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The Early Poems of Alfred Lord Tennyson by Tennyson

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"Her court was pure; her life serene;
God gave her peace; her land reposed;
A thousand claims to reverence closed
In her as Mother, Wife and Queen;

"And statesmen at her council met
Who knew the seasons, when to take
Occasion by the hand, and make
The bounds of freedom wider yet [6]

"By shaping some august decree,
Which kept her throne unshaken still,
Broad-based upon her people's will, [7]
And compass'd by the inviolate sea."

MARCH, 1851.

[Footnote 1: 1851. Revered Victoria, you that hold.]

[Footnote 2: 1851. I thank you that your Royal grace.]

[Footnote 3: This stanza added in 1853.]

[Footnote 4: 1851. Your sweetness.]

[Footnote 5: In 1851 the following stanza referring to the first Crystal
Palace, opened 1st May, 1851, was inserted here:--

She brought a vast design to pass,
When Europe and the scatter'd ends
Of our fierce world were mixt as friends
And brethren, in her halls of glass.]

[Footnote 6: 1851. Broader yet.]

[Footnote 7: With this cf. Shelley, 'Ode to Liberty':--

Athens diviner yet
Gleam'd with its crest of columns _on the will_
Of man.]

CLARIBEL

A MELODY

First published in 1830.

In 1830 and in 1842 edd. the poem is in one long stanza, with a full
stop in 1830 ed. after line 8; 1842 ed. omits the full stop. The name
"Claribel" may have been suggested by Spenser ('F. Q.', ii., iv., or
Shakespeare, 'Tempest').

1

Where Claribel low-lieth
The breezes pause and die,
Letting the rose-leaves fall:
But the solemn oak-tree sigheth,
Thick-leaved, ambrosial,
With an ancient melody
Of an inward agony,
Where Claribel low-lieth.

2

At eve the beetle boometh
Athwart the thicket lone:
At noon the wild bee [1] hummeth
About the moss'd headstone:
At midnight the moon cometh,
And looketh down alone.
Her song the lintwhite swelleth,
The clear-voiced mavis dwelleth,
The callow throstle [2] lispeth,
The slumbrous wave outwelleth,
The babbling runnel crispeth,
The hollow grot replieth
Where Claribel low-lieth.

[Footnote 1: 1830. "Wild" omitted, and "low" inserted with a hyphen
before "hummeth".]

[Footnote 2: 1851 and all previous editions, "fledgling" for "callow".]

LILIAN

First printed in 1830.

1

Airy, fairy Lilian,
Flitting, fairy Lilian,
When I ask her if she love me,
Claps her tiny hands above me,
Laughing all she can;
She'll not tell me if she love me,
Cruel little Lilian.

2

When my passion seeks
Pleasance in love-sighs
She, looking thro' and thro' [1] me
Thoroughly to undo me,
Smiling, never speaks:
So innocent-arch, so cunning-simple,
From beneath her gather'd wimple [2]
Glancing with black-beaded eyes,
Till the lightning laughters dimple
The baby-roses in her cheeks;
Then away she flies.

3

Prythee weep, May Lilian!
Gaiety without eclipse
Wearieth me, May Lilian:
Thro' [3] my very heart it thrilleth
When from crimson-threaded [4] lips
Silver-treble laughter [5] trilleth:
Prythee weep, May Lilian.

4

Praying all I can,
If prayers will not hush thee,
Airy Lilian,
Like a rose-leaf I will crush thee,
Fairy Lilian.

[Footnote 1: 1830. Through and through me.]

[Footnote 2: 1830. Purfled.]

[Footnote 3: 1830. Through.]

[Footnote 4: With "crimson-threaded" 'cf.' Cleveland's 'Sing-song on
Clarinda's Wedding', "Her 'lips those threads of scarlet dye'"; but the
original is 'Solomons Song' iv. 3, "Thy lips are 'like a thread of
scarlet'".]

[Footnote 5: 1830. Silver treble-laughter.]

ISABEL

First printed in 1830.

Lord Tennyson tells us ('Life of Tennyson', i., 43) that in this poem
his father more or less described his own mother, who was a "remarkable
and saintly woman". In this as in the other poems elaborately painting
women we may perhaps suspect the influence of Wordsworth's 'Triad',
which should be compared with them.

1

Eyes not down-dropt nor over-bright, but fed
With the clear-pointed flame of chastity,
Clear, without heat, undying, tended by
Pure vestal thoughts in the translucent fane
Of her still spirit [1]; locks not wide-dispread,
Madonna-wise on either side her head;
Sweet lips whereon perpetually did reign
The summer calm of golden charity,
Were fixed shadows of thy fixed mood,
Revered Isabel, the crown and head,
The stately flower of female fortitude,
Of perfect wifehood and pure lowlihead. [2]

2

The intuitive decision of a bright
And thorough-edged intellect to part
Error from crime; a prudence to withhold;
The laws of marriage [3] character'd in gold
Upon the blanched [4] tablets of her heart;
A love still burning upward, giving light
To read those laws; an accent very low
In blandishment, but a most silver flow
Of subtle-paced counsel in distress,
Right to the heart and brain, tho' undescried,
Winning its way with extreme gentleness
Thro' [5] all the outworks of suspicious pride.
A courage to endure and to obey;
A hate of gossip parlance, and of sway,
Crown'd Isabel, thro' [6] all her placid life,
The queen of marriage, a most perfect wife.

3

The mellow'd reflex of a winter moon;
A clear stream flowing with a muddy one,
Till in its onward current it absorbs
With swifter movement and in purer light
The vexed eddies of its wayward brother:
A leaning and upbearing parasite,
Clothing the stem, which else had fallen quite,
With cluster'd flower-bells and ambrosial orbs
Of rich fruit-bunches leaning on each other--
Shadow forth thee:--the world hath not another
(Though all her fairest forms are types of thee,
And thou of God in thy great charity)
Of such a finish'd chasten'd purity,

[Footnote 1: With these lines may be compared Shelley, 'Dedication to
the Revolt of Islam':--

And through thine eyes, e'en in thy soul, I see
A lamp of vestal fire burning eternally.]

[Footnote 2: Lowlihead a favourite word with Chaucer and Spenser.]

[Footnote 3: 1830. Wifehood.]

[Footnote 4: 1830. Blenched.]

[Footnote 5: 1830 and all before 1853. Through.]

[Footnote 6: 1830. Through.]

MARIANA

"Mariana in the moated grange."--'Measure for Measure'.

First printed in 1830.

