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The Early Poems of Alfred Lord Tennyson by Tennyson

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Alabanda in Caria; it is a garnet of a violet or amethystine tint. 'Cf.'
Browning, 'Fefine at the Fair', xv., "that string of mock-turquoise,
these 'almandines' of glass".]


First printed in 1830.


Who would be
A mermaid fair,
Singing alone,
Combing her hair
Under the sea,
In a golden curl
With a comb of pearl,
On a throne?


I would be a mermaid fair;
I would sing to myself the whole of the day;
With a comb of pearl I would comb my hair;
And still as I comb'd I would sing and say,
"Who is it loves me? who loves not me?"
I would comb my hair till my ringlets would fall,
Low adown, low adown,
From under my starry sea-bud crown
Low adown and around,
And I should look like a fountain of gold
Springing alone
With a shrill inner sound,
Over the throne
In the midst of the hall;
Till that [1] great sea-snake under the sea
From his coiled sleeps in the central deeps
Would slowly trail himself sevenfold
Round the hall where I sate, and look in at the gate
With his large calm eyes for the love of me.
And all the mermen under the sea
Would feel their [2] immortality
Die in their hearts for the love of me.


But at night I would wander away, away,
I would fling on each side my low-flowing locks,
And lightly vault from the throne and play
With the mermen in and out of the rocks;
We would run to and fro, and hide and seek,
On the broad sea-wolds in the [1] crimson shells,
Whose silvery spikes are nighest the sea.
But if any came near I would call, and shriek,
And adown the steep like a wave I would leap
From the diamond-ledges that jut from the dells;
For I would not be kiss'd [2] by all who would list,
Of the bold merry mermen under the sea;
They would sue me, and woo me, and flatter me,
In the purple twilights under the sea;
But the king of them all would carry me,
Woo me, and win me, and marry me,
In the branching jaspers under the sea;
Then all the dry pied things that be
In the hueless mosses under the sea
Would curl round my silver feet silently,
All looking up for the love of me.
And if I should carol aloud, from aloft
All things that are forked, and horned, and soft
Would lean out from the hollow sphere of the sea,
All looking down for the love of me.

[Footnote 1: Till 1857. The.]

[Footnote 2: Till 1857. The.]

[Footnote 3: 1830. 'I the. So till 1853.]

[Footnote 4: 1830 Kist.]


First printed in 1830, not in 1833.

This sonnet was addressed to John Mitchell Kemble, the well-known Editor
of the 'Beowulf' and other Anglo-Saxon poems. He intended to go into the
Church, but was never ordained, and devoted his life to early English
studies. See memoir of him in 'Dict, of Nat. Biography'.

My hope and heart is with thee--thou wilt be
A latter Luther, and a soldier-priest
To scare church-harpies from the master's feast;
Our dusted velvets have much need of thee:
Thou art no Sabbath-drawler of old saws,
Distill'd from some worm-canker'd homily;
But spurr'd at heart with fieriest energy
To embattail and to wall about thy cause
With iron-worded proof, hating to hark
The humming of the drowsy pulpit-drone
Half God's good sabbath, while the worn-out clerk
Brow-beats his desk below. Thou from a throne
Mounted in heaven wilt shoot into the dark
Arrows of lightnings. I will stand and mark.


First published in 1833.

