Table of Contents
Harvard Classics, Volume XLII
Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809—1892)
624. The Lady of Shalott
625. Sweet and Low
626. Tears, Idle Tears
627. Blow, Bugle, Blow
628. Home They Brought Her Warrior Dead
629. Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal
630. O Swallow, Swallow
631. Break, Break, Break
632. In the Valley of Cauteretz
633. Vivien’s Song
634. Enid’s Song
635. Ulysses
636. Locksley Hall
637. Morte d’Arthur
638. The Lotos-Eaters
639. You Ask Me, Why
640. Love Thou Thy Land
641. Sir Galahad
642. The Higher Pantheism
643. Flower in the Crannied Wall
644. Wages
645. The Charge of the Light Brigade
646. The Revenge
647. Rizpah
648. To Virgil
649. Maud
650. Crossing the Bar
651. Sonnet
Richard Monckton Milnes, Lord Houghton (1809—1885)
652. The End of the Play
William Makepeace Thackeray (1811—1863)
Charles Kingsley (1819—1875)
654. The Sands of Dee
655. Young and Old
656. Ode to the North-east Wind
657. The Canadian Boat Song
J. Wilson (?) (19th century)
Robert Browning (1812—1889)
658. Prospice
659. ‘How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix’ [16—]
660. The Lost Leader
661. Home-thoughts, from Abroad
662. Home-thoughts, from the Sea
663. Parting at Morning
664. The Lost Mistress
665. The Last Ride Together
666. Pippa’s Song
667. You’ll Love Me Yet
668. My Last Duchess
669. The Bishop Orders His Tomb at Saint Praxed’s Church
670. Evelyn Hope
671. A Toccata of Galuppi’s
672. Memorabilia
673. The Patriot
674. A Grammarian’s Funeral
675. Andrea Del Sarto
676. One Word More
677. Abt Vogler
678. Rabbi Ben Ezra
679. Never the Time and the Place
680. Dedication of the Ring and the Book
681. Epilogue
Emily Bronte (1818—1848)
682. Last Lines
683. The Old Stoic
684. And Shall Trelawny Die?
Robert Stephen Hawker (1804—1875)
685. Departure
Coventry Patmore (1823—1896)
William (Johnson) Cory (1823—1892)
686. Heraclitus
687. Mimnermus in Church
688. The Ballad of Keith of Ravelston
Sydney Dobell (1824—1874)
689. The Fairies
William Allingham (1824—1889)
George Mac Donald (1824—1905)
690. That Holy Thing
691. Baby
692. The Last Wish
Edward, Earl of Lytton (1831—1892)
Arthur Hugh Clough (1819—1861)
693. Say Not the Struggle Naught Availeth
694. The Stream of Life
695. In a London Square
696. Qua Cursum Ventus
697. Where Lies the Land?
Matthew Arnold (1822—1888)
698. The Forsaken Merman
699. The Song of Callicles
700. To Marguerite
701. Requiescat
702. Shakespeare
703. Rugby Chapel
704. Memorial Verses
705. Dover Beach
706. The Better Part
707. Worldly Place
708. The Last Word
709. Love in the Valley
George Meredith (1828—1909)
710. Barbara
Alexander Smith (1829—1867)
711. The Ivy Green
Charles Dickens (1812—1870)
712. My Garden
Thomas Edward Brown (1830—1897)
713. Gifts
James Thomson (B. V.) (1834—1882)
Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828—1882)
714. The Blessèd Damozel
715. The King’s Tragedy
716. Lovesight
717. Heart’s Hope
718. Genius in Beauty
719. Silent Noon
720. Love-Sweetness
721. Heart’s Compass
722. Her Gifts
Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830—1894)
723. Song
724. Remember
725. Up-Hill
726. In the Round Tower at Jhansi
William Morris (1834—1896)
727. The Defence of Guenevere
728. Prologue of the Earthly Paradise
729. The Nymph’s Song to Hylas
730. The Day is Coming
731. The Days That Were
732. A White Rose
John Boyle O’Reilly (1844—1890)
733. Ode
Arthur William Edgar O’Shaughnessy (1844—1881)
734. Liz
Robert Williams Buchanan (1841—1901)
Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837—1909)
735. Chorus from ‘Atalanta’
736. Itylus
737. The Garden of Proserpine
738. A Match
739. A Forsaken Garden
William Ernest Henley (1849—1903)
740. Margaritae Sorori
741. Invictus
742. England, My England
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850—1894)
743. In the Highlands
744. The Celestial Surgeon
745. Requiem
William Cullen Bryant (1794—1878)
747. Robert of Lincoln
748. Song of Marion’s Men
749. June
750. The Past
751. To a Waterfowl
752. The Death of Lincoln
Edgar Allan Poe (1809—1849)
753. Lenore
754. The Haunted Palace
755. To Helen
756. The Raven
757. Ulalume
758. The Bells
759. To My Mother
760. For Annie
761. Annabel Lee
762. The Conqueror Worm
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803—1882)
763. Good-Bye
764. The Apology
765. Brahma
766. Days
767. Give All to Love
768. Concord Hymn
769. The Humble-Bee
770. The Problem
771. Woodnotes
772. Boston Hymn
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807—1882)
773. A Psalm of Life
774. The Light of Stars
775. Hymn to the Night
776. Footsteps of Angels
777. The Wreck of the Hesperus
778. The Village Blacksmith
779. Serenade
780. The Rainy Day
781. The Day is Done
782. The Bridge
783. Resignation
784. Children
785. The Building of the Ship
786. My Lost Youth
787. The Fiftieth Birthday of Agassiz
788. The Children’s Hour
789. Paul Revere’s Ride
790. Killed at the Ford
791. Evangeline
John Greenleaf Whittier (1807—1892)
792. The Eternal Goodness
793. Randolph of Roanoke
794. Massachusetts to Virginia
796. Maud Muller
797. The Barefoot Boy
798. Skipper Ireson’s Ride
799. The Pipes at Lucknow
800. Barbara Frietchie
Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809—1894)
801. The Chambered Nautilus
802. Old Ironsides
803. The Last Leaf
804. Contentment
James Russell Lowell (1819—1891)
805. The Present Crisis
806. The Pious Editor’s Creed
807. The Courtin’
808. Ode Recited at the Harvard Commemoration
Sidney Lanier (1842—1881)
809. The Marshes of Glynn
810. The Revenge of Hamish
811. How Love Looked for Hell
812. The Reveille
Bret Harte (1839—1902)
Walt Whitman (1819—1892)
813. One’s-Self I Sing
814. Beat! Beat! Drums!
815. Vigil Strange I Kept on the Field One Night
816. Pioneers! O Pioneers!
817. Ethiopia Saluting the Colors
818. The Wound-Dresser
819. Give Me the Splendid Silent Sun
820. O Captain! My Captain!
821. When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d
822. Prayer of Columbus
823. The Last Invocation