This poem as we know from the motto prefixed to it was suggested by
Shakespeare ('Measure for Measure', iii., 1, "at the moated grange
resides this dejected Mariana,") but the poet may have had in his mind
the exquisite fragment of Sappho:--

[Greek: deduke men ha selanna kai Plaeiades, mesai de nuktes, para d'
erchet h'ora ego de mona kateud'o.]

"The moon has set and the Pleiades, and it is midnight: the hour too
is going by, but I sleep alone."

It was long popularly supposed that the scene of the poem was a farm
near Somersby known as Baumber's farm, but Tennyson denied this and said
it was a purely "imaginary house in the fen," and that he "never so much
as dreamed of Baumbers farm". See 'Life', i., 28.

With blackest moss the flower-plots
Were thickly crusted, one and all:
The rusted nails fell from the knots
That held the peach [1] to the garden-wall. [2]
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; [3]
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 [4] 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 [5]
The level waste, the rounding gray.[6]
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,[7]
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; [8] 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 called 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 [9] 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!".

[Footnote 1: 1863. Pear.]

[Footnote 2: 1872. Gable-wall.]

[Footnote 3: With this beautiful couplet may be compared a couplet of
Helvius Cinna:--

Te matutinus flentem conspexit Eous,
Te flentem paullo vidit post Hesperus idem.
--'Cinnae Reliq'. Ed. Mueller, p. 83.]

[Footnote 4: 1830. _Grey_-eyed. 'Cf'. 'Romeo and Juliet', ii., 3,
"The _grey morn_ smiles on the frowning night".]

[Footnote 5: 1830, 1842, 1843. Dark.]

[Footnote 6: 1830. Grey.]

[Footnote 7: 1830. An' away.]

[Footnote 8: All editions before 1851. I' the pane. With this line
'cf'. 'Maud', I., vi., 8, "and the shrieking rush of the wainscot
mouse".]

[Footnote 9: 1830. Downsloped was westering in his bower.]

TO----

First printed in 1830.

The friend to whom these verses were addressed was Joseph William
Blakesley, third Classic and Senior Chancellor's Medallist in 1831, and
afterwards Dean of Lincoln. Tennyson said of him: "He ought to be Lord
Chancellor, for he is a subtle and powerful reasoner, and an honest
man".--'Life', i., 65. He was a contributor to the 'Edinburgh' and
'Quarterly Reviews', and died in April, 1885. See memoir of him in the
'Dictionary of National Biography'.

1

Clear-headed friend, whose joyful scorn,
Edged with sharp laughter, cuts atwain
The knots that tangle human creeds, [1]
The wounding cords that [2] bind and strain
The heart until it bleeds,
Ray-fringed eyelids of the morn
Roof not a glance so keen as thine:
If aught of prophecy be mine,
Thou wilt not live in vain.

2

Low-cowering shall the Sophist sit;
Falsehood shall bear her plaited brow:
Fair-fronted Truth shall droop not now
With shrilling shafts of subtle wit.
Nor martyr-flames, nor trenchant swords
Can do away that ancient lie;
A gentler death shall Falsehood die,
Shot thro' and thro'[3] with cunning words.

3

Weak Truth a-leaning on her crutch,
Wan, wasted Truth in her utmost need,
Thy kingly intellect shall feed,
Until she be an athlete bold,
And weary with a finger's touch
Those writhed limbs of lightning speed;
Like that strange angel [4] which of old,
Until the breaking of the light,
Wrestled with wandering Israel,
Past Yabbok brook the livelong night,
And heaven's mazed signs stood still
In the dim tract of Penuel.

[Footnote 1: 1830. The knotted lies of human creeds.]

[Footnote 2: 1830. "Which" for "that".]

[Footnote 3: 1830. Through and through.]

[Footnote 4: The reference is to Genesis xxxii. 24-32.]

MADELINE

First published in 1830.

1

Thou art not steep'd in golden languors,
No tranced summer calm is thine,
Ever varying Madeline.
Thro' [1] light and shadow thou dost range,
Sudden glances, sweet and strange,
Delicious spites and darling angers,
And airy [2] forms of flitting change.

2

Smiling, frowning, evermore,
Thou art perfect in love-lore.
Revealings deep and clear are thine
Of wealthy smiles: but who may know
Whether smile or frown be fleeter?
Whether smile or frown be sweeter,
Who may know?
Frowns perfect-sweet along the brow
Light-glooming over eyes divine,
Like little clouds sun-fringed, are thine,
Ever varying Madeline.
Thy smile and frown are not aloof
From one another,
Each to each is dearest brother;
Hues of the silken sheeny woof
Momently shot into each other.
All the mystery is thine;
Smiling, frowning, evermore,
Thou art perfect in love-lore,
Ever varying Madeline.

3

A subtle, sudden flame,
By veering passion fann'd,
About thee breaks and dances
When I would kiss thy hand,
The flush of anger'd shame
O'erflows thy calmer glances,
And o'er black brows drops down
A sudden curved frown:
But when I turn away,
Thou, willing me to stay,
Wooest not, nor vainly wranglest;
But, looking fixedly the while,
All my bounding heart entanglest
In a golden-netted smile;
Then in madness and in bliss,
If my lips should dare to kiss
Thy taper fingers amorously, [3]
Again thou blushest angerly;
And o'er black brows drops down
A sudden-curved frown.

[Footnote 1: 1830. Through.]

[Footnote 2: 1830. Aery.]

[Footnote 3: 1830. Three-times-three; though noted as an _erratum_ for
amorously.]

SONG.--THE OWL

First printed in 1830.

1

When cats run home and light is come,
And dew is cold upon the ground,
And the far-off stream is dumb,
And the whirring sail goes round,
And the whirring sail goes round;
Alone and warming his five wits,
The white owl in the belfry sits.

2

When merry milkmaids click the latch,
And rarely smells the new-mown hay,
And the cock hath sung beneath the thatch
Twice or thrice his roundelay,
Twice or thrice his roundelay;
Alone and warming his five wits,
The white owl in the belfry sits.

SECOND SONG

TO THE SAME.

First printed in 1830.

1

Thy tuwhits are lull'd I wot,
Thy tuwhoos of yesternight,
Which upon the dark afloat,
So took echo with delight,
So took echo with delight,
That her voice untuneful grown,
Wears all day a fainter tone.

