Part I

On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And through the field the road runs by
     To many-towered 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
Through the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river
     Flowing down to Camelot.
Four grey walls, and four grey towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
     The Lady of Shalott.

By the margin, willow-veiled,
Slide the heavy barges trailed
By slow horses; and unhailed
The shallop flitteth silken-sailed
     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 towered 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 through 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-haired page in crimson clad,
     Goes by to towered Camelot;
And sometimes through 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 through 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 through the leaves,
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
     Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A red-cross 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 to 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
Thick-jewelled shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather
Burned like one burning flame together,
     As he rode down to Camelot.
As often through the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, trailing light,
     Moves over still Shalott.

His broad clear brow in sunlight glowed;
On burnished hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flowed
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
     As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flashed into the crystal mirror,
"Tirra lirra," by the river
     Sang Sir Lancelot.

She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces through the room,
She saw the water-lily 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 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 towered 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--
Through 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 darkened wholly,
     Turned to towered Camelot.
For ere she reached 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 crossed 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."

This poem is in the public domain.

    ‘In Love, if Love be Love, if Love be ours,
Faith and unfaith can ne’er be equal powers:
Unfaith in aught is want of faith in all.

    ‘It is the little rift within the lute,
That by and by will make the music mute,
And ever widening slowly silence all.

    ‘The little rift within the lover’s lute
Or little pitted speck in garnered fruit,
That rotting inward slowly moulders all.

    ‘It is not worth the keeping: let it go:
But shall it? answer, darling, answer, no.
And trust me not at all or all in all’.

This poem is in the public domain. 

⁠‘Courage!’ he said, and pointed toward the land,
⁠‘This mounting wave will roll us shoreward soon.’
⁠In the afternoon they came unto a land
⁠In which it seemed always afternoon.
⁠All round the coast the languid air did swoon,
⁠Breathing like one that hath a weary dream.
⁠Full-faced above the valley stood the moon;
⁠And, like a downward smoke, the slender stream
⁠Along the cliff to fall and pause and fall did seem.
⁠ A land of streams! some, like a downward smoke,
⁠ Slow-dropping veils of thinnest lawn, did go;
⁠And some thro’ wavering lights and shadows broke,
⁠Rolling a slumbrous sheet of foam below.
⁠They saw the gleaming river seaward flow
⁠From the inner land; far off, three mountain-tops,
⁠Three silent pinnacles of aged snow,
⁠Stood sunset-flush’d; and, dew’d with showery drops,
⁠Up-clomb the shadowy pine above the woven copse.

The charmed sunset linger’d low adown
⁠In the red West; thro’ mountain clefts the dale
⁠Was seen far inland, and the yellow down
⁠Border’d with palm, and many a winding vale
⁠And meadow, set with slender galingale;
⁠A land where all things always seem’d the same!
⁠And round about the keel with faces pale,
⁠Dark faces pale against that rosy flame,
⁠The mild-eyed melancholy Lotos-eaters came.

⁠Branches they bore of that enchanted stem,
⁠Laden with flower and fruit, whereof they gave
⁠To each, but whoso did receive of them
⁠And taste, to him the gushing of the wave
⁠Far far away did seem to mourn and rave
⁠On alien shores; and if his fellow spake,
⁠His voice was thin, as voices from the grave;
⁠And deep-asleep he seem’d, yet all awake,
And music in his ears his beating heart did make.

⁠ They sat them down upon the yellow sand,
⁠Between the sun and moon upon the shore;
⁠And sweet it was to dream of Fatherland,
⁠Of child, and wife, and slave; but evermore
Most weary seem’d the sea, weary the oar,
⁠Weary the wandering fields of barren foam.
⁠Then some one said, “We will return no more;”
⁠And all at once they sang, “Our island home
⁠Is far beyond the wave; we will no longer roam.”

                     CHORIC SONG


⁠There is sweet music here that softer falls
⁠Than petals from blown roses on the grass,
⁠Or night-dews on still waters between walls
⁠Of shadowy granite, in a gleaming pass;
⁠Music that gentlier on the spirit lies,
⁠Than tir’d eyelids upon tir’d eyes;
⁠Music that brings sweet sleep down from the blissful skies.
⁠Here are cool mosses deep,
⁠And thro’ the moss the ivies creep,
⁠And in the stream the long-leaved flowers weep,
⁠And from the craggy ledge the poppy hangs in sleep.


⁠Why are we weigh’d upon with heaviness,
⁠And utterly consumed with sharp distress,
⁠While all things else have rest from weariness?
⁠All things have rest: why should we toil alone,
⁠We only toil, who are the first of things,
⁠And make perpetual moan,
⁠Still from one sorrow to another thrown;
⁠Nor ever fold our wings,
⁠And cease from wanderings,
⁠Nor steep our brows in slumber’s holy balm;
⁠Nor harken what the inner spirit sings,
⁠“There is no joy but calm!”—
⁠Why should we only toil, the roof and crown of things?


