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."
Alfred Lord Tennyson - 1809-1892
In Memoriam, Epilogue, [O true and tried, so well and long]
O true and tried, so well and long, Demand not thou a marriage lay; In that it is thy marriage day Is music more than any song. Nor have I felt so much of bliss Since first he told me that he loved A daughter of our house; nor proved Since that dark day a day like this; Tho' I since then have number'd o'er Some thrice three years: they went and came, Remade the blood and changed the frame, And yet is love not less, but more; No longer caring to embalm In dying songs a dead regret, But like a statue solid-set, And moulded in colossal calm. Regret is dead, but love is more Than in the summers that are flown, For I myself with these have grown To something greater than before; Which makes appear the songs I made As echoes out of weaker times, As half but idle brawling rhymes, The sport of random sun and shade. But where is she, the bridal flower, That must be made a wife ere noon? She enters, glowing like the moon Of Eden on its bridal bower: On me she bends her blissful eyes And then on thee; they meet thy look And brighten like the star that shook Betwixt the palms of paradise. O when her life was yet in bud, He too foretold the perfect rose. For thee she grew, for thee she grows For ever, and as fair as good. And thou art worthy; full of power; As gentle; liberal-minded, great, Consistent; wearing all that weight Of learning lightly like a flower. But now set out: the noon is near, And I must give away the bride; She fears not, or with thee beside And me behind her, will not fear. For I that danced her on my knee, That watch'd her on her nurse's arm, That shielded all her life from harm At last must part with her to thee; Now waiting to be made a wife, Her feet, my darling, on the dead Their pensive tablets round her head, And the most living words of life Breathed in her ear. The ring is on, The 'wilt thou' answer'd, and again The 'wilt thou' ask'd, till out of twain Her sweet 'I will' has made you one. Now sign your names, which shall be read, Mute symbols of a joyful morn, By village eyes as yet unborn; The names are sign'd, and overhead Begins the clash and clang that tells The joy to every wandering breeze; The blind wall rocks, and on the trees The dead leaf trembles to the bells. O happy hour, and happier hours Await them. Many a merry face Salutes them?maidens of the place, That pelt us in the porch with flowers. O happy hour, behold the bride With him to whom her hand I gave. They leave the porch, they pass the grave That has to-day its sunny side. To-day the grave is bright for me, For them the light of life increased, Who stay to share the morning feast, Who rest to-night beside the sea. Let all my genial spirits advance To meet and greet a whiter sun; My drooping memory will not shun The foaming grape of eastern France. It circles round, and fancy plays, And hearts are warm'd and faces bloom, As drinking health to bride and groom We wish them store of happy days. Nor count me all to blame if I Conjecture of a stiller guest, Perchance, perchance, among the rest, And, tho' in silence, wishing joy. But they must go, the time draws on, And those white-favour'd horses wait; They rise, but linger; it is late; Farewell, we kiss, and they are gone. A shade falls on us like the dark From little cloudlets on the grass, But sweeps away as out we pass To range the woods, to roam the park, Discussing how their courtship grew, And talk of others that are wed, And how she look'd, and what he said, And back we come at fall of dew. Again the feast, the speech, the glee, The shade of passing thought, the wealth Of words and wit, the double health, The crowning cup, the three-times-three, And last the dance;?till I retire: Dumb is that tower which spake so loud, And high in heaven the streaming cloud, And on the downs a rising fire: And rise, O moon, from yonder down, Till over down and over dale All night the shining vapour sail And pass the silent-lighted town, The white-faced halls, the glancing rills, And catch at every mountain head, And o'er the friths that branch and spread Their sleeping silver thro' the hills; And touch with shade the bridal doors, With tender gloom the roof, the wall; And breaking let the splendour fall To spangle all the happy shores By which they rest, and ocean sounds, And, star and system rolling past, A soul shall draw from out the vast And strike his being into bounds, And, moved thro' life of lower phase, Result in man, be born and think, And act and love, a closer link Betwixt us and the crowning race Of those that, eye to eye, shall look On knowledge, under whose command Is Earth and Earth's, and in their hand Is Nature like an open book; No longer half-akin to brute, For all we thought and loved and did, And hoped, and suffer'd, is but seed Of what in them is flower and fruit; Whereof the man, that with me trod This planet, was a noble type Appearing ere the times were ripe, That friend of mine who lives in God, That God, which ever lives and loves, One God, one law, one element, And one far-off divine event, To which the whole creation moves.