2

I would mock thy chaunt anew;
But I cannot mimick it;
Not a whit of thy tuwhoo,
Thee to woo to thy tuwhit,
Thee to woo to thy tuwhit,
With a lengthen'd loud halloo,
Tuwhoo, tuwhit, tuwhit, tuwhoo-o-o.

RECOLLECTIONS OF THE ARABIAN NIGHTS

First printed in 1830.

With this poem should be compared the description of Harun al Rashid's
Garden of Gladness in the story of Nur-al-din Ali and the damsel Anis al
Talis in the Thirty-Sixth Night. The style appears to have been modelled
on Coleridge's 'Kubla Khan' and 'Lewti', and the influence of Coleridge
is very perceptible throughout the poem.

When the breeze of a joyful dawn blew free
In the silken sail of infancy,
The tide of time flow'd back with me,
The forward-flowing tide of time;
And many a sheeny summer-morn,
Adown the Tigris I was borne,
By Bagdat's shrines of fretted gold,
High-walled gardens green and old;
True Mussulman was I and sworn,
For it was in the golden prime [1]
Of good Haroun Alraschid.

Anight my shallop, rustling thro' [2]
The low and bloomed foliage, drove
The fragrant, glistening deeps, and clove
The citron-shadows in the blue:
By garden porches on the brim,
The costly doors flung open wide,
Gold glittering thro' [3] lamplight dim,
And broider'd sofas [4] on each side:
In sooth it was a goodly time,
For it was in the golden prime
Of good Haroun Alraschid.

Often, where clear-stemm'd platans guard
The outlet, did I turn away
The boat-head down a broad canal
From the main river sluiced, where all
The sloping of the moon-lit sward
Was damask-work, and deep inlay
Of braided blooms [5] unmown, which crept
Adown to where the waters slept.
A goodly place, a goodly time,
For it was in the golden prime
Of good Haroun Alraschid.

A motion from the river won
Ridged the smooth level, bearing on
My shallop thro' the star-strown calm,
Until another night in night
I enter'd, from the clearer light,
Imbower'd vaults of pillar'd palm,
Imprisoning sweets, which, as they clomb
Heavenward, were stay'd beneath the dome
Of hollow boughs.--A goodly time,
For it was in the golden prime
Of good Haroun Alraschid.

Still onward; and the clear canal
Is rounded to as clear a lake.
From the green rivage many a fall
Of diamond rillets musical,
Thro' little crystal [6] arches low
Down from the central fountain's flow
Fall'n silver-chiming, seem'd to shake
The sparkling flints beneath the prow.
A goodly place, a goodly time,
For it was in the golden prime
Of good Haroun Alraschid.

Above thro' [7] many a bowery turn
A walk with vary-colour'd shells
Wander'd engrain'd. On either side
All round about the fragrant marge
From fluted vase, and brazen urn
In order, eastern flowers large,
Some dropping low their crimson bells
Half-closed, and others studded wide
With disks and tiars, fed the time
With odour in the golden prime
Of good Haroun Alraschid.

Far off, and where the lemon-grove
In closest coverture upsprung,
The living airs of middle night
Died round the bulbul [8] as he sung;
Not he: but something which possess'd
The darkness of the world, delight,
Life, anguish, death, immortal love,
Ceasing not, mingled, unrepress'd.
Apart from place, withholding [9] time,
But flattering the golden prime
Of good Haroun Alraschid.

Black the [10] garden-bowers and grots
Slumber'd: the solemn palms were ranged
Above, unwoo'd of summer wind:
A sudden splendour from behind
Flush'd all the leaves with rich gold-green,
And, flowing rapidly between
Their interspaces, counterchanged
The level lake with diamond-plots
Of dark and bright. [11] A lovely time,
For it was in the golden prime
Of good Haroun Alraschid.

Dark-blue the deep sphere overhead,
Distinct with vivid stars inlaid, [12]
Grew darker from that under-flame:
So, leaping lightly from the boat,
With silver anchor left afloat,
In marvel whence that glory came
Upon me, as in sleep I sank
In cool soft turf upon the bank,
Entranced with that place and time,
So worthy of the golden prime
Of good Haroun Alraschid.

Thence thro' the garden I was drawn--[13]
A realm of pleasance, many a mound,
And many a shadow-chequer'd lawn
Full of the city's stilly sound, [14]
And deep myrrh-thickets blowing round
The stately cedar, tamarisks,
Thick rosaries [15] of scented thorn,
Tall orient shrubs, and obelisks
Graven with emblems of the time,
In honour of the golden prime
Of good Haroun Alraschid.

With dazed vision unawares
From the long alley's latticed shade
Emerged, I came upon the great
Pavilion of the Caliphat.
Right to the carven cedarn doors,
Flung inward over spangled floors,
Broad-based flights of marble stairs
Ran up with golden balustrade,
After the fashion of the time,
And humour of the golden prime
Of good Haroun Alraschid.

The fourscore windows all alight
As with the quintessence of flame,
A million tapers flaring bright
From twisted silvers look'd [16] to shame
The hollow-vaulted dark, and stream'd
Upon the mooned domes aloof
In inmost Bagdat, till there seem'd
Hundreds of crescents on the roof
Of night new-risen, that marvellous time,
To celebrate the golden prime
Of good Haroun Alraschid.

Then stole I up, and trancedly
Gazed on the Persian girl alone,
Serene with argent-lidded eyes
Amorous, and lashes like to rays
Of darkness, and a brow of pearl
Tressed with redolent ebony,
In many a dark delicious curl,
Flowing beneath [17] her rose-hued zone;
The sweetest lady of the time,
Well worthy of the golden prime
Of good Haroun Alraschid.

Six columns, three on either side,
Pure silver, underpropt [18] a rich
Throne of the [19] massive ore, from which
Down-droop'd, in many a floating fold,
Engarlanded and diaper'd
With inwrought flowers, a cloth of gold.
Thereon, his deep eye laughter-stirr'd
With merriment of kingly pride,
Sole star of all that place and time,
I saw him--in his golden prime,
THE GOOD HAROUN ALRASCHID!

[Footnote 1: "Golden prime" from Shakespeare.

"That cropp'd the _golden prime_ of this sweet prince."

--_Rich. III._, i., sc. ii., 248.]

[Footnote 2: 1830. Through.] [Footnote 3: 1830. Through.]

[Footnote 4: 1830 and 1842. Sophas.] [Footnote 5: 1830. Breaded blosms.]

[Footnote 6: 1830. Through crystal.] [Footnote 7: 1830. Through.]