Harvard Classics, Volume XLII


English Poetry III:
From Tennyson to Whitman.



Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809—1892) 

624. The Lady of Shalott


Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809—1892)




  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.’




  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.




  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.




  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 seer 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.’


625. Sweet and Low


Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809—1892)


  SWEET and low, sweet and low,
  Wind of the western sea,
  Low, low, breathe and blow,
  Wind of the western sea!
  Over the rolling waters go,
  Come from the dying moon, and blow,
  Blow him again to me;
  While my little one, while my pretty one, sleeps.


  Sleep and rest, sleep and rest,
  Father will come to thee soon;
  Rest, rest, on mother’s breast,
  Father will come to thee soon;
  Father will come to his babe in the nest,
  Silver sails all out of the west
  Under the silver moon:
  Sleep, my little one, sleep, my pretty one, sleep.


626. Tears, Idle Tears


Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809—1892)


  TEARS, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
  Tears from the depth of some divine despair
  Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
  In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,
  And thinking of the days that are no more.


  Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,
  That brings our friends up from the underworld,
  Sad as the last which reddens over one
  That sinks with all we love below the verge;
  So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.


  Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns
  The earliest pipe of half-awakened birds
  To dying ears, when unto dying eyes
  The casement slowly grows a glimmering square;
  So sad, so strange, the days that are no more.


  Dear as remembered kisses after death,
  And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feigned
  On lips that are for others; deep as love,
  Deep as first love, and wild with all regret;
  O Death in Life, the days that are no more.


627. Blow, Bugle, Blow


Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809—1892)


  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,
  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!
  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,
  And grow for ever and for ever.
  Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
  And answer, echoes, answer, dying, dying, dying.


628. Home They Brought Her Warrior Dead


Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809—1892)


  HOME they brought her warrior dead:
  She nor swooned, nor uttered cry:
  All her maidens, watching, said,
  ‘She must weep or she will die.’


  Then they praised him, soft and low,
  Called him worthy to be loved,
  Truest friend and noblest foe;
  Yet she neither spoke nor moved.


  Stole a maiden from her place,
  Lightly to the warrior stepped,
  Took the face-cloth from the face;
  Yet she neither moved nor wept.


