Poems by Alfred Lord Tennyson

The Lady of Shalott

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; 5 
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, 10 
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, 15 
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 20 
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? 25 
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 30 
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 35 
Lady of Shalott.' 

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 40 
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. 45 

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: 50 
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, 55 
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 60 
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, 65 
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; 70 
'I am half sick of shadows,' said 
The Lady of Shalott. 

A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,

He rode between the barley-sheaves, 
The sun came dazzling thro' the leaves, 75 
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, 80 
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 85 
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. 90 

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. 95 
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; 100 
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 105 
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, 110 
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; 115 
'The curse is come upon me!' cried 
The Lady of Shalott. 

In the stormy east-wind straining,

The pale yellow woods were waning, 
The broad stream in his banks complaining, 120 
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 125 
The Lady of Shalott. 

And down the river's dim expanse! 
Like some bold seer in a trance, 
Seeing all his own mischance! 
With a glassy countenance 130 
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. 135 

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: 140 
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, 145 
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 150 
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, 155 
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, 160 
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; 165 
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, 170 
The Lady of Shalott.' 

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, 5 
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: 10 
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, 15 
With her laughter or her sighs: 
And I would lie so light, so light, 
I scarce should be unclasp'd at night. 

Song of the Lotos-Eaters

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, 5 
Than tired eyelids upon tired 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, 10 
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, 15 
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, 20 
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, 25 
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 30 
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, 35 
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. 40 
Death is the end of life; ah, why 
Should life all labour 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? 45 
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? 50 
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 55 
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, 60 
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, 65 
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 70 
And their warm tears: but all hath suffer'd change; 
For surely now our household hearts 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 75 
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. 80 
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 labour unto ag┬d breath, 85 
Sore task to hearts worn out with many wars 
And eyes grown dim with gazing on the pilot-stars. 

But, propt on beds of amaranth and moly, 
How sweet (while warm airs lull us, blowing lowly) 
With half-dropt eyelids still, 90 
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-twin┬d vine! 95 
To watch the emerald-colour'd water falling 
Thro' many a wov'n 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: 100 
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, 105 
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 relined 
On the hills like Gods together, careless of mankind. 110 
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 the smile in secret, looking over wasted lands, 
Blight and famine, plague and earthquake, roaring deeps and fiery sands, 115 
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, 120 
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. 125 
Surely, surely, slumber is more sweet than toil, the shore 
Than labour in the deep mid-ocean, wind and wave and oar; 
O rest ye, brother mariners, we will not wander more. 

St. Agnes' Eve

DEEP on the convent-roof the snows 
Are sparkling to the moon: 
My breath to heaven like vapour goes: 
May my soul follow soon! 
The shadows of the convent-towers 5 
Slant down the snowy sward, 
Still creeping with the creeping hours 
That lead me to my Lord: 
Make Thou my spirit pure and clear 
As are the frosty skies, 10 
Or this first snowdrop of the year 
That in my bosom lies. 

As these white robes are soil'd and dark, 
To yonder shining ground; 
As this pale taper's earthly spark, 15 
To yonder argent round; 
So shows my soul before the Lamb, 
My spirit before Thee; 
So in mine earthly house I am, 
To that I hope to be. 20 
Break up the heavens, O Lord! and far, 
Thro' all yon starlight keen, 
Draw me, thy bride, a glittering star, 
In raiment white and clean. 

He lifts me to the golden doors; 25 
The flashes come and go; 
All heaven bursts her starry floors, 
And strows her lights below, 
And deepens on and up! the gates 
Roll back, and far within 30 
For me the Heavenly Bridegroom waits, 
To make me pure of sin. 
The sabbaths of Eternity, 
One sabbath deep and wide! 
A light upon the shining sea! 35 
The Bridegroom with his bride! 

Blow Bugle blow

THE splendour falls on castle walls 
And snowy summits old in story: 
The long light shakes across the lakes  
And the wild cataract leaps in glory. 
Blow bugle blow set the wild echoes flying 5 
Blow bugle; answer echoes dying dying dying. 

O hark O hear! how thin and clear  
And thinner clearer farther going! 
O sweet and far from cliff and scar 
The horns of Elfland faintly blowing! 10 
Blow let us hear the purple glens replying: 
Blow bugle; answer echoes dying dying dying. 