[Footnote 8: "Bulbul" is the Persian for nightingale. _Cf. Princes_,
iv., 104:--

"O Bulbul, any rose of Gulistan Shall brush her veil".]

[Footnote 9: 1830. Witholding. So 1842, 1843, 1845.]

[Footnote 10: 1830. Blackgreen.] [Footnote 11: 1830. Of saffron light.]

[Footnote 12: 1830. Unrayed.] [Footnote 13: 1830. Through ... borne.]

[Footnote 14: Shakespeare has the same expression:

"The hum of either army _stilly sounds_".

--_Henry V_., act iv., prol.]

[Footnote 15: 1842. Roseries.] [Footnote 16: 1830. Wreathed.]

[Footnote 17: 1830. Below.]

[Footnote 18: 1830. Underpropped. 1842. Underpropp'd.]

[Footnote 19: 1830. O' the.]

ODE TO MEMORY

First printed in 1830.

After the title in 1830 ed. is "Written very early in life". The
influence most perceptible in this poem is plainly Coleridge, on whose
'Songs of the Pixies' it seems to have been modelled. Tennyson
considered it, and no wonder, as one of the very best of "his early and
peculiarly concentrated Nature-poems". See 'Life', i., 27. It is full
of vivid and accurate pictures of his Lincolnshire home and haunts. See
'Life', i., 25-48, 'passim'.

1

Thou who stealest fire,
From the fountains of the past,
To glorify the present; oh, haste,
Visit my low desire!
Strengthen me, enlighten me!
I faint in this obscurity,
Thou dewy dawn of memory.

2

Come not as thou camest [1] of late,
Flinging the gloom of yesternight
On the white day; but robed in soften'd light
Of orient state.
Whilome thou camest with the morning mist,
Even as a maid, whose stately brow
The dew-impearled winds of dawn have kiss'd, [2]
When she, as thou,
Stays on her floating locks the lovely freight
Of overflowing blooms, and earliest shoots
Of orient green, giving safe pledge of fruits,
Which in wintertide shall star
The black earth with brilliance rare.

3

Whilome thou camest with the morning mist.
And with the evening cloud,
Showering thy gleaned wealth into my open breast,
(Those peerless flowers which in the rudest wind
Never grow sere,
When rooted in the garden of the mind,
Because they are the earliest of the year).
Nor was the night thy shroud.
In sweet dreams softer than unbroken rest
Thou leddest by the hand thine infant Hope.
The eddying of her garments caught from thee
The light of thy great presence; and the cope
Of the half-attain'd futurity,
Though deep not fathomless,
Was cloven with the million stars which tremble
O'er the deep mind of dauntless infancy.
Small thought was there of life's distress;
For sure she deem'd no mist of earth could dull
Those spirit-thrilling eyes so keen and beautiful:
Sure she was nigher to heaven's spheres,
Listening the lordly music flowing from
The illimitable years.[3]
O strengthen me, enlighten me!
I faint in this obscurity,
Thou dewy dawn of memory.

4

Come forth I charge thee, arise,
Thou of the many tongues, the myriad eyes!
Thou comest not with shows of flaunting vines
Unto mine inner eye,
Divinest Memory!
Thou wert not nursed by the waterfall
Which ever sounds and shines
A pillar of white light upon the wall
Of purple cliffs, aloof descried:
Come from the woods that belt the grey hill-side,
The seven elms, the poplars [4] four
That stand beside my father's door,
And chiefly from the brook [5] that loves
To purl o'er matted cress and ribbed sand,
Or dimple in the dark of rushy coves,
Drawing into his narrow earthen urn,
In every elbow and turn,
The filter'd tribute of the rough woodland.
O! hither lead thy feet!
Pour round mine ears the livelong bleat
Of the thick-fleeced sheep from wattled folds,
Upon the ridged wolds,
When the first matin-song hath waken'd [6] loud
Over the dark dewy earth forlorn,
What time the amber morn
Forth gushes from beneath a low-hung cloud.

5

Large dowries doth the raptured eye
To the young spirit present
When first she is wed;
And like a bride of old
In triumph led,
With music and sweet showers
Of festal flowers,
Unto the dwelling she must sway.
Well hast thou done, great artist Memory,
In setting round thy first experiment
With royal frame-work of wrought gold;
Needs must thou dearly love thy first essay,
And foremost in thy various gallery
Place it, where sweetest sunlight falls
Upon the storied walls;
For the discovery
And newness of thine art so pleased thee,
That all which thou hast drawn of fairest
Or boldest since, but lightly weighs
With thee unto the love thou bearest
The first-born of thy genius.
Artist-like,
Ever retiring thou dost gaze
On the prime labour of thine early days:
No matter what the sketch might be;
Whether the high field on the bushless Pike,
Or even a sand-built ridge
Of heaped hills that mound the sea,
Overblown with murmurs harsh,
Or even a lowly cottage [7] whence we see
Stretch'd wide and wild the waste enormous marsh,
Where from the frequent bridge,
Like emblems of infinity, [8]
The trenched waters run from sky to sky;
Or a garden bower'd close
With plaited [9] alleys of the trailing rose,
Long alleys falling down to twilight grots,
Or opening upon level plots
Of crowned lilies, standing near
Purple-spiked lavender:
Whither in after life retired
From brawling storms,
From weary wind,
With youthful fancy reinspired,
We may hold converse with all forms
Of the many-sided mind,
And those [10] whom passion hath not blinded,
Subtle-thoughted, myriad-minded.
My friend, with you [11] to live alone,
Were how much [12] better than to own
A crown, a sceptre, and a throne!
O strengthen, enlighten me!
I faint in this obscurity,
Thou dewy dawn of memory.

[Footnote 1: 1830. Cam'st.]

[Footnote 2: 1830. Kist.]

[Footnote 3: Transferred from 'Timbuctoo'.

And these with lavish'd sense
Listenist the lordly music flowing from
The illimitable years.]

[Footnote 4: The poplars have now disappeared but the seven elms are
still to be seen in the garden behind the house. See Napier, 'The
Laureate's County', pp. 22, 40-41.]

[Footnote 5: This is the Somersby brook which so often reappears in
Tennyson's poetry, cf. 'Millers Daughter, A Farewell', and 'In
Memoriam', 1 xxix. and c.]

[Footnote 6: 1830. Waked. For the epithet "dew-impearled" 'cf'.
Drayton, Ideas, sonnet liii., "amongst the dainty 'dew-impearled
flowers'," where the epithet is more appropriate and intelligible.]

[Footnote 7: 1830. The few.]