This poem was composed in its first form as early as May, 1832 or 1833,
as we learn from Fitzgerald's note--of the exact year he was not certain
('Life of Tennyson', i., 147). The evolution of the poem is an
interesting study. How greatly it was altered in the second edition of
1842 will be evident from the collation which follows. The text of 1842
became the permanent text, and in this no subsequent material
alterations were made. The poem is more purely fanciful than Tennyson
perhaps was willing to own; certainly his explanation of the allegory,
as he gave it to Canon Ainger, is not very intelligible: "The new-born
love for something, for some one in the wide world from which she has
been so long excluded, takes her out of the region of shadows into that
of realities". Poe's commentary is most to the point: "Why do some
persons fatigue themselves in endeavours to unravel such phantasy pieces
as the 'Lady of Shallot'? As well unweave the ventum
textilem".--'Democratic Review', Dec., 1844, quoted by Mr. Herne
Shepherd. Mr. Palgrave says (selection from the 'Lyric Poems of
Tennyson', p. 257) the poem was suggested by an Italian romance upon the
Donna di Scalotta. On what authority this is said I do not know, nor can
I identify the novel. In Novella, lxxxi., a collection of novels printed
at Milan in 1804, there is one which tells but very briefly the story of
Elaine's love and death, "Qui conta come la Damigella di scalot mori per
amore di Lancealotto di Lac," and as in this novel Camelot is placed
near the sea, this may be the novel referred to. In any case the poem is
a fanciful and possibly an allegorical variant of the story of Elaine,
Shalott being a form, through the French, of Astolat.


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. [1]

Willows whiten, aspens quiver, [2]
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? [3]

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". [4]


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 [5]
To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the 'curse' may be,
And so [6] 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, [7]
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: [8]
Or when the moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed;
"I am half-sick of shadows," said
The Lady of Shalott. [9]


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 redcross 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. [10]
The bridle bells rang merrily
As he rode down to [11] 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. [12]
As often thro' the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, trailing light,
Moves over still Shalott. [13]

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. [14]
From the bank and from the river
He flashed into the crystal mirror,
"Tirra lirra," by the river [15]
Sang Sir Lancelot.

She left the web, she left the loom;
She made three paces thro' the room,
She saw the water-lily [16] 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.' [17]

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. [18]

Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darken'd wholly, [19]
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 [20] 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' [21]

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 [22] mused a little space;
He said, "She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
The Lady of Shalott". [23]

[Footnote 1: 1833.

To many towered Camelot
The yellow leaved water lily,
The green sheathed daffodilly,
Tremble in the water chilly,
Round about Shalott.]

[Footnote 2: 1833.

The sunbeam-showers break and quiver
In the stream that runneth ever
By the island, etc.]

[Footnote 3: 1833.

Underneath the bearded barley,
The reaper, reaping late and early,
Hears her ever chanting cheerly,
Like an angel, singing clearly,
O'er the stream of Camelot.
Piling the sheaves in furrows airy,
Beneath the moon, the reaper weary
Listening whispers, "'tis the fairy
Lady of Shalott".]

[Footnote 4: 1833.

The little isle is all inrailed
With a rose-fence, and overtrailed
With roses: by the marge unhailed
The shallop flitteth silkensailed,
Skimming down to Camelot.
A pearl garland winds her head:
She leaneth on a velvet bed,
Full royally apparelled,
The Lady of Shalott.]

[Footnote 5: 1833.

No time hath she to sport and play:
A charmed web she weaves alway.
A curse is on her, if she stay
Her weaving, either night or day]

[Footnote 6: 1833.

The Lady of Shalott.]

[Footnote 7: 1833.

She lives with little joy or fear
Over the water running near,
The sheep bell tinkles in her ear,
Before her hangs a mirror clear,
Reflecting towered Camelot.
And, as the mazy web she whirls,
She sees the surly village-churls.]

[Footnote 8: 1833. Came from Camelot.]

[Footnote 9: In these lines are to be found, says the present Lord
Tennyson, the key to the mystic symbolism of the poem. But it is not
easy to see how death could be an advantageous exchange for
fancy-haunted solitude. The allegory is clearer in lines 114-115, for
love will so break up mere phantasy.]

[Footnote 10: 1833. Hung in the golden galaxy.]

[Footnote 11: 1833. From.]

[Footnote 12: 1833. From Camelot.]

[Footnote 13: 1833. Green Shalott.]

[Footnote 14: 1833. From Camelot.]