  Rose a nurse of ninety years,
  Set his child upon her knee—
  Like summer tempest came her tears—
  ‘Sweet my child, I live for thee.’


629. Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal


Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809—1892)


  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 fire-fly wakens: waken thou with me.


  Now droops the milkwhite peacock like a ghost,
  And like a ghost she glimmers on to me.


  Now lies the Earth all Danaë 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.


  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.


630. O Swallow, Swallow


Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809—1892)


  O SWALLOW, Swallow, flying, flying South,
  Fly to her, and fall upon her gilded eaves,
  And tell her, tell her, what I tell to thee.


  O tell her, Swallow, thou that knowest each,
  That bright and fierce and fickle is the South,
  And dark and true and tender is the North.


  O Swallow, Swallow, if I could follow, and light
  Upon her lattice, I would pipe and trill,
  And cheep and twitter twenty million loves.


  O were I thou that she might take me in,
  And lay me on her bosom, and her heart
  Would rock the snowy cradle till I died.


  Why lingereth she to clothe her heart with love,
  Delaying as the tender ash delays
  To clothe herself, when all the woods are green?


  O tell her, Swallow, that thy brood is flown:
  Say to her, I do but wanton in the South,
  But in the North long since my nest is made.


  O tell her, brief is life but love is long,
  And brief the sun of summer in the North,
  And brief the moon of beauty in the South.


  O Swallow, flying from the golden woods,
  Fly to her, and pipe and woo her, and make her mine,
  And tell her, tell her, that I follow thee.


631. Break, Break, Break


Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809—1892)


  BREAK, break, break,
  On thy cold grey stones, O Sea!
  And I would that my tongue could utter
  The thoughts that arise in me.


  O well for the fisherman’s boy,
  That he shouts with his sister at play!
  O well for the sailor lad,
  That he sings in his boat on the bay!


  And the stately ships go on
  To their haven under the hill;
  But O for the touch of a vanished hand,
  And the sound of a voice that is still!


  Break, break, break,
  At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!
  But the tender grace of a day that is dead
  Will never come back to me.


632. In the Valley of Cauteretz


Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809—1892)


  ALL along the valley, stream that flashest white,
  Deepening thy voice with the deepening of the night,
  All along the valley, where thy waters flow,
  I walked with one I loved two and thirty years ago.
  All along the valley while I walked to-day,
  The two and thirty years were a mist that rolls away;
  For all along the valley, down thy rocky bed,
  Thy living voice to me was as the voice of the dead,
  And all along the valley, by rock and cave and tree,
  The voice of the dead was a living voice to me.


633. Vivien’s Song


Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809—1892)


  ‘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’.


634. Enid’s Song


Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809—1892)


  TURN, Fortune, turn thy wheel, and lower the proud;
  Turn thy wild wheel thro’ sunshine, storm, and cloud;
  Thy wheel and thee we neither love nor hate.


  Turn, Fortune, turn thy wheel with smile or frown;
  With that wild wheel we go not up or down;
  Our hoard is little, but our hearts are great.


  Smile and we smile, the lords of many lands;
  Frown and we smile, the lords of our own hands;
  For man is man and master of his fate.


  Turn, turn thy wheel above the staring crowd;
  Thy wheel and thou are shadows in the cloud;
  Thy wheel and thee we neither love nor hate.


635. Ulysses


Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809—1892)


  IT little profits that an idle king,
  By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
  Match’d with an aged wife, I mete and dole
  Unequal laws unto a savage race,
  That hoard and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
  I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
  Life to the lees: all times I have enjoy’d
  Greatly, have suffer’d greatly, both with those
  That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
  Thro’ scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
  Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;
  For always roaming with a hungry heart
  Much have I seen and known; cities of men
  And manners, climates, councils, governments,
  Myself not least, but honour’d of them all;
  And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
  Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
  I am a part of all that I have met;
  Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
  Gleams that untravell’d world, whose margin fades
  For ever and for ever when I move.
  How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
  To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!
  As tho’ to breathe were life. Life piled on life
  Were all too little, and of one to me
  Little remains: but every hour is saved
  From that eternal silence, something more,
  A bringer of new things; and vile it were
  For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
  And this gray spirit yearning in desire
  To follow knowledge, like a sinking star,
  Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.
  This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
  To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle—
  Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
  This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
  A rugged people, and thro’ soft degrees
  Subdue them to the useful and the good.
  Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
  Of common duties, decent not to fail
  In offices of tenderness, and pay
  Meet adoration to my household gods,
  When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.
  There lies the port: the vessel puffs her sail:
  There gloom the dark broad seas. My mariners,
  Souls that have toil’d, and wrought, and thought with me—
  That ever with a frolic welcome took
  The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
  Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;
  Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
  Death closes all: but something ere the end,
  Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
  Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
  The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
  The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
  Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
  ’Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
  Push off, and sitting well in order smite
  The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
  To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
  Of all the western stars until I die.
  It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
  It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
  And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
  Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
  We are not now that strength which in old days
  Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
  One equal temper of heroic hearts,
  Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
  To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.