O love they die in yon rich sky  
They faint on hill or field or river: 
Our echoes roll from soul to soul 15 
And grow for ever and for ever. 
Blow bugle blow set the wild echoes flying  
And answer echoes answer dying dying dying.

Summer Night

NOW sleeps the crimson petal, now the white; 
Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk; 
Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font: 
The firefly wakens: waken thou with me. 

Now droops the milk-white peacock like a ghost, 5 
And like a ghost she glimmers on to me. 

Now lies the Earth all Dana? to the stars, 
And all thy heart lies open unto me. 

Now slides the silent meteor on, and leaves 
A shining furrow, as thy thoughts in me. 10 

Now folds the lily all her sweetness up, 
And slips into the bosom of the lake: 
So fold thyself, my dearest, thou, and slip 
Into my bosom and be lost in me. 

Come down O Maid

COME down, O maid, from yonder mountain height: 
What pleasure lives in height (the shepherd sang), 
In height and cold, the splendour of the hills? 
But cease to move so near the Heavens, and cease 
To glide a sunbeam by the blasted Pine, 5 
To sit a star upon the sparkling spire; 
And come, for Love is of the valley, come, 
For Love is of the valley, come thou down 
And find him; by the happy threshold, he, 
Or hand in hand with Plenty in the maize, 10 
Or red with spirted purple of the vats, 
Or foxlike in the vine; nor cares to walk 
With Death and Morning on the silver horns, 
Nor wilt thou snare him in the white ravine, 
Nor find him dropt upon the firths of ice, 15 
That huddling slant in furrow-cloven falls 
To roll the torrent out of dusky doors: 
But follow; let the torrent dance thee down 
To find him in the valley; let the wild 
Lean-headed Eagles yelp alone, and leave 20 
The monstrous ledges there to slope, and spill 
Their thousand wreaths of dangling water-smoke, 
That like a broken purpose waste in air: 
So waste not thou; but come; for all the vales 
Await thee; azure pillars of the hearth 25 
Arise to thee; the children call, and I 
Thy shepherd pipe, and sweet is every sound, 
Sweeter thy voice, but every sound is sweet; 
Myriads of rivulets hurrying thro' the lawn, 
The moan of doves in immemorial elms, 30 
And murmuring of innumerable bees. 

From 'In Memoriam' 

FAIR ship, that from the Italian shore

Sailest the placid ocean-plains 
With my lost Arthur's loved remains, 
Spread thy full wings, and waft him o'er. 

So draw him home to those that mourn 5 
In vain; a favourable speed 
Ruffle thy mirror'd mast, and lead 
Thro' prosperous floods his holy urn. 

All night no ruder air perplex 
Thy sliding keel, till Phosphor, bright 10 
As our pure love, thro' early light 
Shall glimmer on the dewy decks. 

Sphere all your lights around, above; 
Sleep, gentle heavens, before the prow; 
Sleep, gentle winds, as he sleeps now, 15 
My friend, the brother of my love; 

My Arthur, whom I shall not see 
Till all my widow'd race be run; 
Dear as the mother to the son, 
More than my brothers are to me. 20 

I hear the noise about thy keel;

I hear the bell struck in the night; 
I see the cabin-window bright; 
I see the sailor at the wheel. 

Thou bring'st the sailor to his wife, 25 
And travell'd men from foreign lands; 
And letters unto trembling hands; 
And, thy dark freight, a vanish'd life. 

So bring him: we have idle dreams: 
This look of quiet flatters thus 30 
Our home-bred fancies: O to us, 
The fools of habit, sweeter seems 

To rest beneath the clover sod, 
That takes the sunshine and the rains, 
Or where the kneeling hamlet drains 35 
The chalice of the grapes of God; 

Than if with thee the roaring wells 
Should gulf him fathom-deep in brine; 
And hands so often clasp'd in mine, 
Should toss with tangle and with shells. 40 

Calm is the morn without a sound,

Calm as to suit a calmer grief, 
And only thro' the faded leaf 
The chestnut pattering to the ground: 

Calm and deep peace on this high wold, 45 
And on these dews that drench the furze, 
And all the silvery gossamers 
That twinkle into green and gold: 

Calm and still light on yon great plain 
That sweeps with all its autumn bowers, 50 
And crowded farms and lessening towers, 
To mingle with the bounding main: 

Calm and deep peace in this wide air, 
These leaves that redden to the fall; 
And in my heart, if calm at all, 55 
If any calm, a calm despair: 

