” by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Deep in the man sits fast his fate
To mould his fortunes, mean or great:
Unknown to Cromwell as to me
Was Cromwell’s measure or degree;
Unknown to him as to his horse,
If he than his groom be better or worse.
He works, plots, fights, in rude affairs,
With squires, lords, kings, his craft compares,
Till late he learned, through doubt and fear,
Broad England harbored not his peer:
Obeying time, the last to own
The Genius from its cloudy throne.
For the prevision is allied
Unto the thing so signified;
Or say, the foresight that awaits
Is the same Genius that creates.
Poems About Fate and Destiny
“Fate and I” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Wise men tell me thou, O Fate,
Art invincible and great.
Well, I own thy prowess; still
Dare I flout thee with my will
Thou canst shatter in a span
All the earthly pride of man.
Outward things thou canst control;
But stand back – I rule my soul!
Death? ‘Tis such a little thing –
Scarcely worth the mentioning.
What has death to do with me,
Save to set my spirit free?
Something in me dwells, O Fate,
That can rise and dominate
Loss, and sorrow, and disaster, –
How, then, Fate, art thou my master?
In the great primeval morn
My immortal will was born,
Part of that stupendous Cause
Which conceived the Solar Laws,
Lit the suns and filled the seas,
Royalest of pedigrees.
That great Cause was Love, the Source
Who most loves has most of Force.
He who harbours Hate one hour
Saps the soul of Peace and Power.
He who will not hate his foe
Need not dread life’s hardest blow.
In the realm of brotherhood
Wishing no man aught but good,
Naught but good can come to me –
This is Love’s supreme decree.
Since I bar my door to Hate,
What have I to fear, O Fate?
Since I fear not – Fate I vow,
I the ruler am, not thou!
“Destiny” by Ralph Waldo Emerson
That you are fair or wise is vain,
Or strong, or rich, or generous;
You must add the untaught strain
That sheds beauty on the rose.
There’s a melody born of melody,
Which melts the world into a sea.
Toil could never compass it;
Art its height could never hit;
It came never out of wit;
But a music music-born
Well may Jove and Juno scorn.
Thy beauty, if it lack the fire
Which drives me mad with sweet desire,
What boots it? What the soldier’s mail,
Unless he conquer and prevail?
What all the goods thy pride which lift,
If thou pine for another’s gift?
Alas! that one is born in blight,
Victim of perpetual slight:
When thou lookest on his face,
Thy heart saith, ‘Brother, go thy ways!
None shall ask thee what thou doest,
Or care a rush for what thou knowest,
Or listen when thou repliest,
Or remember where thou liest,
Or how thy supper is sodden;’
And another is born
To make the sun forgotten.
Surely he carries a talisman
Under his tongue;
Broad his shoulders are and strong;
And his eye is scornful,
Threatening and young.
I hold it of little matter
Whether your jewel be of pure water,
A rose diamond or a white,
But whether it dazzle me with light.
I care not how you are dressed,
In coarsest weeds or in the best;
Nor whether your name is base or brave:
Nor for the fashion of your behavior;
But whether you charm me,
Bid my bread feed and my fire warm me
And dress up Nature in your favor.
One thing is forever good;
That one thing is Success,–
Dear to the Eumenides,
And to all the heavenly brood.
Who bides at home, nor looks abroad,
Carries the eagles, and masters the sword.
“Fate Defied” by Adelaide Crapsey
Were tissue of silver
I’ll wear, O fate, thy grey,
And go mistily radiant, clad
Like the moon.
“Invictus” by William Ernest Henley
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
“Superiority to Fate” by Emily Dickinson
Superiority to fate
Is difficult to learn.
‘Tis not conferred by any,
But possible to earn
A pittance at a time,
Until, to her surprise,
The soul with strict economy
Subsists till Paradise.
“Fit the Seventh – The Banker’s Fate” by Lewis Carroll
They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care;
They pursued it with forks and hope;
They threatened its life with a railway-share;
They charmed it with smiles and soap.
And the Banker, inspired with a courage so new
It was matter for general remark,
Rushed madly ahead and was lost to their view
In his zeal to discover the Snark.
But while he was seeking with thimbles and care,
A Bandersnatch swiftly drew nigh
And grabbed at the Banker, who shrieked in despair,
For he knew it was useless to fly.
He offered large discount, he offered a cheque
(Drawn “to bearer”) for seven-pounds-ten:
But the Bandersnatch merely extended its neck
And grabbed at the Banker again.
Without rest or pause, while those frumious jaws
Went savagely snapping around,
He skipped and he hopped, and he floundered and flopped,
Till fainting he fell to the ground.
The Bandersnatch fled as the others appeared
Led on by that fear-stricken yell:
And the Bellman remarked “It is just as I feared!”
And solemnly tolled on his bell.
He was black in the face, and they scarcely could trace
The least likeness to what he had been:
While so great was the fright that his waistcoat turned white,
A wonderful thing to be seen!
To the horror of all who were present that day,
He uprose in full evening dress,
And with senseless grimaces endeavoured to say
What his tongue could no longer express.
Down he sank in a chair, ran his hands through his hair,
And chanted in mimsiest tones
Words whose utter inanity proved his insanity,
While he rattled a couple of bones.
“Leave him here to his fate, it is getting so late!”
The Bellman exclaimed in a fright.
“We have lost half a day. Any further delay,
And we sha’n’t catch a Snark before night!”
