Alfred Tennyson

Alfred Tennyson
(1809-1892)

THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE

O BEAUTY, PASSING BEAUTY!

MARIANA

THE MILLER'S DAUGHTER

THE LADY OF SHALOTT  (edition 1833)

THE LADY OF SHALOTT  (edition 1842)

THE CHARGE
OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE

I
HALF a league, half a league, Half a league onward, All in the valley of Death Rode the six hundred. 'Forward the Light Brigade! Charge for the guns!' he said. Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred.
II
'Forward the Light Brigade!' Was there a man dismay'd? Not tho' the soldier knew Some one had blunder'd. Theirs not to make reply, Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die. Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred.
III
Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon in front of them Volley'd and thunder'd; Storm'd at with shot and shell, Boldly they rode and well, Into the jaws of Death, Into the mouth of hell Rode the six hundred.
IV
Flash'd all their sabres bare, Flash'd as they turned in air Sabring the gunners there, Charging an army, while All the world wonder'd. Plunged into the battery-smoke Right thro' the line they broke; Cossack and Russian Reel'd from the sabre-stroke Shatter'd and sunder'd. Then they rode back, but not, Not the six hundred.
V
Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon behind them Volley'd and thunder'd; Storm'd at with shot and shell, While horse and hero fell, They that had fought so well Came thro' the jaws of Death, Back from the mouth of hell, All that was left of them, Left of six hundred.
VI
When can their glory fade? O the wild charge they made! All the world wondered. Honor the charge they made! Honor the Light Brigade, Noble six hundred!
From English Poems.
American Book Company, NY 1908.
Upward

  Oh BEAUTY, PASSING BEAUTY!

Oh beauty, passing beauty! Sweetest sweet! How can thou let me waste my youth in sighs? I only ask to sit beside thy feet. Thou knowest I dare not look into thine eyes. Might I but kiss thy hand! I dare not fold My arms about thee—scarcely dare to speak. And nothing seems to me so wild and bold, As with one kiss to touch thy blessed cheek. Methinks if I should kiss thee, no control Within the thrilling brain could keep afloat The subtle spirit. Even while I spoke, The bare word "kiss" hath made my inner soul To tremble like a lute string, ere the note Hath melted in the silence that it broke.
The Early Poems, 1833.
Upward

  MARIANA

WITH blackest moss the flower-pots Were thickly crusted, one and all; The rusted nails fell from the knots That held the pear to the gable wall. The broken sheds look'd sad and strange; Unlifted was the clinking latch: Weeded and worn the ancient thatch Upon the lonely moated grange. She only said, 'My life is dreary, He cometh not,' she said; She said, 'I am aweary, aweary, I would that I were dead!' Her tears fell with the dews at even; Her tears fell ere the dews were dried; She could not look on the sweet heaven, Either at morn or eventide. After the flitting of bats, When thickest dark did trance the sky, She drew her casement-curtain by, And glanced athwart the glooming flats. She only said, 'The night is dreary, He cometh not,' she said; She said, 'I am aweary, aweary, I would that I were dead!' Upon the middle of the night, Waking she heard the night-fowl crow; The cock sung out an hour ere light; From the dark fen the oxen's low Came to her: without hope of change, In sleep she seemed to walk forlorn, Till cold winds woke the gray-eyed morn About the lonely moated grange. She only said, 'The day is dreary, He cometh not,' she said; She said, 'I am aweary, aweary, I would that I were dead!' About a stone-cast from the wall A sluice with blacken'd waters slept, And o'er it many, round and small, The cluster'd marish-mosses crept. Hard by a poplar shook alway, All silver-green with gnarlèd bark: For leagues no other tree did mark The level waste, the rounding gray. She only said, 'My life is dreary, He cometh not,' she said; She said, 'I am aweary, aweary, I would that I were dead!' And ever when the moon was low, And the shrill winds were up and away, In the white curtain, to and fro, She saw the gusty shadows sway. But when the moon was very low, And wild winds bound within their cell, the shadow of the poplar fell Upon her bed, across her brow. She only said, 'The night is dreary, He cometh not,' she said; She said, 'I am aweary, aweary, I would that I were dead!' All day within the dreamy house, The doors upon their hinges creak'd; The blue fly sung in the pane; the mouse Behind the mouldering wainscot shriek'd, Or from the crevice peered about. Old faces glimmer'd thro' the doors, Old footsteps trod the upper floors, Old voices called her from without. She only said, 'My life is dreary, He cometh not,' she said; She said, 'I am aweary, aweary, I would that I were dead!' The sparrow's chirrup on the roof, The slow clock ticking, and the sound, Which to the wooing wind aloof The poplar made, did all confound Her sense; but most she loathed the hour When the thick-moted sunbeam lay Athwart the chambers, and the day Was sloping toward his western bower. Then said she, 'I am very dreary, He will not come,' she said; She wept, 'I am aweary, aweary, O God, that I were dead!'
From English Poems.
American Book Company, NY 1908.
Upward