636. Locksley Hall


Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809—1892)


  COMRADES, leave me here a little, while as yet ’tis early morn:
  Leave me here, and when you want me, sound upon the bugle horn.


  ’Tis the place, and all around it, as of old, the curlews call,
  Dreary gleams about the moorland flying over Locksley Hall;


  Locksley Hall, that in the distance overlooks the sandy tracts,
  And the hollow ocean-ridges roaring into cataracts.


  Many a night from yonder ivied casement, ere I went to rest,
  Did I look on great Orion sloping slowly to the West.


  Many a night I saw the Pleiads, rising thro’ the mellow shade,
  Glitter like a swarm of fire-flies tangled in a silver braid.


  Here about the beach I wander’d, nourishing a youth sublime
  With the fairy tales of science, and the long result of Time;


  When the centuries behind me like a fruitful land reposed;
  When I clung to all the present for the promise that it closed:


  When I dipt into the future far as human eye could see;
  Saw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be.—


  In the Spring a fuller crimson comes upon the robin’s breast;
  In the Spring the wanton lapwing gets himself another crest;


  In the Spring a livelier iris changes on the burnish’d dove;
  In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.


  Then her cheek was pale and thinner than should be for one so young,
  And her eyes on all my motions with a mute observance hung.


  And I said, “My cousin Amy, speak, and speak the truth to me,
  Trust me, cousin, all the current of my being sets to thee.”


  On her pallid cheek and forehead came a colour and a light,
  As I have seen the rosy red flushing in the northern night.


  And she turn’d—her bosom shaken with a sudden storm of sighs—
  All the spirit deeply dawning in the dark of hazel eyes—


  Saying, “I have hid my feelings, fearing they should do me wrong;”
  Saying, “Dost thou love me, cousin?” weeping, “I have loved thee long.”


  Love took up the glass of Time, and turn’d it in his glowing hands;
  Every moment, lightly shaken, ran itself in golden sands.


  Love took up the harp of Life, and smote on all the chords with might;
  Smote the chord of Self, that, trembling, pass’d in music out of sight.


  Many a morning on the moorland did we hear the copses ring,
  And her whisper throng’d my pulses with the fullness of the Spring.


  Many an evening by the waters did we watch the stately ships,
  And our spirits rush’d together at the touching of the lips.


  O my cousin, shallow-hearted! O my Amy, mine no more!
  O the dreary, dreary moorland! O the barren, barren shore!


  Falser than all fancy fathoms, falser than all songs have sung,
  Puppet to a father’s threat, and servile to a shrewish tongue!


  Is it well to wish thee happy? having known me—to decline
  On a range of lower feelings and a narrower heart than mine!


  Yet it shall be: thou shalt lower to his level day by day,
  What is fine within thee growing coarse to sympathize with clay.


  As the husband is, the wife is: thou art mated with a clown,
  And the grossness of his nature will have weight to drag thee down.


  He will hold thee, when his passion shall have spent its novel force,
  Something better than his dog, a little dearer than his horse.


  What is this? his eyes are heavy: think not they are glazed with wine.
  Go to him: it is thy duty: kiss him: take his hand in thine.


  It may be my lord is weary, that his brain is over-wrought:
  Soothe him with thy finer fancies, touch him with thy lighter thought.


  He will answer to the purpose, easy things to understand—
  Better thou wert dead before me, tho’ I slew thee with my hand!


  Better thou and I were lying, hidden from the heart’s disgrace,
  Roll’d in one another’s arms, and silent in a last embrace.


  Cursed be the social wants that sin against the strength of youth!
  Cursed be the social lies that warp us from the living truth!


  Cursed be the sickly forms that err from honest Nature’s rule!
  Cursed be the gold that gilds the straiten’d forehead of the fool!


  Well—’tis well that I should bluster!—Hadst thou less unworthy proved—
  Would to God—for I had loved thee more than ever wife was loved.


  Am I mad, that I should cherish that which bears but bitter fruit?
  I will pluck it from my bosom, tho’ my heart be at the root.


  Never, tho’ my mortal summers to such length of years should come
  As the many-winter’d crow that leads the clanging rookery home.