[Footnote 8: 1830 and 1842. Thee.]

[Footnote 9: 1830. Methinks were, so till 1850, when it was altered to
the present reading.]

[Footnote 10: The cottage at Maplethorpe where the Tennysons used to
spend the summer holidays. (See 'Life', i., 46.)]

[Footnote 11: 1830. Emblems or Glimpses of Eternity.]

[Footnote 12: 1830. Pleached. The whole of this passage is an exact
description of the Parsonage garden at Somersby. See 'Life', i., 27.]

SONG

First printed in 1830.

The poem was written in the garden at the Old Rectory, Somersby; an
autumn scene there which it faithfully describes. This poem seems to
have haunted Poe, a fervent admirer of Tennyson's early poems.

1

A Spirit haunts the year's last hours
Dwelling amid these yellowing bowers:
To himself he talks;
For at eventide, listening earnestly,
At his work you may hear him sob and sigh
In the walks;
Earthward he boweth the heavy stalks
Of the mouldering flowers:
Heavily hangs the broad sunflower
Over its grave i' the earth so chilly;
Heavily hangs the hollyhock,
Heavily hangs the tiger-lily.

2

The air is damp, and hush'd, and close,
As a sick man's room when he taketh repose
An hour before death;
My very heart faints and my whole soul grieves
At the moist rich smell of the rotting leaves,
And the breath
Of the fading edges of box beneath,
And the year's last rose.
Heavily hangs the broad sunflower
Over its grave i' the earth so chilly;
Heavily hangs the hollyhock,
Heavily hangs the tiger-lily.

ADELINE

First printed in 1830.

1

Mystery of mysteries,
Faintly smiling Adeline,
Scarce of earth nor all divine,
Nor unhappy, nor at rest,
But beyond expression fair
With thy floating flaxen hair;
Thy rose-lips and full blue eyes
Take the heart from out my breast.
Wherefore those dim looks of thine,
Shadowy, dreaming Adeline?

2

Whence that aery bloom of thine,
Like a lily which the sun
Looks thro' in his sad decline,
And a rose-bush leans upon,
Thou that faintly smilest still,
As a Naiad in a well,
Looking at the set of day,
Or a phantom two hours old
Of a maiden passed away,
Ere the placid lips be cold?
Wherefore those faint smiles of thine,
Spiritual Adeline?

3

What hope or fear or joy is thine?
Who talketh with thee, Adeline?
For sure thou art not all alone:
Do beating hearts of salient springs
Keep measure with thine own?
Hast thou heard the butterflies
What they say betwixt their wings?
Or in stillest evenings
With what voice the violet woos
To his heart the silver dews?
Or when little airs arise,
How the merry bluebell rings [1]
To the mosses underneath?
Hast thou look'd upon the breath
Of the lilies at sunrise?
Wherefore that faint smile of thine,
Shadowy, dreaming Adeline?

4

Some honey-converse feeds thy mind,
Some spirit of a crimson rose
In love with thee forgets to close
His curtains, wasting odorous sighs
All night long on darkness blind.
What aileth thee? whom waitest thou
With thy soften'd, shadow'd brow,
And those dew-lit eyes of thine, [2]
Thou faint smiler, Adeline?

5

Lovest thou the doleful wind
When thou gazest at the skies?
Doth the low-tongued Orient [3]
Wander from the side of [4] the morn,
Dripping with Sabsean spice
On thy pillow, lowly bent
With melodious airs lovelorn,
Breathing Light against thy face,
While his locks a-dropping [5] twined
Round thy neck in subtle ring
Make a 'carcanet of rays',[6]
And ye talk together still,
In the language wherewith Spring
Letters cowslips on the hill?
Hence that look and smile of thine,
Spiritual Adeline.

[Footnote 1: This conceit seems to have been borrowed from Shelley,
'Sensitive Plant', i.:--

And the hyacinth, purple and white and blue,
Which flung from its bells a sweet peal anew
Of music.]

[Footnote 2: 'Cf'. Collins, 'Ode to Pity', "and 'eyes of dewy light'".]

[Footnote 3: What "the low-tongued Orient" may mean I cannot explain.]

[Footnote 4: 1830 and all editions till 1853. O'.]

[Footnote 5: 1863. A-drooping.]

[Footnote 6: A carcanet is a necklace, diminutive from old French
"Carcan". Cf. 'Comedy of Errors', in., i, "To see the making of her
'Carcanet".]

A CHARACTER

First printed in 1830.

The only authoritative light thrown on the person here described is what
the present Lord Tennyson gives, who tells us that "the then well-known
Cambridge orator S--was partly described". He was "a very plausible,
parliament-like, self-satisfied speaker at the Union Debating Society ".
The character reminds us of Wordsworth's Moralist. See 'Poet's Epitaph';--

One to whose smooth-rubbed soul can cling,
Nor form nor feeling, great nor small;
A reasoning, self-sufficient thing,
An intellectual all in all.

Shakespeare's fop, too (Hotspur's speech, 'Henry IV.', i., i., 2), seems
to have suggested a touch or two.

With a half-glance upon the sky
At night he said, "The wanderings
Of this most intricate Universe
Teach me the nothingness of things".
Yet could not all creation pierce
Beyond the bottom of his eye.

He spake of beauty: that the dull
Saw no divinity in grass,
Life in dead stones, or spirit in air;
Then looking as 'twere in a glass,
He smooth'd his chin and sleek'd his hair,
And said the earth was beautiful.

He spake of virtue: not the gods
More purely, when they wish to charm
Pallas and Juno sitting by:
And with a sweeping of the arm,
And a lack-lustre dead-blue eye,
Devolved his rounded periods.

Most delicately hour by hour
He canvass'd human mysteries,
And trod on silk, as if the winds
Blew his own praises in his eyes,
And stood aloof from other minds
In impotence of fancied power.

With lips depress'd as he were meek,
Himself unto himself he sold:
Upon himself himself did feed:
Quiet, dispassionate, and cold,
And other than his form of creed,
With chisell'd features clear and sleek.

THE POET

First printed in 1830.

In this poem we have the first grand note struck by Tennyson, the first
poem exhibiting the [Greek: spoudaiotaes] of the true poet.

The poet in a golden clime was born,
With golden stars above;
Dower'd with the hate of hate, the scorn of scorn,[1]
The love of love.