Calm on the seas, and silver sleep, 
And waves that sway themselves in rest, 
And dead calm in that noble breast 
Which heaves but with the heaving deep. 60 

To-night the winds begin to rise

And roar from yonder dropping day: 
The last red leaf is whirl'd away, 
The rooks are blown about the skies; 

The forest crack'd, the waters curl'd, 65 
The cattle huddled on the lea; 
And wildly dash'd on tower and tree 
The sunbeam strikes along the world: 

And but for fancies, which aver 
That all thy motions gently pass 70 
Athwart a plane of molten glass, 
I scarce could brook the strain and stir 

That makes the barren branches loud; 
And but for fear it is not so, 
The wild unrest that lives in woe 75 
Would dote and pore on yonder cloud 

That rises upward always higher, 
And onward drags a labouring breast, 
And topples round the dreary west, 
A looming bastion fringed with fire. 80 

Thou comest, much wept for: such a breeze

Compell'd thy canvas, and my prayer 
Was as the whisper of an air 
To breathe thee over lonely seas. 

For I in spirit saw thee move 85 
Thro' circles of the bounding sky, 
Week after week: the days go by: 
Come quick, thou bringest all I love. 

Henceforth, wherever thou mayst roam 
My blessing, like a line of light, 90 
Is on the waters day and night, 
And like a beacon guards thee home. 

So may whatever tempest mars 
Mid-ocean, spare thee, sacred bark; 
And balmy drops in summer dark 95 
Slide from the bosom of the stars. 

So kind an office hath been done, 
Such precious relics brought by thee; 
The dust of him I shall not see 
Till all my widow'd race be run. 100 

Now, sometimes in my sorrow shut,

Or breaking into song by fits, 
Alone, alone, to where he sits, 
The Shadow cloak'd from head to foot, 

Who keeps the keys of all the creeds, 105 
I wander, often falling lame, 
And looking back to whence I came, 
Or on to where the pathway leads; 

And crying, How changed from where it ran 
Thro' lands where not a leaf was dumb; 110 
But all the lavish hills would hum 
The murmur of a happy Pan: 

When each by turns was guide to each, 
And Fancy light from Fancy caught, 
And Thought leapt out to wed with Thought 115 
Ere Thought could wed itself with Speech; 

And all we met was fair and good, 
And all was good that Time could bring, 
And all the secret of the Spring 
Moved in the chambers of the blood; 120 

And many an old philosophy 
On Argive heights divinely sang, 
And round us all the thicket rang 
To many a flute of Arcady. 

How fares it with the happy dead?
For here the man is more and more; 
But he forgets the days before 
God shut the doorways of his head. 

The days have vanish'd, tone and tint, 
And yet perhaps the hoarding sense 130 
Gives out at times (he knows not whence) 
A little flash, a mystic hint; 

And in the long harmonious years 
(If Death so taste Lethean springs) 
May some dim touch of earthly things 135 
Surprise thee ranging with thy peers. 

If such a dreamy touch should fall, 
O turn thee round, resolve the doubt; 
My guardian angel will speak out 
In that high place, and tell thee all. 140 

The wish, that of the living whole

No life may fail beyond the grave, 
Derives it not from what we have 
The likest God within the soul? 

Are God and Nature then at strife, 145 
That Nature lends such evil dreams? 
So careful of the type she seems, 
So careless of the single life; 

That I, considering everywhere 
Her secret meaning in her deeds, 150 
And finding that of fifty seeds 
She often brings but one to bear, 

I falter where I firmly trod, 
And falling with my weight of cares 
Upon the great world's altar-stairs 155 
That slope thro' darkness up to God, 

I stretch lame hands of faith, and grope, 
And gather dust and chaff, and call 
To what I feel is Lord of all, 
And faintly trust the larger hope. 160 

'So careful of the type?' but no.

From scarp┬d cliff and quarried stone 
She cries, 'A thousand types are gone: 
I care for nothing, all shall go. 

Thou makest thine appeal to me: 165 
I bring to life, I bring to death: 
The spirit does but mean the breath: 
I know no more.' And he, shall he, 

Man, her last work, who seem'd so fair, 
Such splendid purpose in his eyes, 170 
Who roll'd the psalm to wintry skies, 
Who built him fanes of fruitless prayer, 

Who trusted God was love indeed 
And love Creation's final law! 
Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw 175 
With ravine, shriek'd against his creed! 