  THE MILLER'S DAUGHTER

IT is the miller's daughter, And she is grown so dear, so dear, That I would be the jewel That trembles in her ear: For hid in ringlets day and night, I'd touch her neck so warm and white. And I would be the girdle About her dainty dainty waist, And her heart would beat against me, In sorrow and in rest: And I should know if it beat right, I'd clasp it round so close and tight. And I would be the necklace, And all day long to fall and rise Upon her balmy bosom, With her laughter or her sighs: And I would lie so light, so light, I scarce should be unclasp'd at night.
First published in 1833 and greatly altered
when republished in 1842.
Upward

  THE LADY OF SHALOTT

              (Edition 1833)
Part the First.
On either side the river lie Long fields of barley and of rye, That clothe the wold and meet the sky. And thro' the field the road runs by To manytowered Camelot. The yellowleavèd waterlily, The greensheathèd daffodilly, Tremble in the water chilly, Round about Shalott. Willows whiten, aspens shiver, The sunbeam-showers break and quiver In the stream that runneth ever By the island in the river, Flowing down to Camelot. Four gray walls and four gray towers Overlook a space of flowers, And the silent isle imbowers The Lady of Shalott. Underneath the bearded barley, The reaper, reaping late and early, Hears her ever chanting cheerly, Like an angel, singing clearly, O'er the stream of Camelot. Piling the sheaves in furrows airy, Beneath the moon, the reaper weary Listening whispers, "'tis the fairy Lady of Shalott." The little isle is all inrailed With a rose-fence, and overtrailed With roses: by the marge unhailed The shallop flitteth silkensailed, Skimming down to Camelot. A pearlgarland winds her head: She leaneth on a velvet bed, Fully royally apparellèd, The Lady of Shalott.
Part the Second.
No time hath she to sport and play: A charmèd web she weaves alway. A curse is on her, if she stay Her weaving, either night or day, To look down to Camelot. She knows not what the curse may be; Therefore she weaveth steadily, Therefore no other care hath she, The Lady of Shalott. She lives with little joy or fear. Over the water, running near, The sheepbell tinkles in her ear. Before her hangs a mirror clear, Reflecting towered Camelot. And, as the mazy web she whirls, She sees the surly village-churls, And the red cloaks of market-girls, Pass onward from Shalott. Sometimes a troop of damsels glad, An abbot on an ambling pad, Sometimes a curly shepherd lad, Or longhaired page, in crimson clad, Goes by to towered Camelot. And sometimes thro' the mirror blue, The knights come riding, two and two. She hath no loyal knight and true, The Lady of Shalott. But in her web she still delights To weave the mirror's magic sights: For often thro' the silent nights A funeral, with plumes and lights And music, came from Camelot. Or, when the moon was overhead, Came two young lovers, lately wed: "I am half-sick of shadows," said The Lady of Shalott.
Part the Third.