[Footnote 15: 1833. "Tirra lirra, tirra lirra."]

[Footnote 16: 1833. Water flower.]

[Footnote 17: 1833.

Outside the isle a shallow boat
Beneath a willow lay afloat,
Below the carven stern she wrote,

[Footnote 18: 1833.

A cloud-white crown of pearl she dight,
All raimented in snowy white
That loosely flew (her zone in sight,
Clasped with one blinding diamond bright),
Her wide eyes fixed on Camelot,
Though the squally eastwind keenly
Blew, with folded arms serenely
By the water stood the queenly
Lady of Shalott.

With a steady, stony glance--
Like some bold seer in a trance,
Beholding all his own mischance,
Mute, with a glassy countenance--
She looked down to Camelot.
It was the closing of the day,
She loosed the chain, and down she lay,
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott.

As when to sailors while they roam,
By creeks and outfalls far from home,
Rising and dropping with the foam,
From dying swans wild warblings come,
Blown shoreward; so to Camelot
Still as the boat-head wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her chanting her death song,
The Lady of Shalott.]

[Footnote 19: 1833.

A long drawn carol, mournful, holy,
She chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her eyes were darkened wholly,
And her smooth face sharpened slowly.]

[Footnote 20: "A corse" (1853) is a variant for the "Dead-pale" of 1857.]

[Footnote 21: 1833.

A pale, pale corpse she floated by,
Dead cold, between the houses high,
Dead into towered Camelot.
Knight and burgher, lord and dame,
To the planked wharfage came:
Below the stern they read her name,
"The Lady of Shalott".]

[Footnote 22: 1833. Spells it "Launcelot" all through.]

[Footnote 23: 1833.

They crossed themselves, their stars they blest,
Knight, minstrel, abbot, squire and guest,
There lay a parchment on her breast,
That puzzled more than all the rest,
The well-fed wits at Camelot.
"'The web was woven curiously,
The charm is broken utterly,
Draw near and fear not--this is I,
The Lady of Shalott.'"]


First printed in 1833.

This poem had been written as early as 1831 (see Arthur Hallam's letter,
'Life', i., 284-5, Appendix), and Lord Tennyson tells us that it
"came to my father as he was travelling between Narbonne and Perpignan";
how vividly the characteristic features of Southern France are depicted
must be obvious to every one who is familiar with them. It is
interesting to compare it with the companion poem; the central position
is the same in both, desolate loneliness, and the mood is the same, but
the setting is far more picturesque and is therefore more dwelt upon.
The poem was very greatly altered when re-published in 1842, that text
being practically the final one, there being no important variants

In the edition of 1833 the poem opened with the following stanza, which
was afterwards excised and the stanza of the present text substituted.

Behind the barren hill upsprung
With pointed rocks against the light,
The crag sharpshadowed overhung
Each glaring creek and inlet bright.
Far, far, one light blue ridge was seen,
Looming like baseless fairyland;
Eastward a slip of burning sand,
Dark-rimmed with sea, and bare of green,
Down in the dry salt-marshes stood
That house dark latticed. Not a breath
Swayed the sick vineyard underneath,
Or moved the dusty southernwood.
"Madonna," with melodious moan
Sang Mariana, night and morn,
"Madonna! lo! I am all alone,
Love-forgotten and love-forlorn."

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

She, as her carol sadder grew,
From brow and bosom slowly down [1]
Thro' rosy taper fingers drew
Her streaming curls of deepest brown
To left and right, [2] and made appear,
Still-lighted in a secret shrine,
Her melancholy eyes divine, [3]
The home of woe without a tear.
And "Ave Mary," was her moan, [4]
"Madonna, sad is night and morn";
And "Ah," she sang, "to be all alone,
To live forgotten, and love forlorn".

