British The Best English Poets of All Time  

Ranker Books
Originally by
7.7k votes 2.3k voters 55.5k views 81 items

List Rules Vote up the greatest English poets of all time

Who is the best English poet? This list includes the greats, poets such as Rudyard Kipling, John Keats, Geoffrey Chaucer, and William Shakespeare. From the Renaissance, to the Jacobean era, to the Restoration, to the modern day, great English poets have been making readers think across the ages.

Written works have the ability to make us feel. They make us want to believe, be inspired, and live vicariously through the stories we read on the page. It all begins with the words written on the page. Whether short or long form, poetry is often illusory, and full of rich imagery or hidden meaning. It is these elements which provoke readers to dig deeper and make poetry so engaging and moving.

The best of poems and poets are read throughout the ages. They are read from generation to generation and taught throughout school to young students. Poets and their poetry have the ability to take us places and into the lives of those we’ve never imagined. Poets are often tortured souls or great thinkers who show readers a new view of the world they never would have imagined.

These greatest English poets provide the kind of emotional connection to the written word that few can. Vote up the absolute best English poets on the list below, or add a famous poet from England who is truly great, but isn't already on the list.

 

list ordered by

1
882 321
William Shakespeare is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?, My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun, All the World's a Stage

2
308 111
William Wordsworth is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
looksharp added I wandered lonely as a cloud, The world is too much with us, Daffodils

3
320 124
John Milton is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Paradise Lost, On His Blindness, How Soon Hath Time

4
343 141
John Keats is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Bright Star, Ode on a Grecian Urn, A Thing of Beauty (Endymion)

5
207 83
John Donne is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
looksharp added Dead Be Not Proud, For whom the Bell Tolls, No Man Is an Island

6
184 74
William Blake is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
The Tiger, A Poison Tree, Auguries of Innocence

7
168 69
Percy Bysshe Shelley is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Ozymandias, Ode to the West Wind, To a Skylark

8
176 80
T. S. Eliot is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
looksharp added The Waste Land, The Hollow Men, The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock

9
120 49
Samuel Taylor Coleridge is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
looksharp added The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Kubla Khan, The Suicide's Argument

10
126 53
Rudyard Kipling is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Mandalay, If, A Child's Garden

11
135 60
Geoffrey Chaucer is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
The Canterbury Tales

12
90 31
Alexander Pope is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
looksharp added Ode to Solitude, Eloisa to Abelard, A Dying Christian to His Soul

13
107 42
Oscar Wilde is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Her Voice, A Vision, Flower of Love

14
87 33
George Gordon Byron is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
She Walks In Beauty, There Is Pleasure In The Pathless Woods, When We Two

15
107 47
Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Ten... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
The Charge of the Light Brigade, Idylls of the King, The Lady of Shalott

16
73 26
Edmund Spenser is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
The Faerie Queene, My Love Is Like to Ice, Epithalamion

17
88 37
Robert Browning is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
My Last Duchess, A Woman's Last Word, Life in a Love

18
71 25
Emily Brontë is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Wuthering Heights, Gondal poems, Poems by Currer

19
60 18
Dylan Thomas is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
A prospect of the sea, Under Milk Wood, Under Milk Wood

20
62 22
Gerard Manley Hopkins is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
The Alchemist in the City, God's Grandeur, The Windhover

21
67 27
W. H. Auden is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Funeral Blues, If I Could Tell You, Cocaine Lil and Morphine Sue

22
56 21
Christina Rossetti is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
looksharp added What Is Pink?, The Skylark, From Queens' Gardens

23
47 17
Andrew Marvell is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
looksharp added To His Coy Mistress, A Dialogue Between the Soul and Body, Eyes and Tears ...

24
68 31
Robert Burns is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Auld Lang Syne, A Red Red Rose, My Heart's In the Highlands

25
53 21
Elizabeth Barrett Browning is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
How Do I Love Thee? If Thou Must Love Me, A Curse for a Nation

26
40 14
Wilfred Owen is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Poems of Wilfred Owen, Automotive transportation, Disabled and other poems

27
42 17
A. E. Housman is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
To an Athlete Dying Young, When I Was One-and-Twenty, Here Dead We Lie

28
48 22
Thomas Hardy is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Jude the Obscure, The Mayor of Casterbridge: The Life and Death of a Man of Character

29
41 18
Matthew Arnold is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Poems of Wordsworth, guide to English literature and Essay on Gray, Matthew Arnold's books

30
59 32
D. H. Lawrence is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
A Winter's Tale, To Women As Far As I'm Concerned, Self-Pity

31
39 18
John Dryden is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
looksharp added Ah how sweet it is to love!, Happy the man, Can life be a blessing

32
46 25
Charlotte Brontë is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
There's no use in weeping, Long ago I wished to leave, The human heart has hidden treasures

33
43 27
Philip Larkin is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Aubade, Church Going, Faith Healing

34
39 22
Anne Brontë is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Agnes Grey, Best Poems of the Brontë Sisters

35
35 21
Ted Hughes is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
The Iron Man, The Iron Woman, The Cat and the Cuckoo

36
28 16
George Herbert is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
looksharp added A Night in a Moorish Harem, The temple & A priest to the temple, The Williams manuscript of George Herbert's poems

37
33 20
John Betjeman is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
John Betjeman: Collected Poems, Antiquarian prejudice, An Oxford University Chest

38
24 13
Robert Herrick is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
looksharp added To the Virgins: Make Much of Time, A Hymn to Love, To Daffodils

39
25 14
Ben Jonson is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Epicœne, or The silent woman, The Honey Pot

40
26 17
John Clare is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Poems Chiefly From Manuscript, John Clare 1793-1864, A song in the night

41
18 8
Samuel Johnson is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
A Dictionary of the English Language, Samuel Johnson's Dictionary: Selections from the 1755 Work That Defined the English Language, Life of Mr Richard Savage

42
24 15
Walter de la Mare is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Collected stories for children, Walter de la Mare: Short Stories, 1895-1926

43
23 17
Henry Vaughan is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
looksharp added Friends Departed, I Walk'd the Other Day, Silence and Stealth of Days

44
21 14
Thomas Gray is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
The poems of Gray, Odes, Cross

45
23 16
Philip Sidney is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Astrophel and Stella, Poems, Certaine sonets

46
28 21
William Morris is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
News from Nowhere, A Dream of John Ball, Address delivered in the Town Hall

47
18 13
Thomas Nashe is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
The Unfortunate Traveller, Pierce Penniless's supplication to the Devil, Dido

48
10 5
George Barker is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
brancourt added At Thurgarton Church, Income distribution in New Zealand, Collected poems

49
26 21
Siegfried Sassoon is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Memoirs of an Infantry Officer, Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man, Memorias De Un Oficial De Infanteria

50
10 7
Rupert Brooke is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Lithuania, Democracy and the arts, Letters From America