  Where is comfort? in division of the records of the mind?
  Can I part her from herself, and love her, as I knew her, kind?


  I remember one that perish’d: sweetly did she speak and move:
  Such a one do I remember, whom to look at was to love.


  Can I think of her as dead, and love her for the love she bore?
  No—she never loved me truly: love is love for evermore.


  Comfort? comfort scorn’d of devils! this is truth the poet sings,
  That a sorrow’s crown of sorrow is remembering happier things.


  Drug thy memories, lest thou learn it, lest thy heart be put to proof,
  In the dead unhappy night, and when the rain is on the roof.


  Like a dog, he hunts in dreams, and thou art staring at the wall,
  Where the dying night-lamp flickers, and the shadows rise and fall.


  Then a hand shall pass before thee, pointing to his drunken sleep,
  To thy widow’d marriage-pillows, to the tears that thou wilt weep.


  Thou shalt hear the “Never, never,” whisper’d by the phantom years,
  And a song from out the distance in the ringing of thine ears;


  And an eye shall vex thee, looking ancient kindness on thy pain.
  Turn thee, turn thee on thy pillow: get thee to thy rest again.


  Nay, but Nature brings thee solace; for a tender voice will cry.
  ’Tis a purer life than thine; a lip to drain thy trouble dry.


  Baby lips will laugh me down: my latest rival brings thee rest.
  Baby fingers, waxen touches, press me from the mother’s breast.


  O, the child too clothes the father with a dearness not his due.
  Half is thine and half is his: it will be worthy of the two.


  O, I see thee old and formal, fitted to thy petty part,
  With a little hoard of maxims preaching down a daughter’s heart.


  “They were dangerous guides the feelings—she herself was not exempt—
  Truly, she herself had suffer’d”—Perish in thy self-contempt!


  Overlive it—lower yet—be happy! wherefore should I care?
  I myself must mix with action, lest I wither by despair.


  What is that which I should turn to, lighting upon days like these?
  Every door is barr’d with gold, and opens but to golden keys.


  Every gate is throng’d with suitors, all the markets overflow.
  I have but an angry fancy: what is that which I should do?


  I had been content to perish, falling on the foeman’s ground,
  When the ranks are roll’d in vapour, and the winds are laid with sound.


  But the jingling of the guinea helps the hurt that Honour feels,
  And the nations do but murmur, snarling at each other’s heels.


  Can I but relive in sadness? I will turn that earlier page.
  Hide me from my deep emotion, O thou wondrous Mother-Age!


  Make me feel the wild pulsation that I felt before the strife,
  When I heard my days before me, and the tumult of my life;


  Yearning for the large excitement that the coming years would yield,
  Eager-hearted as a boy when first he leaves his father’s field,


  And at night along the dusky highway near and nearer drawn,
  Sees in heaven the light of London flaring like a dreary dawn;


  And his spirit leaps within him to be gone before him then,
  Underneath the light he looks at, in among the throngs of men:


  Men, my brothers, men the workers, ever reaping something new:
  That which they have done but earnest of the things that they shall do:


  For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see,
  Saw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be;


  Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails,
  Pilots of the purple twilight, dropping down with costly bales;


  Heard the heavens fill with shouting, and there rain’d a ghastly dew
  From the nations’ airy navies grappling in the central blue;


  Far along the world-wide whisper of the south-wind rushing warm,
  With the standards of the peoples plunging thro’ the thunder-storm;


  Till the war-drum throbb’d no longer, and the battle-flags were furl’d
  In the Parliament of man, the Federation of the world.


  There the common sense of most shall hold a fretful realm in awe,
  And the kindly earth shall slumber, lapt in universal law.


  So I triumph’d ere my passion sweeping thro’ me left me dry,
  Left me with the palsied heart, and left me with the jaundiced eye;


  Eye, to which all order festers, all things here are out of joint,
  Science moves, but slowly slowly, creeping on from point to point:


  Slowly comes a hungry people, as a lion creeping nigher,
  Glares at one that nods and winks behind a slowly-dying fire.


  Yet I doubt not thro’ the ages one increasing purpose runs,
  And the thoughts of men are widen’d with the process of the suns.


  What is that to him that reaps not harvest of his youthful joys,
  Tho’ the deep heart of existence beat for ever like a boy’s?


  Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers, and I linger on the shore,
  And the individual withers, and the world is more and more.


  Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers, and he bears a laden breast,
  Full of sad experience, moving toward the stillness of his rest.