Till all the crimson changed, [5] and past
Into deep orange o'er the sea,
Low on her knees herself she cast,
Before Our Lady murmur'd she;
Complaining, "Mother, give me grace
To help me of my weary load".
And on the liquid mirror glow'd
The clear perfection of her face.
"Is this the form," she made her moan,
"That won his praises night and morn?"
And "Ah," she said, "but I wake alone,
I sleep forgotten, I wake forlorn". [6]

Nor bird would sing, nor lamb would bleat,
Nor any cloud would cross the vault,
But day increased from heat to heat,
On stony drought and steaming salt;
Till now at noon she slept again,
And seem'd knee-deep in mountain grass,
And heard her native breezes pass,
And runlets babbling down the glen.
She breathed in sleep a lower moan,
And murmuring, as at night and morn,
She thought, "My spirit is here alone,
Walks forgotten, and is forlorn". [7]

Dreaming, she knew it was a dream:
She felt he was and was not there, [8]
She woke: the babble of the stream
Fell, and without the steady glare
Shrank one sick willow [9] sere and small.
The river-bed was dusty-white;
And all the furnace of the light
Struck up against the blinding wall. [10]
She whisper'd, with a stifled moan
More inward than at night or morn,
"Sweet Mother, let me not here alone
Live forgotten, and die forlorn". [11]

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

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

At eve a dry cicala sung,
There came a sound as of the sea;
Backward the lattice-blind she flung,
And lean'd upon the balcony.
There all in spaces rosy-bright
Large Hesper glitter'd on her tears,
And deepening thro' the silent spheres,
Heaven over Heaven rose the night.
And weeping then she made her moan,
"The night comes on that knows not morn,
When I shall cease to be all alone,
To live forgotten, and love forlorn". [13]

[Footnote 1: 1833 From her warm brow and bosom down.]

[Footnote 2: 1833. On either side.]

[Footnote 3: Compare Keats, 'Eve of St. Agnes', "her maiden eyes

[Footnote 4: 1833. "Madonna," with melodious moan Sang Mariana, etc.]

[Footnote 5: 1833. When the dawncrimson changed.]

[Footnote 6: 1833.

Unto our Lady prayed she.
She moved her lips, she prayed alone,
She praying disarrayed and warm
From slumber, deep her wavy form
In the dark-lustrous mirror shone.
"Madonna," in a low clear tone
Said Mariana, night and morn,
Low she mourned, "I am all alone,
Love-forgotten, and love-forlorn".]

[Footnote 7: 1833.

At noon she slumbered. All along
The silvery field, the large leaves talked
With one another, as among
The spiked maize in dreams she walked.
The lizard leapt: the sunlight played:
She heard the callow nestling lisp,
And brimful meadow-runnels crisp.
In the full-leaved platan-shade.
In sleep she breathed in a lower tone,
Murmuring as at night and morn,
"Madonna! lo! I am all alone.
Love-forgotten and love-forlorn".]

[Footnote 8: 1835. Most false: he was and was not there.]

[Footnote 9: 1833. The sick olive. So the text remained till 1850, when
"one" was substituted.]

[Footnote 10: 1833.

From the bald rock the blinding light
Beat ever on the sunwhite wall.]

[Footnote 11: 1833.

"Madonna, leave me not all alone,
To die forgotten and live forlorn."]

[Footnote 12: This stanza and the next not in 1833.]

[Footnote 13: 1833.

One dry cicala's summer song
At night filled all the gallery.
Ever the low wave seemed to roll
Up to the coast: far on, alone
In the East, large Hesper overshone
The mourning gulf, and on her soul
Poured divine solace, or the rise
Of moonlight from the margin gleamed,
Volcano-like, afar, and streamed
On her white arm, and heavenward eyes.
Not all alone she made her moan,
Yet ever sang she, night and morn,
"Madonna! lo! I am all alone,
Love-forgotten and love-forlorn".]


First printed in 1833. When reprinted in 1842 the alterations noted were
then made, and after that the text remained unchanged.