Who loved, who suffer'd countless ills, 
Who battled for the True, the Just, 
Be blown about the desert dust, 
Or seal'd within the iron hills? 180 

No more? A monster then, a dream, 
A discord. Dragons of the prime, 
That tare each other in their slime, 
Were mellow music match'd with him. 

O life as futile, then, as frail! 185 
O for thy voice to soothe and bless! 
What hope of answer, or redress? 
Behind the veil, behind the veil. 

Unwatch'd, the garden bough shall sway,

The tender blossom flutter down; 190 
Unloved, that beech will gather brown, 
This maple burn itself away; 

Unloved, the sunflower, shining fair, 
Ray round with flames her disk of seed, 
And many a rose-carnation feed 195 
With summer spice the humming air; 

Unloved, by many a sandy bar, 
The brook shall babble down the plain, 
At noon or when the lesser wain 
Is twisting round the polar star; 200 

Uncared for, gird the windy grove, 
And flood the haunts of hern and crake; 
Or into silver arrows break 
The sailing moon in creek and cove; 

Till from the garden and the wild 205 
A fresh association blow, 
And year by year the landscape grow 
Familiar to the stranger's child; 

As year by year the labourer tills 
His wonted glebe, or lops the glades; 210 
And year by year our memory fades 
From all the circle of the hills. 

Now fades the last long streak of snow,

Now burgeons every maze of quick 
About the flowering squares, and thick 215 
By ashen roots the violets blow. 

Now rings the woodland loud and long, 
The distance takes a lovelier hue, 
And drown'd in yonder living blue 
The lark becomes a sightless song. 220 

Now dance the lights on lawn and lea, 
The flocks are whiter down the vale, 
And milkier every milky sail 
On winding stream or distant sea; 

Where now the seamew pipes, or dives 225 
In yonder greening gleam, and fly 
The happy birds, that change their sky 
To build and brood; that live their lives 

From land to land; and in my breast 
Spring wakens too; and my regret 230 
Becomes an April violet, 
And buds and blossoms like the rest. 

Love is and was my Lord and King,

And in his presence I attend 
To hear the tidings of my friend, 235 
Which every hour his couriers bring. 

Love is and was my King and Lord, 
And will be, tho' as yet I keep 
Within his court on earth, and sleep 
Encompass'd by his faithful guard, 240 

And hear at times a sentinel 
Who moves about from place to place, 
And whispers to the worlds of space, 
In the deep night, that all is well. 


COME into the garden, Maud, 
For the black bat, Night, has flown, 
Come into the garden, Maud, 
I am here at the gate alone; 
And the woodbine spices are wafted abroad, 5 
And the musk of the roses blown. 

For a breeze of morning moves, 
And the planet of Love is on high, 
Beginning to faint in the light that she loves 
On a bed of daffodil sky, 10 
To faint in the light of the sun she loves, 
To faint in his light, and to die. 

All night have the roses heard 
The flute, violin, bassoon; 
All night has the casement jessamine stirr'd 15 
To the dancers dancing in tune; 
Till a silence fell with the waking bird, 
And a hush with the setting moon. 

I said to the lily, 'There is but one 
With whom she has heart to be gay. 20 
When will the dancers leave her alone? 
She is weary of dance and play.' 
Now half to the setting moon are gone, 
And half to the rising day; 
Low on the sand and loud on the stone 25 
The last wheel echoes away. 

I said to the rose, 'The brief night goes 
In babble and revel and wine. 
O young lord-lover, what sighs are those 
For one that will never be thine? 30 
But mine, but mine,' so I sware to the rose, 
'For ever and ever, mine.' 

And the soul of the rose went into my blood, 
As the music clash'd in the hall; 
And long by the garden lake I stood, 35 
For I heard your rivulet fall 
From the lake to the meadow and on to the wood, 
Our wood, that is dearer than all; 

From the meadow your walks have left so sweet 
That whenever a March-wind sighs 40 
He sets the jewel-print of your feet 
In violets blue as your eyes, 
To the woody hollows in which we meet 
And the valleys of Paradise. 

The slender acacia would not shake 45 
One long milk-bloom on the tree; 
The white lake-blossom fell into the lake, 
As the pimpernel dozed on the lea; 
But the rose was awake all night for your sake, 
Knowing your promise to me; 50 
The lilies and roses were all awake, 
They sigh'd for the dawn and thee. 