He saw thro' [2] life and death, thro' [2] good and ill,
He saw thro' [2] his own soul.
The marvel of the everlasting will,
An open scroll,

Before him lay: with echoing feet he threaded
The secretest walks of fame:
The viewless arrows of his thoughts were headed
And wing'd with flame,--

Like Indian reeds blown from his silver tongue,
And of so fierce a flight,
From Calpe unto Caucasus they sung,
Filling with light

And vagrant melodies the winds which bore
Them earthward till they lit;
Then, like the arrow-seeds of the field flower,
The fruitful wit

Cleaving, took root, and springing forth anew
Where'er they fell, behold,
Like to the mother plant in semblance, grew
A flower all gold,

And bravely furnish'd all abroad to fling
The winged shafts of truth,
To throng with stately blooms the breathing spring
Of Hope and Youth.

So many minds did gird their orbs with beams,
Tho' [3] one did fling the fire.
Heaven flow'd upon the soul in many dreams
Of high desire.

Thus truth was multiplied on truth, the world
Like one [4] great garden show'd,
And thro' the wreaths of floating dark upcurl'd,
Rare sunrise flow'd.

And Freedom rear'd in that august sunrise
Her beautiful bold brow,
When rites and forms before his burning eyes
Melted like snow.

There was no blood upon her maiden robes
Sunn'd by those orient skies;
But round about the circles of the globes
Of her keen eyes

And in her raiment's hem was traced in flame
WISDOM, a name to shake
All evil dreams of power--a sacred name. [5]
And when she spake,

Her words did gather thunder as they ran,
And as the lightning to the thunder
Which follows it, riving the spirit of man,
Making earth wonder,

So was their meaning to her words.
No sword
Of wrath her right arm whirl'd, [6]
But one poor poet's scroll, and with 'his' word
She shook the world.

[Footnote 1: The expression, as is not uncommon with Tennyson, is
extremely ambiguous; it may mean that he hated hatred, scorned scorn,
and loved love, or that he had hatred, scorn and love as it were in
quintessence, like Dante, and that is no doubt the meaning.]

[Footnotes 2: 1830. Through.]

[Footnote 3: 1830 till 1851. Though.]

[Footnote 4: 2 1830. A.]

[Footnote 5: 1830.

And in the bordure of her robe was writ
Wisdom, a name to shake
Hoar anarchies, as with a thunderfit.]

[Footnote 6: 1830. Hurled.]

THE POET'S MIND

First published in 1830.

A companion poem to the preceding. After line 7
in 1830 appears this stanza, afterwards omitted:--

Clear as summer mountain streams,
Bright as the inwoven beams,
Which beneath their crisping sapphire
In the midday, floating o'er
The golden sands, make evermore
To a blossom-starred shore.
Hence away, unhallowed laughter!

1

Vex not thou the poet's mind
With thy shallow wit:
Vex not thou the poet's mind;
For thou canst not fathom it.
Clear and bright it should be ever,
Flowing like a crystal river;
Bright as light, and clear as wind.

2

Dark-brow'd sophist, come not anear;
All the place [1] is holy ground;
Hollow smile and frozen sneer
Come not here.
Holy water will I pour
Into every spicy flower
Of the laurel-shrubs that hedge it around.
The flowers would faint at your cruel cheer.
In your eye there is death,
There is frost in your breath
Which would blight the plants.
Where you stand you cannot hear
From the groves within
The wild-bird's din.
In the heart of the garden the merry bird chants,
It would fall to the ground if you came in.
In the middle leaps a fountain
Like sheet lightning,
Ever brightening
With a low melodious thunder;
All day and all night it is ever drawn
From the brain of the purple mountain
Which stands in the distance yonder:
It springs on a level of bowery lawn,
And the mountain draws it from Heaven above,
And it sings a song of undying love;
And yet, tho' [2] its voice be so clear and full,
You never would hear it; your ears are so dull;
So keep where you are: you are foul with sin;
It would shrink to the earth if you came in.

[Footnote 1: 1830. The poet's mind. With this may be compared the
opening stanza of Gray's 'Installation Ode': "Hence! avaunt! 'tis holy
ground," and for the sentiments 'cf'. Wordsworth's 'Poet's Epitaph.'

[Footnote 2: 1830 to 1851. Though.]

THE SEA-FAIRIES

First published in 1830 but excluded from all editions till its
restoration, when it was greatly altered, in 1853. I here give the text
as it appeared in 1830; where the present text is the same as that of
1830 asterisks indicate it.

This poem is a sort of prelude to the Lotus-Eaters, the burthen being
the same, a siren song: "Why work, why toil, when all must be over so
soon, and when at best there is so little to reward?"

Slow sailed the weary mariners, and saw
Between the green brink and the running foam
White limbs unrobed in a chrystal air,
Sweet faces, etc.
...
middle sea.

SONG.

Whither away, whither away, whither away?
Fly no more!
Whither away wi' the singing sail? whither away wi' the oar?
Whither away from the high green field and the happy blossoming shore?
Weary mariners, hither away,
One and all, one and all,
Weary mariners, come and play;
We will sing to you all the day;
Furl the sail and the foam will fall
From the prow! one and all
Furl the sail! drop the oar!
Leap ashore!
Know danger and trouble and toil no more.
Whither away wi' the sail and the oar?
Drop the oar,
Leap ashore,
Fly no more!
Whither away wi' the sail? whither away wi' the oar?
Day and night to the billow, etc.
...
over the lea;
They freshen the silvery-crimson shells,
And thick with white bells the cloverhill swells
High over the full-toned sea.
Merrily carol the revelling gales
Over the islands free:
From the green seabanks the rose downtrails
To the happy brimmed sea.
Come hither, come hither, and be our lords,
For merry brides are we:
We will kiss sweet kisses, etc.
...
With pleasure and love and revelry;
...
ridged sea.
Ye will not find so happy a shore
Weary mariners! all the world o'er;
Oh! fly no more!
Harken ye, harken ye, sorrow shall darken ye,
Danger and trouble and toil no more;
Whither away?
Drop the oar;
Hither away,
Leap ashore;
Oh! fly no more--no more.
Whither away, whither away, whither away with the sail and the oar?

Slow sail'd the weary mariners and saw,
Betwixt the green brink and the running foam,
Sweet faces, rounded arms, and bosoms prest
To little harps of gold; and while they mused,
Whispering to each other half in fear,
Shrill music reach'd them on the middle sea.