Thy dark eyes open'd not,
Nor first reveal'd themselves to English air,
For there is nothing here,
Which, from the outward to the inward brought,
Moulded thy baby thought.
Far off from human neighbourhood,
Thou wert born, on a summer morn,
A mile beneath the cedar-wood.
Thy bounteous forehead was not fann'd
With breezes from our oaken glades,
But thou wert nursed in some delicious land
Of lavish lights, and floating shades:
And flattering thy childish thought
The oriental fairy brought,
At the moment of thy birth,
From old well-heads of haunted rills,
And the hearts of purple hills,
And shadow'd coves on a sunny shore,
The choicest wealth of all the earth,
Jewel or shell, or starry ore,
To deck thy cradle, Eleaenore. [1]


Or the yellow-banded bees, [2]
Thro' [3] half-open lattices
Coming in the scented breeze,
Fed thee, a child, lying alone,
With whitest honey in fairy gardens cull'd--
A glorious child, dreaming alone,
In silk-soft folds, upon yielding down,
With the hum of swarming bees
Into dreamful slumber lull'd.


Who may minister to thee?
Summer herself should minister
To thee, with fruitage golden-rinded
On golden salvers, or it may be,
Youngest Autumn, in a bower
Grape-thicken'd from the light, and blinded
With many a deep-hued bell-like flower
Of fragrant trailers, when the air
Sleepeth over all the heaven,
And the crag that fronts the Even,
All along the shadowing shore,
Crimsons over an inland [4] mere,
[5] Eleaenore!


How may full-sail'd verse express,
How may measured words adore
The full-flowing harmony
Of thy swan-like stateliness,
The luxuriant symmetry
Of thy floating gracefulness,
Every turn and glance of thine,
Every lineament divine,
And the steady sunset glow,
That stays upon thee? For in thee
Is nothing sudden, nothing single;
Like two streams of incense free
From one censer, in one shrine,
Thought and motion mingle,
Mingle ever. Motions flow
To one another, even as tho' [6]
They were modulated so
To an unheard melody,
Which lives about thee, and a sweep
Of richest pauses, evermore
Drawn from each other mellow-deep;
Who may express thee, Eleaenore?


I stand before thee, Eleanore;
I see thy beauty gradually unfold,
Daily and hourly, more and more.
I muse, as in a trance, the while
Slowly, as from a cloud of gold,
Comes out thy deep ambrosial smile. [7]
I muse, as in a trance, whene'er
The languors of thy love-deep eyes
Float on to me. _I_ would _I_ were
So tranced, so rapt in ecstacies,
To stand apart, and to adore,
Gazing on thee for evermore,
Serene, imperial Eleanore!


Sometimes, with most intensity
Gazing, I seem to see
Thought folded over thought, smiling asleep,
Slowly awaken'd, grow so full and deep
In thy large eyes, that, overpower'd quite,
I cannot veil, or droop my sight,
But am as nothing in its light:
As tho' [8] a star, in inmost heaven set,
Ev'n while we gaze on it,
Should slowly round his orb, and slowly grow
To a full face, there like a sun remain
Fix'd--then as slowly fade again,
And draw itself to what it was before;
So full, so deep, so slow,
Thought seems to come and go
In thy large eyes, imperial Eleanore.


As thunder-clouds that, hung on high,
Roof'd the world with doubt and fear, [9]
Floating thro' an evening atmosphere,
Grow golden all about the sky;
In thee all passion becomes passionless,
Touch'd by thy spirit's mellowness,
Losing his fire and active might
In a silent meditation,
Falling into a still delight,
And luxury of contemplation:
As waves that up a quiet cove
Rolling slide, and lying still
Shadow forth the banks at will: [10]
Or sometimes they swell and move,
Pressing up against the land,
With motions of the outer sea:
And the self-same influence
Controlleth all the soul and sense
Of Passion gazing upon thee.
His bow-string slacken'd, languid Love,
Leaning his cheek upon his hand, [11]
Droops both his wings, regarding thee,
And so would languish evermore,
Serene, imperial Eleaenore.