A bowshot from her bower-eaves. He rode between the barleysheaves: The sun came dazzling thro' the leaves, And flamed upon the brazen greaves Of bold Sir Launcelot. A redcross knight for ever kneeled To a lady in his shield, That sparkled on the yellow field, Beside remote Shalott. The gemmy bridle glittered free, Like to some branch of stars we see Hung in the golden galaxy. The bridle-bells rang merrily, As he rode down from Camelot. And, from his blazoned baldric slung, A mighty silver bugle hung, And, as he rode, his armour rung, Beside remote Shalott. All in the blue unclouded weather, Thickjewelled shone the saddle-leather. The helmet, and the helmet-feather Burned like one burning flame together, As he rode down from Camelot. As often thro' the purple night, Below the starry clusters bright, Some bearded meteor, trailing light, Moves over green Shalott. His broad clear brow in sunlight glowed. On burnished hooves his warhorse trode. From underneath his helmet flowed His coalblack curls, as on he rode, As he rode down from Camelot. From the bank, and from the river, He flashed into the crystal mirror, "Tirra lirra, tirra lirra," Sang Sir Launcelot. She left the web: she left the loom: She made three paces thro' the room: She saw the waterflower bloom: She saw the helmet and the plume: She looked down to Camelot. Out flew the web, and floated wide, The mirror cracked from side to side, "The curse is come upon me," cried The Lady of Shalott.
Part the Fourth.
In the stormy eastwind straining The pale-yellow woods were waning, The broad stream in his banks complaining, Heavily the low sky raining Over towered Camelot: Outside the isle a shallow boat Beneath a willow lay afloat, Below the carven stern she wrote, The Lady of Shalott. A cloudwhite crown of pearl she dight. All raimented in snowy white That loosely flew, (her zone in sight, Clasped with one blinding diamond bright,) Her wide eyes fixed on Camelot, Though the squally eastwind keenly Blew, with folded arms serenely By the water stood the queenly Lady of Shalott. With a steady, stony glance-- Like some bold seer in a trance, Beholding all his own mischance, Mute, with a glassy countenance-- She looked down to Camelot. It was the closing of the day, She loosed the chain, and down she lay, The broad stream bore her far away, The Lady of Shalott. As when to sailors while they roam, By creeks and outfalls far from home, Rising and dropping with the foam, From dying swans wild warblings come, Blown shoreward; so to Camelot Still as the boathead wound along The willowy hills and fields among, They heard her chanting her deathsong, The Lady of Shalott. A longdrawn carol, mournful, holy, She chanted loudly, chanted lowly, Till her eyes were darkened wholly, And her smooth face sharpened slowly Turned to towered Camelot: For ere she reached upon the tide The first house by the waterside, Singing in her song she died, The Lady of Shalott. Under tower and balcony, By gardenwall and gallery, A pale, pale corpse she floated by, Deadcold, between the houses high, Dead into towered Camelot. Knight and burgher, lord and dame, To the plankèd wharfage came: Below the stern they read her name, "The Lady of Shalott." They crossed themselves, their stars they blest, Knight, minstrel, abbot, squire and guest. There lay a parchment on her breast, That puzzled more than all the rest, The wellfed wits at Camelot. "The web was woven curiously The charm is broken utterly, Draw near and fear not--this is I, The Lady of Shalott."
Upward