Queen rose of the rosebud garden of girls, 
Come hither, the dances are done, 
In gloss of satin and glimmer of pearls, 55 
Queen lily and rose in one; 
Shine out, little head, sunning over with curls. 
To the flowers, and be their sun. 

There has fallen a splendid tear 
From the passion-flower at the gate. 60 
She is coming, my dove, my dear; 
She is coming, my life, my fate; 
The red rose cries, 'She is near, she is near;' 
And the white rose weeps, 'She is late;' 
The larkspur listens, 'I hear, I hear;' 65 
And the lily whispers, 'I wait.' 

She is coming, my own, my sweet; 
Were it ever so airy a tread, 
My heart would hear her and beat, 
Were it earth in an earthy bed; 70 
My dust would hear her and beat, 
Had I lain for a century dead; 
Would start and tremble under her feet, 
And blossom in purple and red. 

O that 'twere possible

O THAT 'twere possible 
After long grief and pain 
To find the arms of my true love 
Round me once again!... 

A shadow flits before me 5 
Not thou but like to thee: 
Ah Christ! that it were possible 
For one short hour to see 
The souls we loved that they might tell us 
What and where they be! 10


WITH BLACKEST moss the flower-plots 
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 the bats, 
When thickest dark did trance the sky, 
She drew her casement-curtain by, 
And glanced athwart the glooming flats. 
She only said, "My life 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 seem'd 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 gnarled 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 shadow 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 peer'd about. 
Old faces glimmer'd thro' the doors, 
Old footsteps trod the upper floors, 
Old voices call'd 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 loath'd 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!"

Mariana In The South 

With one black shadow at its feet,
The house thro' all the level shines,
Close-latticed to the brooding heat,
And silent in its dusty vines:
A faint-blue ridge upon the right,
An empty river-bed before,
And shallows on a distant shore,
In glaring sand and inlets bright.
But "Aye Mary," made she moan,
And "Aye Mary," night and morn,
And "Ah," she sang, "to be all alone,
To live forgotten, and love forlorn." 

She, as her carol sadder grew,
From brow and bosom slowly down
Thro' rosy taper fingers drew
Her streaming curls of deepest brown
To left and right, and made appear,
Still-lighted in a secret shrine,
Her melancholy eyes divine,
The home of woe without a tear.
And "Aye Mary," was her moan,
"Madonna, sad is night and morn;"
And "Ah," she sang, "to be all alone,
To live forgotten, and love forlorn." 

Till all the crimson changed, and past
Into deep orange o'er the sea,
Low on her knees herself she cast,
Before Our Lady murmur'd she:
Complaining, "Mother, give me grace
To help me of my weary load."
And on the liquid mirror glow'd
The clear perfection of her face.
"Is this the form," she made her moan,
"That won his praises night and morn?"
And "Ah," she said, "but I wake alone,
I sleep forgotten, I wake forlorn." 

Nor bird would sing, nor lamb would bleat,
Nor any cloud would cross the vault,
But day increased from heat to heat,
On stony drought and steaming salt;
Till now at noon she slept again,
And seem'd knee-deep in mountain grass,
And heard her native breezes pass,
And runlets babbling down the glen.
She breathed in sleep a lower moan,
And murmuring, as at night and morn
She thought, "My spirit is here alone,
Walks forgotten, and is forlorn." 

Dreaming, she knew it was a dream:
She felt he was and was not there.
She woke: the babble of the stream
Fell, and, without, the steady glare
Shrank one sick willow sere and small.
The river-bed was dusty-white;
And all the furnace of the light
Struck up against the blinding wall.
She whisper'd, with a stifled moan
More inward than at night or morn,
"Sweet Mother, let me not here alone
Live forgotten and die forlorn." 

And, rising, from her bosom drew
Old letters, breathing of her worth,
For "Love", they said, "must needs be true,
To what is loveliest upon earth."
An image seem'd to pass the door,
To look at her with slight, and say,
"But now thy beauty flows away,
So be alone for evermore."
"O cruel heart," she changed her tone,
"And cruel love, whose end is scorn,
Is this the end to be left alone,
To live forgotten, and die forlorn?" 