“To a Mountain Daisy” by Robert Burns
Wee, modest, crimson-tippèd flower,
Thou ’s met me in an evil hour,
For I maun crush amang the stoure
Thy slender stem;
To spare thee now is past my power,
Thou bonny gem.
Alas! it ’s no thy neebor sweet,
The bonnie lark, companion meet,
Bending thee ’mang the dewy weet,
Wi’ spreckled breast,
When upward springing, blithe to greet
The purpling east.
Cauld blew the bitter-biting north
Upon thy early, humble birth;
Yet cheerfully thou glinted forth
Amid the storm,
Scarce reared above the parent earth
Thy tender form.
The flaunting flowers our gardens yield
High sheltering woods and wa’s maun shield:
But thou beneath the random bield
O’ clod or stane,
Adorns the histie stibble-fleld,
There, in thy scanty mantle clad,
Thy snawie bosom sunward spread,
Thou lifts thy unassuming head
In humble guise;
But now the share uptears thy bed,
And low thou lies!
Such is the fate of artless maid,
Sweet floweret of the rural shade!
By love’s simplicity betrayed,
And guileless trust,
Till she, like thee, all soiled, is laid
Low i’ the dust.
Such is the fate of simple bard,
On life’s rough ocean luckless starred!
Unskilful he to note the card
Of prudent lore,
Till billows rage, and gales blow hard,
And whelm him o’er!
Such fate to suffering worth is given,
Who long with wants and woes has striven,
By human pride or cunning driven
To misery’s brink,
Till, wrenched of every stay but Heaven,
He, ruined, sink!
Even thou who mourn’st the daisy’s fate,
That fate is thine,—no distant date:
Stern Ruin’s ploughshare drives, elate,
Full on thy bloom,
Till crushed beneath the furrow’s weight
Shall be thy doom!
“Fame” by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ah Fate, cannot a man
Be wise without a beard?
East, West, from Beer to Dan,
Say, was it never heard
That wisdom might in youth be gotten,
Or wit be ripe before ‘t was rotten?
He pays too high a price
For knowledge and for fame
Who sells his sinews to be wise,
His teeth and bones to buy a name,
And crawls through life a paralytic
To earn the praise of bard and critic.
Were it not better done,
To dine and sleep through forty years;
Be loved by few; be feared by none;
Laugh life away; have wine for tears;
And take the mortal leap undaunted,
Content that all we asked was granted?
But Fate will not permit
The seed of gods to die,
Nor suffer sense to win from wit
Its guerdon in the sky,
Nor let us hide, whate’er our pleasure,
The world’s light underneath a measure.
Go then, sad youth, and shine;
Go, sacrifice to Fame;
Put youth, joy, health upon the shrine,
And life to fan the flame;
Being for Seeming bravely barter
And die to Fame a happy martyr.
“Though All the Fates” by Henry David Thoreau
Though all the Fates should prove unkind,
Leave not your native land behind.
The ship, becalmed, at length stands still;
The steed must rest beneath the hill;
But swiftly still our fortunes pace
To find us out in every place.
The vessel, though her masts be firm,
Beneath her copper bears a worm;
Around the Cape, across the Line,
Till fields of ice her course confine;
It matters not how smooth the breeze,
How shallow or how deep the seas,
Whether she bears Manilla twine,
Or in her hold Madeira wine,
Or China teas, or Spanish hides,
In port or quarantine she rides;
Far from New England’s blustering shore,
New England’s worm her hulk shall bore,
And sink her in the Indian seas,—
Twine, wine, and hides, and China teas.
“The Seven Selves” by Kahlil Gibran
In the stillest hour of the night, as I lay half asleep, my seven selves sat together and thus conversed in whisper:
First Self: Here, in this madman, I have dwelt all these years, with naught to do but renew his pain by day and recreate his sorrow by night. I can bear my fate no longer, and now I rebel.
Second Self: Yours is a better lot than mine, brother, for it is given to me to be this madman’s joyous self. I laugh his laughter and sing his happy hours, and with thrice winged feet I dance his brighter thoughts. It is I that would rebel against my weary existence.
Third Self: And what of me, the love-ridden self, the flaming brand of wild passion and fantastic desires? It is I the love-sick self who would rebel against this madman.
Fourth Self: I, amongst you all, am the most miserable, for naught was given me but odious hatred and destructive loathing. It is I, the tempest-like self, the one born in the black caves of Hell, who would protest against serving this madman.
Fifth Self: Nay, it is I, the thinking self, the fanciful self, the self of hunger and thirst, the one doomed to wander without rest in search of unknown things and things not yet created; it is I, not you, who would rebel.
Sixth Self: And I, the working self, the pitiful labourer, who, with patient hands, and longing eyes, fashion the days into images and give the formless elements new and eternal forms—it is I, the solitary one, who would rebel against this restless madman.
Seventh Self: How strange that you all would rebel against this man, because each and every one of you has a preordained fate to fulfill. Ah! could I but be like one of you, a self with a determined lot! But I have none, I am the do-nothing self, the one who sits in the dumb, empty nowhere and nowhen, while you are busy re-creating life. Is it you or I, neighbours, who should rebel?
When the seventh self thus spake the other six selves looked with pity upon him but said nothing more; and as the night grew deeper one after the other went to sleep enfolded with a new and happy submission.
But the seventh self remained watching and gazing at nothingness, which is behind all things.
“How Great My Grief” by Thomas Hardy
How great my grief, my joys how few,
Since first it was my fate to know thee!
—Have the slow years not brought to view
How great my grief, my joys how few,
Nor memory shaped old times anew,
Nor loving-kindness helped to show thee
How great my grief, my joys how few,
Since first it was my fate to know thee?