  THE LADY OF SHALOTT

             (Edition 1842)
Part I
On either side the river lie Long fields of barley and of rye, That clothe the wold and meet the sky; And thro' the field the road runs by To many-tower'd Camelot; And up and down the people go, Gazing where the lilies blow Round an island there below, The island of Shalott. Willows whiten, aspens quiver, Little breezes dusk and shiver Thro' the wave that runs for ever By the island in the river Flowing down to Camelot. Four gray walls, and four gray towers, Overlook a space of flowers, And the silent isle imbowers The Lady of Shalott. By the margin, willow veil'd, Slide the heavy barges trail'd By slow horses; and unhail'd The shallop flitteth silken-sail'd Skimming down to Camelot: But who hath seen her wave her hand? Or at the casement seen her stand? Or is she known in all the land, The Lady of Shalott? Only reapers, reaping early In among the bearded barley, Hear a song that echoes cheerly From the river winding clearly, Down to tower'd Camelot: And by the moon the reaper weary, Piling sheaves in uplands airy, Listening, whispers " 'Tis the fairy Lady of Shalott."
Part II
There she weaves by night and day A magic web with colours gay. She has heard a whisper say, A curse is on her if she stay To look down to Camelot. She knows not what the curse may be, And so she weaveth steadily, And little other care hath she, The Lady of Shalott. And moving thro' a mirror clear That hangs before her all the year, Shadows of the world appear. There she sees the highway near Winding down to Camelot: There the river eddy whirls, And there the surly village-churls, And the red cloaks of market girls, Pass onward from Shalott. Sometimes a troop of damsels glad, An abbot on an ambling pad, Sometimes a curly shepherd-lad, Or long-hair'd page in crimson clad, Goes by to tower'd Camelot; And sometimes thro' the mirror blue The knights come riding two and two: She hath no loyal knight and true, The Lady of Shalott. But in her web she still delights To weave the mirror's magic sights, For often thro' the silent nights A funeral, with plumes and lights And music, went to Camelot: Or when the moon was overhead, Came two young lovers lately wed: "I am half sick of shadows," said The Lady of Shalott.
Part III
A bow-shot from her bower-eaves, He rode between the barley-sheaves, The sun came dazzling thro' the leaves, And flamed upon the brazen greaves Of bold Sir Lancelot. A red-cross knight for ever kneel'd To a lady in his shield, That sparkled on the yellow field, Beside remote Shalott. The gemmy bridle glitter'd free, Like to some branch of stars we see Hung in the golden Galaxy. The bridle bells rang merrily As he rode down to Camelot: And from his blazon'd baldric slung A mighty silver bugle hung, And as he rode his armour rung, Beside remote Shalott. All in the blue unclouded weather Thick-jewell'd shone the saddle-leather, The helmet and the helmet-feather Burn'd like one burning flame together, As he rode down to Camelot. As often thro' the purple night, Below the starry clusters bright, Some bearded meteor, trailing light, Moves over still Shalott. His broad clear brow in sunlight glow'd; On burnish'd hooves his war-horse trode; From underneath his helmet flow'd His coal-black curls as on he rode, As he rode down to Camelot. From the bank and from the river He flash'd into the crystal mirror, "Tirra lirra," by the river Sang Sir Lancelot. She left the web, she left the loom, She made three paces thro' the room, She saw the water-lily bloom, She saw the helmet and the plume, She look'd down to Camelot. Out flew the web and floated wide; The mirror crack'd from side to side; "The curse is come upon me," cried The Lady of Shalott.
Part IV
In the stormy east-wind straining, The pale yellow woods were waning, The broad stream in his banks complaining, Heavily the low sky raining Over tower'd Camelot; Down she came and found a boat Beneath a willow left afloat, And round about the prow she wrote The Lady of Shalott. And down the river's dim expanse Like some bold seër in a trance, Seeing all his own mischance— With a glassy countenance Did she look to Camelot. And at the closing of the day She loosed the chain, and down she lay; The broad stream bore her far away, The Lady of Shalott. Lying, robed in snowy white That loosely flew to left and right— The leaves upon her falling light— Thro' the noises of the night She floated down to Camelot: And as the boat-head wound along The willowy hills and fields among, They heard her singing her last song, The Lady of Shalott. Heard a carol, mournful, holy, Chanted loudly, chanted lowly, Till her blood was frozen slowly, And her eyes were darken'd wholly, Turn'd to tower'd Camelot. For ere she reach'd upon the tide The first house by the water-side, Singing in her song she died, The Lady of Shalott. Under tower and balcony, By garden-wall and gallery, A gleaming shape she floated by, Dead-pale between the houses high, Silent into Camelot. Out upon the wharfs they came, Knight and burgher, lord and dame, And round the prow they read her name, The Lady of Shalott. Who is this? and what is here? And in the lighted palace near Died the sound of royal cheer; And they cross'd themselves for fear, All the knights at Camelot: But Lancelot mused a little space; He said, "She has a lovely face; God in his mercy lend her grace, The Lady of Shalott."


Tennyson wrote two versions of  'The lady of Shalott'.
The first published in 1833, of twenty stanzas, the second
in 1842 of nineteen stanzas.
The poem was based on the Arthurian legend of 'Elaine
of Astolat', as recounted in a thirteenth-century Italian
novella entitled 'Donna di Scalotta'.
The earlier version (1833) is closer to the source material
than the later (1842).

Alfred Tennyson  (1809-1892)

Upward

Alfred Tennyson - De dochter van de molenaar
(Dutch/Nederlands)


S.T. Coleridge - Kubla Khan

Thomas Hardy - A Poet

Lord Byron - Poems

William Wordsworth - Poems

Robert Browning - Poems

S.T. Coleridge - Kubla Khan

John Keats - Bright Star

John Keats - La Belle Dame Sans Merci

John Keats - Odes

Love-poems

Dead Poets Society

Dead Poetesses Society



Homepage


Pageviews since/sinds 21-03-2002: 

©  Gaston D'Haese: 13-05-2010.
Update: 17-08-2017.