  Hark, my merry comrades call me, sounding on the bugle-horn,
  They to whom my foolish passion were a target for their scorn:


  Shall it not be scorn to me to harp on such a moulder’d string?
  I am shamed thro’ all my nature to have loved so slight a thing.


  Weakness to be wroth with weakness! woman’s pleasure, woman’s pain—
  Nature made them blinder motions bounded in a shallower brain:


  Woman is the lesser man, and all thy passions, match’d with mine,
  Are as moonlight unto sunlight, and as water unto wine—


  Here at least, where nature sickens, nothing. Ah, for some retreat
  Deep in yonder shining Orient, where my life began to beat;


  Where in wild Mahratta-battle fell my father evil-starr’d;
  I was left a trampled orphan, and a selfish uncle’s ward.


  Or to burst all links of habit—there to wander far away,
  On from island unto island at the gateways of the day.


  Larger constellations burning, mellow moons and happy skies,
  Breadths of tropic shade and palms in cluster, knots of Paradise.


  Never comes the trader, never floats an European flag;
  Slides the bird o’er lustrous woodland, swings the trailer from the crag;


  Droops the heavy-blossom’d bower, hangs the heavy-fruited tree—
  Summer isles of Eden lying in dark-purple spheres of sea.


  There methinks would be enjoyment more than in this march of mind,
  In the steamship, in the railway, in the thoughts that shake mankind.


  There the passions cramp’d no longer shall have scope and breathing-space;
  I will take some savage woman, she shall rear my dusky race.


  Iron-jointed, supple-sinew’d, they shall dive, and they shall run,
  Catch the wild goat by the hair, and hurl their lances in the sun;


  Whistle back the parrot’s call, and leap the rainbows of the brooks,
  Not with blinded eyesight poring over miserable books—


  Fool, again the dream, the fancy! but I know my words are wild,
  But I count the gray barbarian lower than the Christian child.


  I, to herd with narrow foreheads, vacant of our glorious gains,
  Like a beast with lower pleasures, like a beast with lower pains!


  Mated with a squalid savage—what to me were sun or clime?
  I the heir of all the ages, in the foremost files of time—


  I that rather held it better men should perish one by one,
  Than that earth should stand at gaze like Joshua’s moon in Ajalon!


  Not in vain the distance beacons. Forward, forward let us range.
  Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change.


  Thro’ the shadow of the globe we sweep into the younger day:
  Better fifty years of Europe than a cycle of Cathay.


  Mother-Age (for mine I knew not) help me as when life begun:
  Rift the hills, and roll the waters, flash the lightnings, weigh the Sun—


  O, I see the crescent promise of my spirit hath not set.
  Ancient founts of inspiration well thro’ all my fancy yet.


  Howsoever these things be, a long farewell to Locksley Hall!
  Now for me the woods may wither, now for me the roof-tree fall.


  Comes a vapour from the margin, blackening over heath and holt,
  Cramming all the blast before it, in its breast a thunderbolt.


  Let it fall on Locksley Hall, with rain or hail, or fire or snow;
  For the mighty wind arises, roaring seaward, and I go.


637. Morte d’Arthur


Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809—1892)


