I’ll be honest, poetry’s usually not my thing, but I make an exception for Victorian classics — and that’s exactly what you’ll find throughout Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Angel.
Each chapter begins with a quote from a poem that would have been familiar to the characters. Since Clockwork Angel is set in late 19th-century London, most of the poems are from that era or were already canon.
The poems on Tessa’s list mainly fall into three categories:
- 1785-1830 The Romantic Period: vivid and colorful language, evocative of elevating themes and ideas
- 1832-1901 The Victorian Period: spawned the dramatic monologue, concerned with reclaiming the past, especially classical/medieval themes
- 1848-1860 The Pre-Raphaelites: emphasizes “lush” vowel sounds, description, subjective psychological states, elaborate personification and complex forms
Tessa’s Poetry List
One main exception to the categories above is Elka Cloke’s Thames River Song, which appears at the beginning of Clockwork Angel. It’s a contemporary piece and will be included in Cloke’s upcoming book, Bitter Language (look for a feature in the near future!). Her poem of the same name also appears at the beginning of City of Ashes.
She kindly provided us with the full version of Thames River Song — a Novel Novice exclusive!
Here’s a complete list (with links to the text) of the poems quoted in Clockwork Angel:
- Thames River Song – Elka Cloke
- Invictus – William Ernest Henley
- Don Juan – Lord Byron
- Paracelsus – Robert Browning
- Odes – Horace
- The Higher Pantheism – Tennyson
- Goblin Market – Christina Rossetti
- Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam – trans. Edward FitzGerald
- Dolores – Algernon Charles Swinburne
- Maud – Tennyson
- La Belle Dame Sans Merci – John Keats
- King Henry VIII – Shakespeare
- Laus Veneris – Swinburne
- Maxims – Francois Duc de la Rochefoucauld
- The River’s Tale – Rudyard Kipling
- The Ballad of Reading Gaol – Oscar Wilde
- The Old Church Tower – Emily Bronte
- The Lost Leader – Robert Browning
- Prothalamion by Edmund Spenser
- Paradise Lost by John Milton
- Sir Galahad by Tennyson