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707                                               Mariana

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, ‘The night is dreary,
   He cometh not,’ she said;
  She said, ‘I am aweary, aweary,
   I would that I were dead!’
Upon the middle of the night,
 Waking she heard the night-fowl crow:
The cock sung out an hour ere light:
 From the dark fen the oxen’s low
Came to her: without hope of change,
 In sleep she 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 gnarlàd 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 loathed the hour
 When the thick-moted sunbeam lay
 Athwart the chambers, and the day
Was sloping toward his western bower.
  Then, said she, ‘I am very dreary
   He will not come,’ she said;
  She wept, ‘I am aweary, aweary,
   O God, that I were dead!’

708                                       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;
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.’

709                                      The Miller’s Daughter

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

710                                          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,
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,
And from the craggy ledge the poppy hangs in sleep.
Why are we weigh’d upon with heaviness,
And utterly consumed with sharp distress,
While all things else have rest from weariness?
All things have rest: why should we toil alone,
We only toil, who are the first of things,
And make perpetual moan,
Still from one sorrow to another thrown:
Nor ever fold our wings,
And cease from wanderings,
Nor steep our brows in slumber’s holy balm;
Nor harken what the inner spirit sings,
‘There is no joy but calm!’—
Why should we only toil, the roof and crown of things?
Lo! in the middle of the wood,
The folded leaf is woo’d from out the bud
With winds upon the branch, and there
Grows green and broad, and takes no care,
Sun-steep’d at noon, and in the moon
Nightly dew-fed; and turning yellow
Falls, and floats adown the air.
Lo! sweeten’d with the summer light,
The full-juiced apple, waxing over-mellow,
Drops in a silent autumn night.
All its allotted length of days,
The flower ripens in its place,
Ripens and fades, and falls, and hath no toil,
Fast-rooted in the fruitful soil.
Hateful is the dark-blue sky,
Vaulted o’er the dark-blue sea.
Death is the end of life; ah, why
Should life all 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?
All things are taken from us, and become
Portions and parcels of the dreadful Past.
Let us alone. What pleasure can we have
To war with evil? Is there any peace
In ever climbing up the climbing wave?
All things have rest, and ripen toward the grave
In silence; ripen, fall and cease:
Give us long rest or death, dark death, or dreamful ease.
How sweet it were, hearing the downward stream,
With half-shut eyes ever to seem
Falling asleep in a half-dream!
To dream and dream, like yonder amber light,
Which will not leave the myrrh-bush on the height;
To hear each other’s whisper’d speech;
Eating the Lotus day by day,
To watch the crisping ripples on the beach,
And tender curving lines of creamy spray;
To lend our hearts and spirits wholly
To the influence of mild-minded melancholy;
To muse and brood and live again in memory,
With those old faces of our infancy
Heap’d over with a mound of grass,
Two handfuls of white dust, shut in an urn of brass!
Dear is the memory of our wedded lives,
And dear the last embraces of our wives
And their warm tears: but all hath suffer’d change;
For surely now our household hearths are cold:
Our sons inherit us: our looks are strange:
And we should come like ghosts to trouble joy.
Or else the island princes over-bold
Have eat our substance, and the minstrel sings
Before them of the ten years’ war in Troy,
And our great deeds, as half-forgotten things.
Is there confusion in the little isle?
Let what is broken so remain.
The Gods are hard to reconcile:
’Tis hard to settle order once again.
There is confusion worse than death,
Trouble on trouble, pain on pain,
Long labour unto agàd breath,
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,
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-twinàd vine—
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:
The Lotos blows by every winding creek:
All day the wind breathes low with mellower tone:
As every hollow cave and alley lone
In and round the spicy downs the yellow Lotos-dust is blown.
We have had enough of action, and of motion we,
In to starboard, roll’d to larboard, when the surge was seething free,
Where the wallowing monster spouted his foam-fountains in the sea.
For us swear an oath, and keep it with an equal mind,
In the hollow Lotos-land to live and lie reclined
On the hills like Gods together, careless of mankind.
For they lie beside their nectar, and the bolts are hurl’d
And below them in the valleys, and the clouds are lightly curl’d
Round their golden houses, girdled with the gleaming world:
Where they smile in secret, looking over wasted lands,
Blight and famine, plague and earthquake, roaring deeps and fiery sands.
Clanging fights, and flaming towns, and sinking ships, and praying hands.
But they smile, they find a music centred in a doleful song
Steaming up, a lamentation and an ancient tale of wrong,
Like a tale of little meaning tho’ the words are strong;
Chanted from an ill-used race of men that cleave the soil,
Sow the seed, and reap the harvest with enduring toil,
Storing yearly little dues of wheat, and wine and oil;
Till they perish and they suffer—some, ’tis whisper’d—down in hell
Suffer endless anguish, others in Elysian valleys dwell,
Resting weary limbs at last on beds of asphodel.
Surely, surely, slumber is more sweet than toil, the shore
Than labour in the deep mid-ocean, wind and wave and oar;
O rest ye, brother mariners, we will not wander more.

711                                        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
    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,
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,
    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.
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;
    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
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—
    The Bridegroom with his bride!

712                                      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,
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.

713                                         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,
And like a ghost she glimmers on to me.
  Now lies the Earth all Danaëe 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.

714                                         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,
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,
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,
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
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
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,
And murmuring of innumerable bees.

715                                                Maud

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,
 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,
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
 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,
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
 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?
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,
 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
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
 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;
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,
 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,
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;’
 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;
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.

716                                        From ‘In Memoriam..


LOVE is and was my Lord and King,
     And in his presence I attend
     To hear the tidings of my friend,
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,
And hear at times a sentinel
     Who moves about from place to place,
     And whispers to the world of space,
In the deep night, that all is well.

717                                       In the Garden at Swainston

NIGHTINGALES warbled without,
 Within was weeping for thee:
Shadows of three dead men
 Walk’d in the walks with me:
Shadows of three dead men, and thou wast one of the three.
Nightingales sang in the woods:
 The Master was far away:
Nightingales warbled and sang
 Of a passion that lasts but a day;
  Still in the house in his coffin the Prince of courtesy lay.
Two dead men have I known
 In courtesy like to thee:
Two dead men have I loved
 With a love that ever will be:
 Three dead men have I loved, and thou art last of the three.

718                                          Crossing the Bar

SUNSET and evening star,
   And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
   When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
   Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
   Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell,
   And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
   When I embark;
For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
   The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
   When I have crost the bar.

719                                        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,
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!


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