But sometimes in the falling day
An image seem'd to pass the door,
To look into her eyes and say,
"But thou shalt be alone no more."
And flaming downward over all
From heat to heat the day decreased,
And slowly rounded to the east
The one black shadow from the wall.
"The day to night," she made her moan,
"The day to night, the night to morn,
And day and night I am left alone
To live forgotten, and love forlorn." 

At eve a dry cicala sung,
There came a sound as of the sea;
Backward the lattice-blind she flung,
And lean'd upon the balcony.
There all in spaces rosy-bright
Large Hesper glitter'd on her tears,
And deepening thro' the silent spheres
Heaven over Heaven rose the night.
And weeping then she made her moan,
"The night comes on that knows not morn,
When I shall cease to be all alone,
To live forgotten, and love forlorn."

The Kraken 

Below the thunders of the upper deep;
Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
About his shadowy sides: above him swell
Huge sponges of millenial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
Unnumber'd and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages and will lie
Battening upon huge seaworms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.

Lady Clare 

IT was the time when lilies blow, 
And clouds are highest up in air, 
Lord Ronald brought a lily-white doe 
To give his cousin, Lady Clare. 

I trow they did not part in scorn- 
Lovers long-betroth'd were they: 
They too will wed the morrow morn: 
God's blessing on the day! 

'He does not love me for my birth, 
Nor for my lands so broad and fair; 
He loves me for my own true worth, 
And that is well,' said Lady Clare. 

In there came old Alice the nurse, 
Said, 'Who was this that went from thee?' 
'It was my cousin,' said Lady Clare, 
'To-morrow he weds vith me.' 

'O God be thank'd!' said Alice the nurse, 
' That all comes round so just and fair: 
Lord Ronald is heir of all your lands, 
And you are not the Lady Clare.' 

'Are ye out of your mind, my nurse, my nurse?' 
Said Lady Clare, 'that ye speak so wild?' 
'As God's above,' said Alice the nurse, 
' I speak the truth: you are my child. 

'The old Earl's daughter died at my breast; 
I speak the truth, as I live by bread! 
I buried her like my own sweet child, 
And put my child in her stead.' 

'Falsely, falsely have ye done, 
O mother,' she said, 'if this be true, 
To keep the best man under the sun 
So many years from his due.' 

'Nay now, my child,' said Alice the nurse, 
'But keep the secret for your life, 
And all you have will be Lord Ronald's, 
When you are man and wife.' 

' If I'm a beggar born,' she said, 
'I will speak out, for I dare not lie. 
Pull off, pull off, the brooch of gold, 
And fling the diamond necklace by.' 

'Nay now, my child,' said Alice the nurse, 
'But keep the secret all ye can.' 
She said, 'Not so: but I will know 
If there be any faith in man.' 

'Nay now, what faith?' said Alice the nurse, 
'The man will cleave unto his right.' 
'And he shall have it,' the lady replied, 
'Tho' I should die to-night.' 

'Yet give one kiss to your mother dear ! 
Alas, my child, I sinn'd for thee.' 
'O mother, mother, mother,' she said, 
'So strange it seems to me. 

'Yet here's a kiss for my mother dear, 
My mother dear, if this be so, 
And lay your hand upon my head, 
And bless me, mother, ere I go.' 

She clad herself in a russet gown, 
She was no longer Lady Clare: 
She went by dale, and she went by down, 
With a single rose in her hair. 

The lily-white doe Lord Ronald had brought 
Leapt up from where she lay, 
Dropt her head in the maiden's hand, 
And follow'd her all the way. 

Down stept Lord Ronald from his tower: 
'O Lady Clare, you shame your worth! 
Why come you drest like a village maid, 
That are the flower of the earth?' 

'If I come drest like a village maid, 
I am but as my fortunes are: 
I am a beggar born,' she said, 
'And not the Lady Clare.' 

'Play me no tricks,' said Lord Ronald, 
'For I am yours in word and in deed. 
Play me no tricks,' said Lord Ronald, 
'Your riddle is hard to read.' 

O and proudly stood she up! 
Her heart within her did not fail: 
She look'd into Lord Ronald's eyes, 
And told him all her nurse's tale. 

He laugh'd a laugh of merry scorn: 
He turn'd and kiss'd her where she stood: 
'If you are not the heiress born, 
And I,' said he, 'the next in blood-- 

'If you are not the heiress born, 
And I,' said he, 'the lawful heir, 
We two will wed to-morrow morn, 
And you shall still be Lady Clare.'