British The Best English Poets of All Time  

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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
580 199
William Shakespeare is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
William Shakespeare Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?, My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun, All the World's a Stage

2
196 76
John Milton is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
John Milton Paradise Lost, On His Blindness, How Soon Hath Time

3
154 53
John Donne is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
looksharp added John Donne Dead Be Not Proud, For whom the Bell Tolls, No Man Is an Island

4
227 95
John Keats is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
John Keats Bright Star, Ode on a Grecian Urn, A Thing of Beauty (Endymion)

5
159 58
William Wordsworth is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
looksharp added William Wordsworth I wandered lonely as a cloud, The world is too much with us, Daffodils

6
127 42
Percy Bysshe Shelley is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time

7
130 47
William Blake is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
William Blake The Tiger, A Poison Tree, Auguries of Innocence

8
134 57
T. S. Eliot is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
looksharp added T. S. Eliot The Waste Land, The Hollow Men, The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock

9
96 37
Geoffrey Chaucer is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Geoffrey Chaucer The Canterbury Tales

10
91 33
Samuel Taylor Coleridge is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
looksharp added Samuel Taylor Coleridge The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Kubla Khan, The Suicide's Argument

11
74 23
Robert Browning is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Robert Browning My Last Duchess, A Woman's Last Word, Life in a Love

12
85 30
Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Ten... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson The Charge of the Light Brigade, Idylls of the King, The Lady of Shalott

13
64 18
Alexander Pope is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
looksharp added Alexander Pope Ode to Solitude, Eloisa to Abelard, A Dying Christian to His Soul

14
52 12
Edmund Spenser is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Edmund Spenser The Faerie Queene, My Love Is Like to Ice, Epithalamion

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15
87 35
Rudyard Kipling is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Rudyard Kipling Mandalay, If, A Child's Garden

16
48 12
Gerard Manley Hopkins is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Gerard Manley Hopkins The Alchemist in the City, God's Grandeur, The Windhover

17
64 22
George Gordon Byron is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
George Gordon Byron She Walks In Beauty, There Is Pleasure In The Pathless Woods, When We Two

18
52 15
Emily Brontë is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Emily Brontë Wuthering Heights, Gondal poems, Poems by Currer

19
74 28
Oscar Wilde is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Oscar Wilde Her Voice, A Vision, Flower of Love

20
53 18
W. H. Auden is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
W. H. Auden Funeral Blues, If I Could Tell You, Cocaine Lil and Morphine Sue

21
43 10
Dylan Thomas is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Dylan Thomas A prospect of the sea, Under Milk Wood, Under Milk Wood

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22
55 22
D. H. Lawrence is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
D. H. Lawrence A Winter's Tale, To Women As Far As I'm Concerned, Self-Pity

23
39 11
Andrew Marvell is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
looksharp added Andrew Marvell To His Coy Mistress, A Dialogue Between the Soul and Body, Eyes and Tears ...

24
39 12
Thomas Hardy is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Thomas Hardy Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Jude the Obscure, The Mayor of Casterbridge: The Life and Death of a Man of Character

25
32 9
Matthew Arnold is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Matthew Arnold Poems of Wordsworth, guide to English literature and Essay on Gray, Matthew Arnold's books

26
34 10
A. E. Housman is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
A. E. Housman To an Athlete Dying Young, When I Was One-and-Twenty, Here Dead We Lie

27
34 11
John Dryden is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
looksharp added John Dryden Ah how sweet it is to love!, Happy the man, Can life be a blessing

28
29 7
Wilfred Owen is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Wilfred Owen Poems of Wilfred Owen, Automotive transportation, Disabled and other poems

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29
49 21
Robert Burns is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Robert Burns Auld Lang Syne, A Red Red Rose, My Heart's In the Highlands

30
38 16
Christina Rossetti is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
looksharp added Christina Rossetti What Is Pink?, The Skylark, From Queens' Gardens

31
40 18
Elizabeth Barrett Browning is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Elizabeth Barrett Browning How Do I Love Thee? If Thou Must Love Me, A Curse for a Nation

32
38 18
Charlotte Brontë is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Charlotte Brontë There's no use in weeping, Long ago I wished to leave, The human heart has hidden treasures

33
23 9
George Herbert is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
looksharp added George Herbert A Night in a Moorish Harem, The temple & A priest to the temple, The Williams manuscript of George Herbert's poems

34
33 19
Philip Larkin is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Philip Larkin Aubade, Church Going, Faith Healing

35
21 8
Henry Vaughan is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
looksharp added Henry Vaughan Friends Departed, I Walk'd the Other Day, Silence and Stealth of Days

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36
26 12
John Betjeman is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
John Betjeman John Betjeman: Collected Poems, Antiquarian prejudice, An Oxford University Chest

37
27 14
Ted Hughes is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Ted Hughes The Iron Man, The Iron Woman, The Cat and the Cuckoo

38
20 8
Robert Herrick is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
looksharp added Robert Herrick To the Virgins: Make Much of Time, A Hymn to Love, To Daffodils

39
29 15
Anne Brontë is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Anne Brontë The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Agnes Grey, Best Poems of the Brontë Sisters

40
26 14
William Morris is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
William Morris News from Nowhere, A Dream of John Ball, Address delivered in the Town Hall

41
18 8
Thomas Gray is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Thomas Gray The poems of Gray, Odes, Cross

42
19 9
Philip Sidney is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Philip Sidney Astrophel and Stella, Poems, Certaine sonets

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43
19 9
Ben Jonson is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Ben Jonson Epicœne, or The silent woman, The Honey Pot

44
19 9
Walter de la Mare is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Walter de la Mare Collected stories for children, Walter de la Mare: Short Stories, 1895-1926

45
20 12
John Clare is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
John Clare Poems Chiefly From Manuscript, John Clare 1793-1864, A song in the night

46
9 1
Samuel Johnson is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Samuel Johnson 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

47
16 8
Thomas Nashe is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Thomas Nashe The Unfortunate Traveller, Pierce Penniless's supplication to the Devil, Dido

48
18 11
Edward Thomas is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Edward Thomas British country life in autumn and winter, British country life in spring and summer, Lafcadio Hearn

49
15 10
Richard Lovelace is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
looksharp added Richard Lovelace Come pretty birds present your lays, Tell me not (Sweet) I am unkind, Small type of great ones

50
14 9
Samuel Butler is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best English Poets of All Time
Samuel Butler The Way of All Flesh, Erewhon, Erewhon