“Laughers” by Langston Hughes
Loud laughers in the hands of Fate—
Nurses of babies,
Loaders of ships,
Comedians in vaudeville
And band-men in circuses—
God! What dancers!
God! What singers!
Singers and dancers
Dancers and laughers.
Yes, laughers . . . laughers . . . laughers—
Loud-mouthed laughers in the hands
“Fate” by Bret Harte (Francis)
The sky is clouded, the rocks are bare,
The spray of the tempest is white in air;
The winds are out with the waves at play,
And I shall not tempt the sea to-day.
The trail is narrow, the wood is dim,
The panther clings to the arching limb;
And the lion’s whelps are abroad at play,
And I shall not join in the chase to-day.
But the ship sailed safely over the sea,
And the hunters came from the chase in glee;
And the town that was builded upon a rock
Was swallowed up in the earthquake shock.
“The Winds Of Fate” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
One ship drives east and another drives west,
With the self-same winds that blow,
‘Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales
That tell them the way to go.
Like the winds of the sea are the winds of fate,
As we voyage along through life,
‘Tis the set of the soul
That decides its goal
And not the calm or the strife.
“The Common Fate.” by Friedrich Schiller
See how we hate, how we quarrel, how thought and how feeling divide us!
But thy locks, friend, like mine, meanwhile are bleachening fast.
“Fate” by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Her planted eye to-day controls,
Is in the morrow most at home,
And sternly calls to being souls
That curse her when they come.
“Double Ballade Of Life And Fate” by William Ernest Henley
Fools may pine, and sots may swill,
Cynics gibe, and prophets rail,
Moralists may scourge and drill,
Preachers prose, and fainthearts quail.
Let them whine, or threat, or wail!
Till the touch of Circumstance
Down to darkness sink the scale,
Fate’s a fiddler, Life’s a dance.
What if skies be wan and chill?
What if winds be harsh and stale?
Presently the east will thrill,
And the sad and shrunken sail,
Bellying with a kindly gale,
Bear you sunwards, while your chance
Sends you back the hopeful hail:-
‘Fate’s a fiddler, Life’s a dance.’
Idle shot or coming bill,
Hapless love or broken bail,
Gulp it (never chew your pill!),
And, if Burgundy should fail,
Try the humbler pot of ale!
Over all is heaven’s expanse.
Gold’s to find among the shale.
Fate’s a fiddler, Life’s a dance.
Dull Sir Joskin sleeps his fill,
Good Sir Galahad seeks the Grail,
Proud Sir Pertinax flaunts his frill,
Hard Sir AEger dints his mail;
And the while by hill and dale
Tristram’s braveries gleam and glance,
And his blithe horn tells its tale:-
‘Fate’s a fiddler, Life’s a dance.’
Araminta’s grand and shrill,
Delia’s passionate and frail,
Doris drives an earnest quill,
Athanasia takes the veil:
Wiser Phyllis o’er her pail,
At the heart of all romance
Reading, sings to Strephon’s flail:-
‘Fate’s a fiddler, Life’s a dance.’
Every Jack must have his Jill
(Even Johnson had his Thrale!):
Forward, couples – with a will!
This, the world, is not a jail.
Hear the music, sprat and whale!
Hands across, retire, advance!
Though the doomsman’s on your trail,
Fate’s a fiddler, Life’s a dance.
Boys and girls, at slug and snail
And their kindred look askance.
Pay your footing on the nail:
Fate’s a fiddler, Life’s a dance.
“Rocking Horse” by Paul Cameron Brown
Fate is a mahout astride a large elephant, impersonal
as dark sun with winds raging across a desert. Fate is
the old bones of dead Indians being resurrected as
ground mist on the edge of a salt marsh.
And not knowing what to call personal destiny we
resort to the clunker “fate” – “beggar and king”
enjoying, or so it is said, the dust together. I prefer wet
leaves breaking canisters of restraint and calling to
the earth as little paws digging into the humus of the
“Horoscope” by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ere he was born, the stars of fate
Plotted to make him rich and great:
When from the womb the babe was loosed,
The gate of gifts behind him closed.
“Reward” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Fate used me meanly; but I looked at her and laughed,
That none might know how bitter was the cup I quaffed.
Along came Joy, and paused beside me where I sat,
Saying, ‘I came to see what you were laughing at.’
“A Man.” by Emily Elizabeth Dickinson
Fate slew him, but he did not drop;
She felled — he did not fall —
Impaled him on her fiercest stakes —
He neutralized them all.
She stung him, sapped his firm advance,
But, when her worst was done,
And he, unmoved, regarded her,
Acknowledged him a man.
“Winter-time” by Robert Louis Stevenson
Fate lies the wintry sun a-bed,
A frosty, fiery sleepy-head;
Blinks but an hour or two; and then,
A blood-red orange, sets again.
Before the stars have left the skies,
At morning in the dark I rise;
And shivering in my nakedness,
By the cold candle, bathe and dress.
Close by the jolly fire I sit
To warm my frozen bones a bit;
Or with a reindeer-sled, explore
The colder countries round the door.
When to go out, my nurse doth wrap
Me in my comforter and cap;
The cold wind burns my face, and blows
Its frosty pepper up my nose.
Black are my steps on silver sod;
Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;
And tree and house, and hill and lake,
Are frosted like a wedding-cake.
“Change Common To All.” by Robert Herrick
All things subjected are to fate;
Whom this morn sees most fortunate,
The evening sees in poor estate.
