home authors books contributors books for sale links
The Library of Renaissance Symbolism
The Symbolic Literature of the Renaissance

Support the Library!
Buy your books here.

Find On Worldcat
Find On This Site

Figure Poems

*=contributor or source; (...)=translation of title or work; [...]=relevant pages or chapter

[These pages are under construction. Contributions are welcome and will be acknowledged.  For details see here]

Harvey, Christopher Schola Cordis 1647

(The School of the Heart)

A good general reference

Herbert, George The Temple-Sacred Poems and Private Ejeculations Cambridge: Roger Daniel, 1641

Sixth ed.

Hrabanus Maurus (c784-856) In Praise of the Holy Cross Pforzheim: Anshelm, 1503.

This was the first printed figure poem. Latin edition De laudibus sanctae crucis opus Augsburg: Praetoriano, 1605

Molnár, Albert  (1574-1634) Lusus poetici 1614

(Games of the poets) An anthology of Latin technopaegnia.

Putaneus, Erycius Pietatis Thaumata Antwerp: 1617

Puttenham, George Art of English Poesie 1589

Defines the shapes which are acceptable usage.

Quarles, Francis Hieroglyphiques of the Life of Man 1635

Stengelius Ova Paschalia 1634

(Easter Eggs) An emblem book where all the emblems are in the shape of eggs.

Theocritus Eidullia kai Epigrammata Rome: Benigno, 1516

(Idylls and Epigrams) This edition contains some of the poems as figure poems.

Valeriano, Pierio in his Amorum libri quinque, or published in 1549

(Five books of love) Included a pear-shaped figure poem.

Willet, Andrew Sacrorum Emblematum Centuria Una 1591

(A Century of Sacred Emblems) This included a figure poem extolling Queen Elizabeth his patron.

Willis, Richard Poematum Liber, Ara Christiani Religioni 1573

(The book of Poems, Altars of the Christian Religion)


List of different 'species' of figure poems from Higgins

  • carmina cancellata
  • tautogram
  • mesostic
  • telestic
  • versus quadrati
  • carmen quadratum
  • labyrinthus cubicus
  • acrostics
  • chronosticon
  • isogrammatistichon
  • symphoniaca
  • cubic triolet
  • acromesotelestic
  • proteus poem
  • abecedarians
  • leonine verse
  • apocope
  • labyrinthus arithmeticus
  • palindrome
  • cancrizan