⁠Lo! in the middle of the wood,
⁠The folded leaf is woo’d from out the bud
⁠With winds upon the branch, and there
⁠Grows green and broad, and takes no care,
⁠Sun-steep’d at noon, and in the moon
⁠Nightly dew-fed; and turning yellow
⁠Falls, and floats adown the air.
⁠Lo! sweeten’d with the summer light,
⁠The full-juiced apple, waxing over-mellow,
⁠Drops in a silent autumn night.
⁠All its allotted length of days
⁠The flower ripens in its place,
⁠Ripens and fades, and falls, and hath no toil,
⁠Fast-rooted in the fruitful soil.


⁠Hateful is the dark-blue sky,
⁠Vaulted o’er the dark-blue sea.
⁠Death is the end of life; ah, why
⁠Should life all labor be?
⁠Let us alone. Time driveth onward fast,
⁠And in a little while our lips are dumb.
⁠Let us alone. What is it that will last?
⁠All things are taken from us, and become
⁠Portions and parcels of the dreadful past.
⁠Let us alone. What pleasure can we have
⁠To war with evil? Is there any peace
⁠In ever climbing up the climbing wave?
⁠All things have rest, and ripen toward the grave
⁠In silence—ripen, fall, and cease:
⁠Give us long rest or death, dark death, or dreamful ease.


⁠How sweet it were, hearing the downward stream,
⁠With half-shut eyes ever to seem
⁠Falling asleep in a half-dream!
⁠To dream and dream, like yonder amber light,
⁠Which will not leave the myrrh-bush on the height;
⁠To hear each other’s whisper’d speech;
⁠Eating the Lotos day by day,
⁠To watch the crisping ripples on the beach,
⁠And tender curving lines of creamy spray;
⁠To lend our hearts and spirits wholly
⁠To the influence of mild-minded melancholy;
⁠To muse and brood and live again in memory,
⁠With those old faces of our infancy
⁠Heap’d over with a mound of grass,
⁠Two handfuls of white dust, shut in an urn of brass!


⁠Dear is the memory of our wedded lives,
⁠And dear the last embraces of our wives
⁠And their warm tears; but all hath suffer’d change;
⁠For surely now our household hearths are cold,
⁠Our sons inherit us, our looks are strange,
⁠And we should come like ghosts to trouble joy.
⁠Or else the island princes over-bold
⁠Have eat our substance, and the minstrel sings
⁠Before them of the ten years’ war in Troy,
⁠And our great deeds, as half-forgotten things.
⁠Is there confusion in the little isle?
⁠Let what is broken so remain.
⁠The Gods are hard to reconcile;
⁠’Tis hard to settle order once again.
⁠There is confusion worse than death,
⁠Trouble on trouble, pain on pain,
⁠Long labor unto aged breath,
⁠Sore task to hearts worn out by many wars
⁠And eyes grown dim with gazing on the pilot-stars.


⁠But, propped on beds of amaranth and moly,
⁠How sweet—while warm airs lull us, blowing lowly—
⁠With half-dropped eyelids still,
⁠Beneath a heaven dark and holy,
⁠To watch the long bright river drawing slowly
⁠His waters from the purple hill—
⁠To hear the dewy echoes calling
⁠From cave to cave thro’ the thick-twined vine—
⁠To watch the emerald-color’d water falling
⁠Thro’ many a woven acanthus-wreath divine!
⁠Only to hear and see the far-off sparkling brine,
⁠Only to hear were sweet, stretch’d out beneath the pine.


⁠The Lotos blooms below the barren peak,
⁠The Lotos blows by every winding creek;
⁠All day the wind breathes low with mellower tone;
⁠Thro’ every hollow cave and alley lone
⁠Round and round the spicy downs the yellow Lotos-dust is blown.
⁠We have had enough of action, and of motion we,
⁠Roll’d to starboard, roll’d to larboard, when the surge was seething free,
⁠Where the wallowing monster spouted his foam-fountains in the sea.
⁠Let us swear an oath, and keep it with an equal mind,
⁠In the hollow Lotos-land to live and lie reclined
⁠On the hills like Gods together, careless of mankind.
⁠For they lie beside their nectar, and the bolts are hurl’d
⁠Far below them in the valleys, and the clouds are lightly curl’d
⁠Round their golden houses, girdled with the gleaming world;
⁠Where they smile in secret, looking over wasted lands,
⁠Blight and famine, plague and earthquake, roaring deeps and fiery sands,
⁠Clanging fights, and flaming towns, and sinking ships, and praying hands.
⁠But they smile, they find a music centred in a doleful song
⁠Steaming up, a lamentation and an ancient tale of wrong,
⁠Like a tale of little meaning tho’ the words are strong;
⁠Chanted from an ill-used race of men that cleave the soil,
⁠Sow the seed, and reap the harvest with enduring toil,
⁠Storing yearly little dues of wheat, and wine and oil;
⁠Till they perish and they suffer—some, ’tis whisper’d—down in hell
⁠Suffer endless anguish, others in Elysian valleys dwell,
⁠Resting weary limbs at last on beds of asphodel.
⁠Surely, surely, slumber is more sweet than toil, the shore
⁠Than labor in the deep mid-ocean, wind and wave and oar;
⁠O, rest ye, brother mariners, we will not wander more.

This poem is in the public domain.