“Lyman King” by Edgar Lee Masters
You may think, passer-by, that Fate
Is a pit-fall outside of yourself,
Around which you may walk by the use of foresight
Thus you believe, viewing the lives of other men,
As one who in God-like fashion bends over an anthill,
Seeing how their difficulties could be avoided.
But pass on into life:
In time you shall see Fate approach you
In the shape of your own image in the mirror;
Or you shall sit alone by your own hearth,
And suddenly the chair by you shall hold a guest,
And you shall know that guest,
And read the authentic message of his eyes.
“A Curse on a Closed Gate” by James H. Cousins
Be this the fate
Of the man who would shut his gate
On the stranger, gentle or simple, early or late.
When his mouth with a day’s long hunger and thirst would wish
For the savour of salted fish,
Let him sit and eat his fill of an empty dish.
To the man of that ilk,
Let water stand in his churn, instead of milk
That turns a calf’s coat silk.
And under the gloomy night
May never a thatch made tight
Shut out the clouds from his sight.
Above the ground or below it,
Good cheer, may he never know it,
Nor a tale by the fire, nor a dance on the road, nor a song by a wandering poet.
Till he open his gate
To the stranger, early or late,
And turn back the stone of his fate.
“Unmanifest Destiny” by Richard Hovey
To what new fates, my country, far
And unforeseen of foe or friend,
Beneath what unexpected star
Compelled to what unchosen end.
Across the sea that knows no beach,
The Admiral of Nations guides
Thy blind obedient keels to reach
The harbor where thy future rides!
The guns that spoke at Lexington
Knew not that God was planning then
The trumpet word of Jefferson
To bugle forth the rights of men.
To them that wept and cursed Bull Run,
What was it but despair and shame?
Who saw behind the cloud the sun?
Who knew that God was in the flame?
Had not defeat upon defeat,
Disaster on disaster come,
The slave’s emancipated feet
Had never marched behind the drum.
There is a Hand that bends our deeds
To mightier issues than we planned;
Each son that triumphs, each that bleeds,
My country, serves It’s dark command.
I do not know beneath what sky
Nor on what seas shall be thy fate;
I only know it shall he high,
I only know it shall be great.
“Fate! seek me out some lake far off and lone” by Henry Timrod
Fate! seek me out some lake far off and lone,
Shut in by wooded hills that steeply rise,
And beautiful with blue, inverted skies,
Where not a breeze but comes with softened tone,
And if the waves awake, they only moan
With a low, sullen music like the rills
That have their home among those happy hills;
And let me find—there left by hands unknown—
A bark with rifted sides, and threadbare sail,
Just strong enough to bear me from the shore,
But not to reach its tree-girt harbor more!
O happy, happy rest! O world of wail!
How calmly I would tempt the peaceful deep,
And sink with smiling brow into the dreamless sleep!
“My Fate” by Ephelia
Oh cruel Fate, when wilt thou weary be?
When satisfied with tormenting me?
What have I e’er designed, but thou hast crost?
All that I wished to gain by thee, I’ve lost:
From my first infancy, thy spite thou’st shown
And from my cradle, I’ve thy malice known;
Thou snatch’st my parents in their tender age,
Made me a victim to the furious rage
Of cruel fortune, as severe as thee;
Yet I resolved to brave my destiny,
And did, with more than female constancy.
Not all thy malice could extort a tear,
Nor all thy rage could ever teach me fear:
Still as thy power diminished my estate
My fortitude did my desires abate,
In every state I did my mind content
And nicely did thy cross designs prevent;
Seeing thy plots did unsuccessful prove,
As a sure torment next, thou taught’st me love:
But here thou wert deceived too, for my swain,
As soon as he perceived, pitied my pain:
He met my passion with an equal fire,
Both sweetly languished in a soft desire:
Clasped in each other’s arms we sat all day,
Each smile I gave he’d with a kiss repay:
In every hour an age’s bliss we reaped,
And lavish favours on each other heaped.
Now sure (thought I) destiny doth relent,
And her insatiate tyranny repent:
But how mistaken! how deceived was I!
Alas! she only raised my hopes thus high,
To cast me down with greater violence;
For midst our joys, she snatched my shepherd hence
To Africa: yet though I was neglected,
I bore it better than could be expected:
Without regret I let him cross the sea,
When I was told it for his good would be,
But when I heard the nuptial knot he’d tied,
And made an Africk nymph his happy bride:
My temper then I could no longer hold,
I cursed my fate, I cursed the power of gold,
I cursed the easiness believed at first,
And (Heaven forgive me) Him I almost cursed.
Hearing my loss, to him was mighty gain;
I checked my rage, and soon grew calm again:
Malicious Fate, seeing this would not do,
Made Strephon wretched, to make me so too.
Of all her plagues, this was the weightiest stroke,
This blow my resolved heart hath almost broke:
Yet, spite of Fate, this comfort I’ve in store,
She’s no room left for any ill thing more.
“Fate and Man” by John Owen
Meaning well, men compass ill,
Scheming ill, they good fulfil;
Such is Fate’s ironic will,
Such her metamorphic skill,
From one substance to distil,
Balm to quicken—bane to kill.
Children-like, our laps we load
With flowers culled upon life’s road;
These we bear to Fate’s abode,
Nothing witting, but her mode
To distil, from gifts bestowed,
Drugs that solace or corrode.
Fate is sightless, Fate is free,
Yet her limits knoweth she;
Thus, though purblind mortals, we
All her methods cannot see,
Yet we know supreme is He
Who hath made Fate blind and free.