Whither away, whither away, whither away? fly no more.
Whither away from the high green field, and the happy blossoming shore?
Day and night to the billow the fountain calls;
Down shower the gambolling waterfalls
From wandering over the lea:
Out of the live-green heart of the dells
They freshen the silvery-crimsoned shells,
And thick with white bells the clover-hill swells
High over the full-toned sea:
O hither, come hither and furl your sails,
Come hither to me and to me:
Hither, come hither and frolic and play;
Here it is only the mew that wails;
We will sing to you all the day:
Mariner, mariner, furl your sails,
For here are the blissful downs and dales,
And merrily merrily carol the gales,
And the spangle dances in bight [1] and bay,
And the rainbow forms and flies on the land
Over the islands free;
And the rainbow lives in the curve of the sand;
Hither, come hither and see;
And the rainbow hangs on the poising wave,
And sweet is the colour of cove and cave,

And sweet shall your welcome be:
O hither, come hither, and be our lords
For merry brides are we:
We will kiss sweet kisses, and speak sweet words:
O listen, listen, your eyes shall glisten
With pleasure and love and jubilee:
O listen, listen, your eyes shall glisten
When the sharp clear twang of the golden cords
Runs up the ridged sea.
Who can light on as happy a shore
All the world o'er, all the world o'er?
Whither away? listen and stay: mariner, mariner, fly no more.

[Footnote 1: Bight is properly the coil of a rope; it then came to mean
a bend, and so a corner or bay. The same phrase occurs in the 'Voyage of
Maledune', v.: "and flung them in bight and bay".]

THE DESERTED HOUSE

First printed in 1830, omitted in all the editions till 1848 when it was
restored. The poem is of course allegorical, and is very much in the
vein of many poems in Anglo-Saxon poetry.

1

Life and Thought have gone away
Side by side,
Leaving door and windows wide:
Careless tenants they!

2

All within is dark as night:
In the windows is no light;
And no murmur at the door,
So frequent on its hinge before.

3

Close the door, the shutters close,
Or thro' [1] the windows we shall see
The nakedness and vacancy
Of the dark deserted house.

4

Come away: no more of mirth
Is here or merry-making sound.
The house was builded of the earth,
And shall fall again to ground.

5

Come away: for Life and Thought
Here no longer dwell;
But in a city glorious--
A great and distant city--have bought
A mansion incorruptible.
Would they could have stayed with us!

[Footnote 1: 1848 and 1851. Through.]

THE DYING SWAN

First printed in 1830.

The superstition here assumed is so familiar from the Classics as well
as from modern tradition that it scarcely needs illustration or
commentary. But see Plato, 'Phaedrus', xxxi., and Shakespeare, 'King
John', v., 7.

1

The plain was grassy, wild and bare,
Wide, wild, and open to the air,
Which had built up everywhere
An under-roof of doleful gray. [1]
With an inner voice the river ran,
Adown it floated a dying swan,
And [2] loudly did lament.
It was the middle of the day.
Ever the weary wind went on,
And took the reed-tops as it went.

2

Some blue peaks in the distance rose,
And white against the cold-white sky,
Shone out their crowning snows.
One willow over the water [3] wept,
And shook the wave as the wind did sigh;
Above in the wind was [4] the swallow,
Chasing itself at its own wild will,
And far thro' [5] the marish green and still
The tangled water-courses slept,
Shot over with purple, and green, and yellow.

3

The wild swan's death-hymn took the soul
Of that waste place with joy
Hidden in sorrow: at first to the ear
The warble was low, and full and clear;
And floating about the under-sky,
Prevailing in weakness, the coronach [6] stole
Sometimes afar, and sometimes anear;
But anon her awful jubilant voice,
With a music strange and manifold,
Flow'd forth on a carol free and bold;
As when a mighty people rejoice
With shawms, and with cymbals, and harps of gold,
And the tumult of their acclaim is roll'd
Thro' [7] the open gates of the city afar,
To the shepherd who watcheth the evening star.
And the creeping mosses and clambering weeds,
And the willow-branches hoar and dank,
And the wavy swell of the soughing reeds,
And the wave-worn horns of the echoing bank,
And the silvery marish-flowers that throng
The desolate creeks and pools among,
Were flooded over with eddying song.

[Footnote 1: 1830. Grey.]

[Footnote 2: 1830 till 1848. Which.]

[Footnote 3: 1863. River.]

[Footnote 4: 1830. Sung.]

[Footnote 5: 1830. Through.]

[Footnote 6: A coronach is a funeral song or lamentation, from the
Gaelic 'Corranach'. 'Cf'. Scott's 'Waverley', ch. xv.,

"Their wives and daughters came clapping their hands and 'crying the
coronach' and shrieking".]

[Footnote 7: 1830 till 1851. Through.]

A DIRGE

First printed in 1830.

1

Now is done thy long day's work;
Fold thy palms across thy breast,
Fold thine arms, turn to thy rest.
Let them rave.
Shadows of the silver birk [1]
Sweep the green that folds thy grave.
Let them rave.

2

Thee nor carketh [2] care nor slander;
Nothing but the small cold worm
Fretteth thine enshrouded form.
Let them rave.
Light and shadow ever wander
O'er the green that folds thy grave.
Let them rave.

3

Thou wilt not turn upon thy bed;
Chaunteth not the brooding bee
Sweeter tones than calumny?
Let them rave.
Thou wilt never raise thine head
From the green that folds thy grave.
Let them rave.

4

Crocodiles wept tears for thee;
The woodbine and eglatere
Drip sweeter dews than traitor's tear.
Let them rave.
Rain makes music in the tree
O'er the green that folds thy grave.
Let them rave.

5

Round thee blow, self-pleached [1] deep,
Bramble-roses, faint and pale,
And long purples [2] of the dale.
Let them rave.
These in every shower creep.
Thro' [3] the green that folds thy grave.
Let them rave.

6

The gold-eyed kingcups fine:
The frail bluebell peereth over
Rare broidry of the purple clover.
Let them rave.
Kings have no such couch as thine,
As the green that folds thy grave.
Let them rave.

7

Wild words wander here and there;
God's great gift of speech abused
Makes thy memory confused:
But let them rave.
The balm-cricket [4] carols clear
In the green that folds thy grave.
Let them rave.

[Footnote 1: Still used in the north of England for "birch".]

[Footnote 2: Carketh. Here used transitively, "troubles," though in Old
English it is generally intransitive, meaning to be careful or
thoughtful; it is from the Anglo-Saxon 'Carian'; it became obsolete in
the seventeenth century. The substantive cark, trouble or anxiety, is
generally in Old English coupled with "care".]