  SO all day long the noise of battle roll’d
  Among the mountains by the winter sea;
  Until King Arthur’s table, man by man,
  Had fall’n in Lyonnesse about their Lord,
  King Arthur: then, because his wound was deep,
  The bold Sir Bedivere uplifted him,
  Sir Bedivere the last of all his knights,
  And bore him to a chapel nigh the field,
  A broken chancel with a broken cross,
  That stood on a dark strait of barren land.
  On one side lay the Ocean, and on one
  Lay a great water, and the moon was full.
  Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedivere:
  “The sequel of to-day unsolders all
  The goodliest fellowship of famous knights
  Whereof this world holds record. Such a sleep
  They sleep—the men I loved. I think that we
  Shall never more, at any future time,
  Delight our souls with talk of knightly deeds,
  Walking about the gardens and the halls
  Of Camelot, as in the days that were.
  I perish by this people which I made,—
  Tho’ Merlin sware that I should come again
  To rule once more—but let what will be, be,
  I am so deeply smitten thro’ the helm
  That without help I cannot last till morn.
  Thou therefore take my brand Excalibur,
  Which was my pride: for thou rememberest how
  In those old days, one summer noon, an arm
  Rose up from out the bosom of the lake,
  Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful,
  Holding the sword—and how I row’d across
  And took it, and have worn it, like a king:
  And, wheresoever I am sung or told
  In aftertime, this also shall be known:
  But now delay not: take Excalibur,
  And fling him far into the middle mere:
  Watch what thou seëst, and lightly bring me word.”
  To him replied the bold Sir Bedivere:
  “It is not meet, Sir King, to leave thee thus,
  Aidless, alone, and smitten thro’ the helm.
  A little thing may harm a wounded man.
  Yet I thy hest will all perform at full,
  Watch what I see, and lightly bring thee word.”
  So saying, from the ruin’d shrine he stept
  And in the moon athwart the place of tombs,
  Where lay the mighty bones of ancient men,
  Old knights, and over them the sea-wind sang
  Shrill, chill, with flakes of foam. He, stepping down
  By zig-zag paths, and juts of pointed rock,
  Came on the shining levels of the lake.
  There drew he forth the brand Excalibur,
  And o’er him, drawing it, the winter moon,
  Brightening the skirts of a long cloud, ran forth
  And sparkled keen with frost against the hilt:
  For all the haft twinkled with diamond sparks,
  Myriads of topaz-lights, and jacinth-work
  Of subtlest jewellery. He gazed so long
  That both his eyes were dazzled, as he stood,
  This way and that dividing the swift mind,
  In act to throw: but at the last it seem’d
  Better to leave Excalibur conceal’d
  There in the many-knotted waterflags,
  That whistled stiff and dry about the marge.
  So strode he back slow to the wounded King.
  Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedivere:
  “Hast thou perform’d my mission which I gave?
  What is it thou hast seen? or what hast heard?”
  And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere:
  “I heard the ripple washing in the reeds
  And the wild water lapping on the crag.”
  To whom replied King Arthur, faint and pale:
  “Thou has betray’d thy nature and thy name,
  Not rendering true answer, as beseem’d
  Thy fëalty, nor like a noble knight:
  For surer sign had follow’d, either hand,
  Or voice, or else a motion of the mere.
  This is a shameful thing for men to lie.
  Yet now, I charge thee, quickly go again
  As thou art lief and dear, and do the thing
  I bade thee, watch, and lightly bring me word.”
  Then went Sir Bedivere the second time
  Across the ridge, and paced beside the mere,
  Counting the dewy pebbles, fix’d in thought;
  But when he saw the wonder of the hilt,
  How curiously and strangely chased, he smote
  His palms together, and he cried aloud,
  “And if indeed I cast the brand away,
  Surely a precious thing, one worthy note,
  Should thus be lost for ever from the earth,
  Which might have pleased the eyes of many men.
  What good should follow this, if this were done?
  What harm, undone? deep harm to disobey,
  Seeing obedience is the bond of rule.
  Were it well to obey then, if a king demand
  An act unprofitable, against himself?
  The King is sick, and knows not what he does.
  What record, or what relic of my lord
  Should be to aftertime, but empty breath
  And rumours of a doubt? but were this kept,
  Stored in some treasure-house of mighty kings,
  Some one might show it at a joust of arms,
  Saying, ‘King Arthur’s sword, Excalibur,
  Wrought by the lonely maiden of the Lake.
  Nine years she wrought it, sitting in the deeps
  Upon the hidden bases of the hills.’
  So might some old man speak in the aftertime
  To all the people, winning reverence.
  But now much honour and much fame were lost.”
  So spake he, clouded with his own conceit,
  And hid Excalibur the second time,
  And so strode back slow to the wounded King.
  Then spoke King Arthur, breathing heavily:
  “What is it thou hast seen? or what hast heard?”
  And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere:
  “I heard the water lapping on the crag,
  And the long ripple washing in the reeds.”
  To whom replied King Arthur, much in wrath:
  “Ah, miserable and unkind, untrue,
  Unknightly, traitor-hearted! Woe is me!
  Authority forgets a dying king,
  Laid widow’d of the power in his eye
  That bow’d the will. I see thee what thou art,
  For thou, the latest-left of all my knights,
  In whom should meet the offices of all,
  Thou wouldst betray me for the precious hilt;