“Fate, or God?” by Paul Hamilton Hayne
Beyond the record of all eldest things,
Beyond the rule and regions of past time,
From out Antiquity’s hoary-headed rime,
Looms the dread phantom of a King of kings:
Round His vast brows the glittering circlet clings
Of a thrice royal crown; behind Him climb,
O’er Atlantean limbs and breast sublime,
The sombre splendors of mysterious wings;
Deep calms of measureless power, in awful state,
Gird and uphold Him; a miraculous rod,
To heal or smite, arms His infallible hands:
Known in all ages, worshipped in all lands,
Doubt names this half-embodied mystery—Fate,
While Faith, with lowliest reverence, whispers—God!
“Change and Fate” by Thomas Campion
What if a day, or a month, or a year,
Crown thy delights with a thousand sweet contentings!
Cannot a chance of a night or an hour
Cross thy desires with as many sad tormentings?
Fortune, Honour, Beauty, Youth, are but blossoms dying,
Wanton Pleasure, doating Love, are but shadows flying,
All our joys are but toys! idle thoughts deceiving:
None have power, of an hour, in their lives bereaving.
Earth’s but a point to the world, and a man
Is but a point to the world’s comparèd centre!
Shall then a point of a point be so vain
As to triumph in a silly point’s adventure?
All is hazard that we have, there is nothing biding;
Days of pleasure are like streams through fair meadows gliding.
Weal and woe, time doth go! time is never turning;
Secret fates guide our states, both in mirth and mourning.
“The Saddest Fate” by Anonymous
To touch a broken lute,
To strike a jangled string,
To strive with tones forever mute
The dear old tunes to sing—
What sadder fate could any heart befall?
Alas! dear child, never to sing at all.
To sigh for pleasures flown,
To weep for withered flowers,
To count the blessings we have known,
Lost with the vanished hours—
What sadder fate could any heart befall?
Alas! dear child, ne’er to have known them all.
To dream of love and rest,
To know the dream has past,
To bear within an aching breast
Only a void at last—
What sadder fate could any heart befall?
Alas! dear child, ne’er to have loved at all.
To trust an unknown good,
To hope, but all in vain,
Over a far-off bliss to brood,
Only to find it pain—
What sadder fate could any soul befall?
Alas! dear child, never to hope at all.
Poems About Fate and Love
“It Might Have Been” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
We will be what we could be. Do not say,
“It might have been, had not or that, or this.”
No fate can keep us from the chosen way;
He only might, who is.
We will do what we could do. Do not dream
Chance leaves a hero, all uncrowned to grieve.
I hold, all men are greatly what they seem;
He does, who could achieve.
We will climb where we could climb. Tell me not
Of adverse storms that kept thee from the height.
What eagle ever missed the peak he sought?
He always climbs who might.
I do not like the phrase, “It might have been!”
It lacks all force, and life’s best truths perverts
For I believe we have, and reach, and win,
Whatever our deserts.
“Destiny” by Matthew Arnold
Why each is striving, from of old,
To love more deeply than he can?
Still would be true, yet still grows cold?
Ask of the Powers that sport with man!
They yok’d in him, for endless strife,
A heart of ice, a soul of fire;
And hurl’d him on the Field of Life,
An aimless unallay’d Desire.
“Fate Knows No Tears” by Laurence Hope (Adela Florence Cory Nicolson)
Just as the dawn of Love was breaking
Across the weary world of grey,
Just as my life once more was waking
As roses waken late in May,
Fate, blindly cruel and havoc-making,
Stepped in and carried you away.
Memories have I none in keeping
Of times I held you near my heart,
Of dreams when we were near to weeping
That dawn should bid us rise and part;
Never, alas, I saw you sleeping
With soft closed eyes and lips apart,
Breathing my name still through your dreaming. –
Ah! had you stayed, such things had been!
But Fate, unheeding human scheming,
Serenely reckless came between –
Fate with her cold eyes hard and gleaming
Unseared by all the sorrow seen.
Ah! well-beloved, I never told you,
I did not show in speech or song,
How at the end I longed to fold you
Close in my arms; so fierce and strong
The longing grew to have and hold you,
You, and you only, all life long.
They who know nothing call me fickle,
Keen to pursue and loth to keep.
Ah, could they see these tears that trickle
From eyes erstwhile too proud to weep.
Could see me, prone, beneath the sickle,
While pain and sorrow stand and reap!
Unopened scarce, yet overblown, lie
The hopes that rose-like round me grew,
The lights are low, and more than lonely
This life I lead apart from you.
Come back, come back! I want you only,
And you who loved me never knew.
You loved me, pleaded for compassion
On all the pain I would not share;
And I in weary, halting fashion
Was loth to listen, long to care;
But now, dear God! I faint with passion
For your far eyes and distant hair.
Yes, I am faint with love, and broken
With sleepless nights and empty days;
I want your soft words fiercely spoken,
Your tender looks and wayward ways –
Want that strange smile that gave me token
Of many things that no man says.
Cold was I, weary, slow to waken
Till, startled by your ardent eyes,
I felt the soul within me shaken
And long-forgotten senses rise;
But in that moment you were taken,
And thus we lost our Paradise!
Farewell, we may not now recover
That golden “Then” misspent, passed by,
We shall not meet as loved and lover
Here, or hereafter, you and I.
My time for loving you is over,
Love has no future, but to die.
And thus we part, with no believing
In any chance of future years.