[Footnote 3: Self-pleached, self-entangled or intertwined. 'Cf'.
Shakespeare, "pleached bower," 'Much Ado', iii., i., 7.]

[Footnote 4: 1830. "'Long purples'," thus marking that the phrase is
borrowed from Shakespeare, 'Hamlet', iv., vii., 169:--

and 'long purples'
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name.
It is the purple-flowered orchis, 'orchis mascula'.]

[Footnote 5: 1830. Through.]

[Footnote 6: Balm cricket, the tree cricket; 'balm' is a corruption of
'baum'.]

LOVE AND DEATH

First printed in 1830.

What time the mighty moon was gathering light [1]
Love paced the thymy plots of Paradise,
And all about him roll'd his lustrous eyes;
When, turning round a cassia, full in view
Death, walking all alone beneath a yew,
And talking to himself, first met his sight:
"You must begone," said Death, "these walks are mine".
Love wept and spread his sheeny vans [2] for flight;
Yet ere he parted said, "This hour is thine;
Thou art the shadow of life, and as the tree
Stands in the sun and shadows all beneath,
So in the light of great eternity
Life eminent creates the shade of death;
The shadow passeth when the tree shall fall,
But I shall reign for ever over all". [3]

[Footnote 1: The expression is Virgil's, 'Georg'., i., 427: "Luna
revertentes cum primum 'colligit ignes'".]

[Footnote 2: Vans used also for "wings" by Milton, 'Paradise Lost', ii.,
927-8:--

His sail-broad 'vans'
He spreads for flight.

So also Tasso, 'Ger. Lib'., ix., 60:

"Indi spiega al gran volo 'i vanni' aurati".]

[Footnote 3: 'Cf. Lockley Hall Sixty Years After': "Love will conquer at
the last".]

THE BALLAD OF ORIANA

First published in 1830, not in 1833.

This fine ballad was evidently suggested by the old ballad of Helen of
Kirkconnel, both poems being based on a similar incident, and both being
the passionate soliloquy of the bereaved lover, though Tennyson's
treatment of the subject is his own. Helen of Kirkconnel was one of the
poems which he was fond of reciting, and Fitzgerald says that he used
also to recite this poem, in a way not to be forgotten, at Cambridge
tables. 'Life', i., p. 77.

My heart is wasted with my woe, Oriana.
There is no rest for me below, Oriana.
When the long dun wolds are ribb'd with snow,
And loud the Norland whirlwinds blow, Oriana,
Alone I wander to and fro, Oriana.

Ere the light on dark was growing, Oriana,
At midnight the cock was crowing, Oriana:
Winds were blowing, waters flowing,
We heard the steeds to battle going, Oriana;
Aloud the hollow bugle blowing, Oriana.

In the yew-wood black as night, Oriana,
Ere I rode into the fight, Oriana,
While blissful tears blinded my sight
By star-shine and by moonlight, Oriana,
I to thee my troth did plight, Oriana.

She stood upon the castle wall, Oriana:
She watch'd my crest among them all, Oriana:
She saw me fight, she heard me call,
When forth there stept a foeman tall, Oriana,
Atween me and the castle wall, Oriana.

The bitter arrow went aside, Oriana:
The false, false arrow went aside, Oriana:
The damned arrow glanced aside,
And pierced thy heart, my love, my bride, Oriana!
Thy heart, my life, my love, my bride, Oriana!

Oh! narrow, narrow was the space, Oriana.
Loud, loud rung out the bugle's brays, Oriana.
Oh! deathful stabs were dealt apace,
The battle deepen'd in its place, Oriana;
But I was down upon my face, Oriana.

They should have stabb'd me where I lay, Oriana!
How could I rise and come away, Oriana?
How could I look upon the day?
They should have stabb'd me where I lay, Oriana
They should have trod me into clay, Oriana.

O breaking heart that will not break, Oriana!
O pale, pale face so sweet and meek, Oriana!
Thou smilest, but thou dost not speak,
And then the tears run down my cheek, Oriana:
What wantest thou? whom dost thou seek, Oriana?

I cry aloud: none hear my cries, Oriana.
Thou comest atween me and the skies, Oriana.
I feel the tears of blood arise
Up from my heart unto my eyes, Oriana.
Within my heart my arrow lies, Oriana.

O cursed hand! O cursed blow! Oriana!
O happy thou that liest low, Oriana!
All night the silence seems to flow
Beside me in my utter woe, Oriana.
A weary, weary way I go, Oriana.

When Norland winds pipe down the sea, Oriana,
I walk, I dare not think of thee, Oriana.
Thou liest beneath the greenwood tree,
I dare not die and come to thee, Oriana.
I hear the roaring of the sea, Oriana.

CIRCUMSTANCE

First published in 1830.

Two children in two neighbour villages
Playing mad pranks along the healthy leas;
Two strangers meeting at a festival;
Two lovers whispering by an orchard wall;
Two lives bound fast in one with golden ease;
Two graves grass-green beside a gray church-tower,
Wash'd with still rains and daisy-blossomed;
Two children in one hamlet born and bred;
So runs [1] the round of life from hour to hour.

[Footnote 1: 1830. Fill up.]

THE MERMAN

First printed in 1830.

1

Who would be
A merman bold,
Sitting alone,
Singing alone
Under the sea,
With a crown of gold,
On a throne?

2

I would be a merman bold;
I would sit and sing the whole of the day;
I would fill the sea-halls with a voice of power;
But at night I would roam abroad and play
With the mermaids in and out of the rocks,
Dressing their hair with the white sea-flower;
And holding them back by their flowing locks
I would kiss them often under the sea,
And kiss them again till they kiss'd me
Laughingly, laughingly;
And then we would wander away, away
To the pale-green sea-groves straight and high,
Chasing each other merrily.

3

There would be neither moon nor star;
But the wave would make music above us afar--
Low thunder and light in the magic night--
Neither moon nor star.
We would call aloud in the dreamy dells,
Call to each other and whoop and cry
All night, merrily, merrily;
They would pelt me with starry spangles and shells,
Laughing and clapping their hands between,
All night, merrily, merrily:
But I would throw to them back in mine
Turkis and agate and almondine: [1]
Then leaping out upon them unseen
I would kiss them often under the sea,
And kiss them again till they kiss'd me
Laughingly, laughingly.
Oh! what a happy life were mine
Under the hollow-hung ocean green!
Soft are the moss-beds under the sea;
We would live merrily, merrily.

[Foootnote 1: Almondine. This should be "almandine," the word probably
being a corruption of alabandina, a gem so called because found at

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