  Either from lust of gold, or like a girl
  Valuing the giddy pleasure of the eyes.
  Yet, for a man may fail in duty twice,
  And the third time may prosper, get thee hence.
  But, if thou spare to fling Excalibur,
  I will arise and slay thee with my hands.”
  Then quickly rose Sir Bedivere, and ran,
  And, leaping down the ridges lightly, plunged
  Among the bulrush-beds, and clutch’d the sword,
  And strongly wheel’d and threw it. The great brand
  Made lightnings in the splendour of the moon,
  And flashing round and round, and whirl’d in an arch,
  Shot like a streamer of the northern morn,
  Seen where the moving isles of winter shock
  By night, with noises of the northern sea.
  So flash’d and fell the brand Excalibur:
  But ere he dipt the surface, rose an arm
  Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful,
  And caught him by the hilt, and brandish’d him
  Three times, and drew him under in the mere.
  And lightly went the other to the King.
  Then spoke King Arthur, drawing thicker breath:
  “Now see I by thine eyes that this is done.
  Speak out: what is it thou hast heard, or seen?”
  And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere:
  “Sir King, I closed mine eyelids, lest the gems
  Should blind my purpose, for I never saw,
  Nor shall see, here or elsewhere, till I die,
  Not tho’ I live three lives of mortal men,
  So great a miracle as yonder hilt.
  Then with both hands I flung him, wheeling him;
  But when I look’d again, behold an arm,
  Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful,
  That caught him by the hilt, and brandish’d him
  Three times, and drew him under in the mere.”
  And answer made King Arthur, breathing hard:
  “My end draws nigh; ’tis time that I were gone.
  Make broad thy shoulders to receive my weight,
  And bear me to the margin; yet I fear
  My wound hath taken cold; and I shall die.”
  So saying, from the pavement he half rose,
  Slowly, with pain, reclining on his arm,
  And looking wistfully with wide blue eyes
  As in a picture. Him Sir Bedivere
  Remorsefully regarded thro’ his tears,
  And would have spoken, but he found not words,
  Then took with care, and kneeling on one knee,
  O’er both his shoulders drew the languid hands,
  And rising bore him thro’ the place of tombs.
  But, as he walk’d, King Arthur panted hard,
  Like one that feels a nightmare on his bed
  When all the house is mute. So sigh’d the King,
  Muttering and murmuring at his ear, “Quick, quick!
  I fear it is too late, and I shall die.”
  But the other swiftly strode from ridge to ridge,
  Clothed with his breath, and looking as he walk’d,
  Larger than human on the frozen hills.
  He heard the deep behind him, and a cry
  Before. His own thought drove him, like a goad.
  Dry clash’d his harness in the icy caves
  And barren chasms, and all to left and right
  The bare black cliff clang’d round him, as he based
  His feet on juts of slippery crag that rang
  Sharp-smitten with the dint of armed heels—
  And on a sudden, lo! the level lake,
  And the long glories of the winter moon.
  Then saw they how there hove a dusky barge,
  Dark as a funeral scarf from stem to stern,
  Beneath them; and descending they were ware
  That all the decks were dense with stately forms
  Black-stoled, black-hooded, like a dream—by these
  Three Queens with crowns of gold—and from them rose
  A cry that shiver’d to the tingling stars,
  And, as it were one voice, an agony
  Of lamentation, like a wind, that shrills
  All night in a waste land, where no one comes,
  Or hath come, since the making of the world.
  Then murmur’d Arthur, “Place me in the barge,”
  And to the barge they came. There those three Queens
  Put forth their hands, and took the King, and wept.
  But she, that rose the tallest of them all
  And fairest, laid his head upon her lap,
  And loosed the shatter’d casque, and chafed his hands,
  And call’d him by his name, complaining loud,
  And dropping bitter tears against his brow
  Striped with dark blood: for all his face was white
  And colourless, and like the wither’d moon
  Smote by the fresh beam of the springing east;
  And all his greaves and cuisses dash’d with drops
  Of onset; and the light and lustrous curls—
  That made his forehead like a rising sun
  High from the däis-throne—were parch’d with dust;
  Or, clotted into points and hanging loose,
  Mixed with the knightly growth that fringed his lips.
  So like a shatter’d column lay the King;
  Not like that Arthur who, with lance in rest,
  From spur to plume a star of tournament,
  Shot thro’ the lists at Camelot, and charged
  Before the eyes of ladies and of kings.
  Then loudly cried the bold Sir Bedivere,
  “Ah! my Lord Arthur, whither shall I go?
  Where shall I hide my forehead and my eyes?
  For now I see the true old times are dead,
  When every morning brought a noble chance,
  And every chance brought out a noble knight.
  Such times have been not since the light that led
  The holy Elders with the gift of myrrh.
  But now the whole ROUND TABLE is dissolved
  Which was an image of the mighty world;
  And I, the last, go forth companionless,
  And the days darken round me and the years,
  Among new men, strange faces, other minds.”
  And slowly answer’d Arthur from the barge:
  “The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
  And God fulfils Himself in many ways,
  Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.
  Comfort thyself: what comfort is in me?
  I have lived my life, and that which I have done
  May He within Himself make pure! but thou,
  If thou shouldst never see my face again,
  Pray for my soul. More things are wrought by prayer