We have no idle self-deceiving,
No half-consoling hopes and fears;
We know the Gods grant no retrieving
A wasted chance. Fate knows no tears.
“Forlorn, My Love, No Comfort Near” by Robert Burns
Forlorn, my Love, no comfort near,
Far, far from thee, I wander here;
Far, far from thee, the fate severe,
At which I most repine, Love.
Chorus—O wert thou, Love, but near me!
But near, near, near me,
How kindly thou wouldst cheer me,
And mingle sighs with mine, Love.
Around me scowls a wintry sky,
Blasting each bud of hope and joy;
And shelter, shade, nor home have I;
Save in these arms of thine, Love.
O wert thou, &c.
Cold, alter’d friendship’s cruel part,
To poison Fortune’s ruthless dart—
Let me not break thy faithful heart,
And say that fate is mine, Love.
O wert thou, &c.
But, dreary tho’ the moments fleet,
O let me think we yet shall meet;
That only ray of solace sweet,
Can on thy Chloris shine, Love!
O wert thou, &c.
“Sonnet 29” by William Shakespeare
When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featur’d like him, like him with friends possess’d,
Desiring this man’s art, and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts my self almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate,;
For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
“Songs Set To Music: 20. Set By Mr. De Fesch” by Matthew Prior
Since by ill fate I’m forced away,
And snatch’d so soon from those dear arms,
Against my will I must obey,
And leave those sweet endearing charms.
Yet still love on, and never fear
But you and constancy will prove
Enough my present flame to bear,
And make me, though in absence, love.
For though your presence Fate denies,
I feel, alas! the killing smart,
And can with undiscerned eyes
Behold your picture in my heart.
“How prodigious is my fate” by Katherine Philips (‘Orinda’)
How prodigious is my fate,
Since I can’t determine clearly,
Whether you’ll do more severely
Giving me your love or hate!
For if you with kindness bless me,
Since from you I soon must part;
Fortune will so dispossess me,
That your love will break my heart.
But since Death all sorrow cures,
Might I choose my way of dying,
I could wish the arrow flying
From Fortune’s quiver, not from yours.
For in the sad unusual story
How my wretched heart was torn,
It will more concern your glory,
I by absence fell than scorn.
“The Usurer.” by Jean Blewett
Fate says, and flaunts her stores of gold,
“I’ll loan you happiness untold.
What is it you desire of me?”
A perfect hour in which to be
In love with life, and glad, and good,
The bliss of being understood,
Amid life’s cares a little space
To feast your eyes upon a face,
The whispered word, the love-filled tone,
The warmth of lips that meet your own,
To-day of Fate you borrow;
In hunger of the heart, and pain,
In loneliness, and longing vain,
You pay the debt to-morrow!
Prince, let grim Fate take what she will
Of treasures rare, of joys that thrill,
Enact the cruel usurer’s part,
Leave empty arms and hungry heart,
Take what she can of love and trust,
Take all life’s gladness, if she must,
Take meeting smile and parting kiss –
The benediction and the bliss.
What then? The fairest thing of all
Is ours, O Prince, beyond recall –
Not even Fate would dare to seize
Our store of golden memories.
“Kind Fate” by Leonora Speyer
You strike at hearts of gentle ways;
And in their grief they give you praise.
Once, once you struck at me …
And will not strike again.
You do not like to bruise your hands
On hearts that hoard their bright hard pain.
Poems About Fate and Death
“Death, Be Not Proud” by John Donne
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.
“It Was Not Fate” by William Moore
It was not fate which overtook me,
Rather a wayward, wilful wind
That blew hot for awhile
And then, as the even shadows came, blew cold.
What pity it is that a man grown old in life’s dreaming
Should stop, e’en for a moment, to look into a woman’s eyes.
And I forgot!
Forgot that one’s heart must be steeled against the east wind.
Life and death alike come out of the East:
Life as tender as young grass,
Death as dreadful as the sight of clotted blood.
I shall go back into the darkness,
Not to dream but to seek the light again.
I shall go by paths, mayhap,
On roads that wind around the foothills
Where the plains are bare and wild
And the passers-by come few and far between.
I want the night to be long, the moon blind.
The hills thick with moving memories,
And my heart beating a breathless requiem
For all the dead days I have lived.
When the Dawn comes—Dawn, deathless, dreaming—
I shall will that my soul must be cleansed of hate,
I shall pray for strength to hold children close to my heart,
I shall desire to build houses where the poor will know
shelter, comfort, beauty.
And then may I look into a woman’s eyes
And find holiness, love and the peace which passeth understanding.
“On My First Son” by Ben Jonson
Farewell, thou child of my right hand, and joy;
My sin was too much hope of thee, loved boy.
Seven years thou wert lent to me, and I thee pay,
Exacted by thy fate, on the just day.
Oh, could I lose all father now! For why
Will man lament the state he should envy?
To have so soon ‘scaped world’s and flesh’s rage,
And if no other misery, yet age!
Rest in soft peace, and asked, say, Here doth lie
Ben Jonson his best piece of poetry.
For whose sake henceforth all his vows be such
As what he loves may never like too much.
“An Irish Airman Foresees His Death” by W. B. Yeats
I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate
Those that I guard I do not love;
My country is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public man, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.
“Fate” by George MacDonald
Oft, as I rest in quiet peace, am I
Thrust out at sudden doors, and madly driven
Through desert solitudes, and thunder-riven
Black passages which have not any sky:
The scourge is on me now, with all the cry
Of ancient life that hath with murder striven.
How many an anguish hath gone up to heaven,
How many a hand in prayer been lifted high
When the black fate came onward with the rush
Of whirlwind, avalanche, or fiery spume!
Even at my feet is cleft a shivering tomb
Beneath the waves; or else, with solemn hush
The graveyard opens, and I feel a crush
As if we were all huddled in one doom!
“Sonnet To Chatterton” by John Keats
O Chatterton! how very sad thy fate!
Dear child of sorrow son of misery!
How soon the film of death obscur’d that eye,
Whence Genius mildly falsh’d, and high debate.
How soon that voice, majestic and elate,
Melted in dying numbers! Oh! how nigh
Was night to thy fair morning. Thou didst die
A half-blown flow’ret which cold blasts amate.
But this is past: thou art among the stars
Of highest heaven: to the rolling spheres
Thou sweetly singest: nought thy hymning mars,
Above the ingrate world and human fears.
On earth the good man base detraction bars
From thy fair name, and waters it with tears.
“Pride: Fate.” by Rose Hawthorne Lathrop
Lullaby on the wing
Of my song, O my own!
Soft airs of evening
Join my song’s murmuring tone.
Lullaby, O my love!
Close your eyes, lake-like clear;
Lullaby, while above
Wake the stars, with heaven near.
Lullaby, sweet, so still
In arms of death; I alone
Sing lullaby, like a rill,
To your form, cold as a stone.
Lullaby, O my heart!
Sleep in peace, all alone;
Night has come, and your part
For loving is wholly done!
“Epitaph.” by Friedrich Schiller
Here lies a man cut off by fate
Too soon for all good men;
For sextons he died late too late
For those who wield the pen.
“On Himself.” by Robert Herrick
If that my fate has now fulfill’d my year,
And so soon stopt my longer living here;
What was’t, ye gods, a dying man to save,
But while he met with his paternal grave!
Though while we living ’bout the world do roam,
We love to rest in peaceful urns at home,
Where we may snug, and close together lie
By the dead bones of our dear ancestry.
“My End” by Alfred Lichtenstein
Half hands hold my fate.
Where will it sink…
My steps are tiny, like those of a woman.
One evening lay waste all dreams.
Sleep does not come to me –
“A Mother’s Lament For The Death Of Her Son.” by Robert Burns
Fate gave the word, the arrow sped,
And pierc’d my darling’s heart;
And with him all the joys are fled
Life can to me impart.
By cruel hands the sapling drops,
In dust dishonour’d laid:
So fell the pride of all my hopes,
My age’s future shade.
The mother-linnet in the brake
Bewails her ravish’d young;
So I, for my lost darling’s sake,
Lament the live day long.
Death, oft I’ve fear’d thy fatal blow,
Now, fond I bare my breast,
O, do thou kindly lay me low
With him I love, at rest!
“A Sailor’s Elegy, on the Fate of the Wasp” by William McCarty
O! when, in some illustrious fight,
Stout warriors yield at Fate’s rude call,
They fall, like shooting stars at night,
And brighten as they fall.
A thousand tongues their deeds relate,
And with the story never tire,
A country mourns their noble fate,
And ladies weep, and men admire.
But dreary is the fate of those
I mourn, in this rough sailor strain,
Who perish’d—how, no mortal knows,
And perish’d all in vain.
Who in our country cannot tell
How Blakeley brought the red-cross low,
And twice triumphantly did quell
The prowess of a valiant foe?
Who has not heard of his brave men,
All valiant hearts of sterling gold
Who braved the lion in his den,
And turn’d his hot blood into cold?
Who has not wish’d that they were here,
Escaped the ocean’s perils rude,
To share our country’s welcome cheer,
And reap a nation’s gratitude?
But they will never come again
To claim the welcome of their home;
Affection looks for them in vain;
Too surely they will never come.
Far distant from their native land
They perish’d in the yawning deep,
Where there was none to stretch a hand,
And none their fate to weep.
No ear their dreary-drowning cry
Heard o’er the desert wave;
Their dying struggle met no eye,
No friendly aid to save.
And when they perish’d none can tell,
Nor where their bones are laid—
The spot Affection loves so well,
No mourner’s step will tread.
No tender friend will ever go
To seek the spot where they abide,
Nor child, or widow, full of wo,
Tell how, and when, and where they died.
Alas! they have no church-yard grave,
No mound to mark the spot;
They moulder in the deep, deep wave,
Just where—it matters not.
They perish’d far away from home,
A few will weep these sailors bold,
For e’er the certain news shall come,
Our feelings will grow cold.
By slow degrees hope will expire,
And when the anxious feeling’s o’er,
Stale Memory will quench her fire,
And sorrow be no more!
Save where some pale and widow’d one,
By grief, or madness cross’d,
Shall cling to one dear hope alone,
And hope, though hope were lost.
By fond imagination led,
Or ideal visions driven,
O! she will ne’er believe him dead,
Till they do meet in heaven.
“Faith and Fate” by Richard Hovey
To horse, my dear, and out into the night!
Stirrup and saddle and away, away!
Into the darkness, into the affright,
Into the unknown on our trackless way!
Past bridge and town missiled with flying feet,
Into the wilderness our riding thrills;
The gallop echoes through the startled street,
And shrieks like laughter in the demoned hills;
Things come to meet us with fantastic frown,
And hurry past with maniac despair;
Death from the stars looks ominously down—
Ho, ho, the dauntless riding that we dare!
East, to the dawn, or west or south or north!
Loose rein upon the neck of Fate—and forth!
“Epigrams. I. To a Seabird” by William Watson
Fain would I have thee barter fates with me,—
Lone loiterer where the shells like jewels be,
Hung on the fringe and frayed hem of the sea.
But no,—’t were cruel, wild-wing’d Bliss! to thee.
“An Epitaph: ‘What though no angel glanced aside the ball’” by Colonel David Humphreys
Written the day after the capitulation of Lord Cornwallis, at Yorktown, in Virginia
What though no angel glanced aside the ball,
Nor allied arms pour’d vengeance for his fall;
Brave Scammel’s fame, to distant regions known,
Shall last beyond this monumental stone,
Which conquering armies (from their toils return’d)
Rear’d to his glory, while his fate they mourn’d.
Poems About Fate for Her
“Farewell to Eliza” by Robert Burns
From thee, Eliza, I must go,
And from my native shore;
The cruel fates between us throw
A boundless ocean’s roar:
But boundless oceans, roaring wide,
Between my love and me,
They never, never can divide
My heart and soul from thee.
Farewell, farewell, Eliza dear,
The maid that I adore!
A boding voice is in mine ear,
We part to meet no more!
But the latest throb that leaves my heart,
While Death stands victor by,—
That throb, Eliza, is thy part,
And thine that latest sigh!
“Tho’ Cruel Fate Should Bid Us Part” by Robert Burns
Tho’ cruel fate should bid us part,
Far as the pole and line,
Her dear idea round my heart,
Should tenderly entwine.
Tho’ mountains, rise, and deserts howl,
And oceans roar between;
Yet, dearer than my deathless soul,
I still would love my Jean.
“The Common Lot.” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
It is a common fate – a woman’s lot –
To waste on one the riches of her soul,
Who takes the wealth she gives him, but cannot
Repay the interest, and much less the whole.
As I look up into your eyes and wait
For some response to my fond gaze and touch,
It seems to me there is no sadder fate
Than to be doomed to loving overmuch.
Are you not kind? Ah, yes, so very kind –
So thoughtful of my comfort, and so true.
Yes, yes, dear heart; but I, not being blind,
Know that I am not loved as I love you.
One tenderer word, a little longer kiss,
Will fill my soul with music and with song;
And if you seem abstracted, or I miss
The heart-tone from your voice, my world goes wrong.
And oftentimes you think me childish – weak –
When at some thoughtless word the tears will start;
You cannot understand how aught you speak
Has power to stir the depths of my poor heart.
I cannot help it, dear, – I wish I could,
Or feign indifference where I now adore;
For if I seemed to love you less you would,
Manlike, I have no doubt, love me the more.
‘Tis a sad gift, that much applauded thing,
A constant heart; for fact doth daily prove
That constancy finds oft a cruel sting,
While fickle natures win the deeper love.
“To Anne.” by George Gordon Byron
Oh say not, sweet Anne, that the Fates have decreed
The heart which adores you should wish to dissever;
Such Fates were to me most unkind ones indeed, –
To bear me from Love and from Beauty for ever.
Your frowns, lovely girl, are the Fates which alone
Could bid me from fond admiration refrain;
By these, every hope, every wish were o’erthrown,
Till smiles should restore me to rapture again.
As the ivy and oak, in the forest entwin’d,
The rage of the tempest united must weather;
My love and my life were by nature design’d
To flourish alike, or to perish together.
Then say not, sweet Anne, that the Fates have decreed
Your lover should bid you a lasting adieu:
Till Fate can ordain that his bosom shall bleed,
His Soul, his Existence, are centred in you.
“A Woman’s Question” by Adelaide Anne Procter
Before I trust my fate to thee,
Or place my hand in thine,
Before I let thy future give
Color and form to mine,
Before I peril all for thee, question thy soul to-night for me.
I break all slighter bonds, nor feel
A shadow of regret:
Is there one link within the Past
That holds thy spirit yet?
Or is thy faith as clear and free as that which I can pledge to thee?
Does there within thy dimmest dreams
A possible future shine,
Wherein thy life could henceforth breathe,
Untouch’d, unshar’d by mine?
If so, at any pain or cost, O, tell me before all is lost.
Look deeper still. If thou canst feel,
Within thy inmost soul,
That thou hast kept a portion back,
While I have stak’d the whole;
Let no false pity spare the blow, but in true mercy tell me so.
Is there within thy heart a need
That mine cannot fulfil?
One chord that any other hand
Could better wake or still?
Speak now—lest at some future day my whole life wither and decay.
Lives there within thy nature hid
The demon-spirit Change,
Shedding a passing glory still
On all things new and strange?
It may not be thy fault alone—but shield my heart against thy own.
Couldst thou withdraw thy hand one day
And answer to my claim,
That Fate, and that to-day’s mistake—
Not thou—had been to blame?
Some soothe their conscience thus; but thou wilt surely warn and save me now.
Nay, answer not,—I dare not hear,
The words would come too late;
Yet I would spare thee all remorse,
So, comfort thee, my fate—
Whatever on my heart may fall—remember, I would risk it all!
“An English Girl” by F. Wyville Home
Speak, quiet lips, and utter forth my fate;
Before thy beauty I bow down, I kneel,
Girl, and to thee my life I dedicate,
And seal the past up with a dateless seal.
What delicate hours and seasons without storm
Have nursed thee, and what happy English dale?
For tenderer is thy light and gracile form
Than any snowy wind-flower of the vale.
O wild-flower, though the bee that drinks thy wine
Must soar past crags that front the leaping sea,
I climb to thee; thy beauty shall be mine;
Or let the cold green wave go over me.