But when I see thee roam, with tresses unconfined,
While the amorous, odorous wind
Breathes low between the sunset and the moon;
Or, in a shadowy saloon,
On silken cushions half reclined;
I watch thy grace; and in its place
My heart a charmed slumber keeps, [12]
While I muse upon thy face;
And a languid fire creeps
Thro' my veins to all my frame,
Dissolvingly and slowly: soon
From thy rose-red lips MY name
Floweth; and then, as in a swoon, [13]
With dinning sound my ears are rife,
My tremulous tongue faltereth,
I lose my colour, I lose my breath,
I drink the cup of a costly death,
Brimm'd with delirious draughts of warmest life.
I die with my delight, before
I hear what I would hear from thee;
Yet tell my name again to me,
I _would_ [14] be dying evermore,
So dying ever, Eleaenore.

[Footnote 1: With the picture of Eleaenore may be compared the
description which Ibycus gives of Euryalus. See Bergk's 'Anthologia
Lyrica' (Ibycus), p. 396.]

[Footnote 2: With yellow banded bees 'cf'. Keats's "yellow girted bees,"
'Endymion', i. With this may be compared Pindar's beautiful picture of
lamus, who was also fed on honey, 'Olympian', vi., 50-80.]

[Footnote 3: 1833 and 1842. Through.]

[Footnote 4: Till 1857. Island.]

[Footnote 5: 1833. Meer.]

[Footnote 6: 1842 and 1843. Though.]

[Footnote 7: Ambrosial, the Greek sense of [Greek: ambrosios], divine.]

[Footnote 8: 1833 to 1851. Though.]

[Footnote 9: 1833. Did roof noonday with doubt and fear.]

[Footnote 10: 1833.

As waves that from the outer deep
Roll into a quiet cove,
There fall away, and lying still,
Having glorious dreams in sleep,
Shadow forth the banks at will.]

[Footnote 11: 'Cf.' Horace, 'Odes', iii., xxvii., 66-8:

Aderat querenti
Perfidum ridens Venus, et _remisso_
Filius _arcu_.]

[Footnote 12: 1833.

I gaze on thee the cloudless noon
Of mortal beauty.]

[Footnote 13: 1833. Then I faint, I swoon. The latter part of the eighth
stanza is little more than an adaptation of Sappho's famous Ode,
filtered perhaps through the version of Catullus.]

[Footnote 14: It is curious that a poet so scrupulous as Tennyson should
have retained to the last the italics.]


First published in 1833. It was greatly altered when republished in
1842, and in some respects, so Fitzgerald thought, not for the better.
No alterations of much importance were made in it after 1842. The
characters as well as the scenery were, it seems, purely imaginary.
Tennyson said that if he thought of any mill it was that of Trumpington,
near Cambridge, which bears a general resemblance to the picture here

In the first edition the poem opened with the following stanza, which
the 'Quarterly' ridiculed, and which was afterwards excised. Its
omission is surely not to be regretted, whatever Fitzgerald may have

I met in all the close green ways,
While walking with my line and rod,
The wealthy miller's mealy face,
Like the moon in an ivy-tod.
He looked so jolly and so good--
While fishing in the milldam-water,
I laughed to see him as he stood,
And dreamt not of the miller's daughter.

* * * * * *

I see the wealthy miller yet,
His double chin, his portly size,
And who that knew him could forget
The busy wrinkles round his eyes?
The slow wise smile that, round about
His dusty forehead drily curl'd,
Seem'd half-within and half-without,
And full of dealings with the world?

In yonder chair I see him sit,
Three fingers round the old silver cup--
I see his gray eyes twinkle yet
At his own jest--gray eyes lit up
With summer lightnings of a soul
So full of summer warmth, so glad,
So healthy, sound, and clear and whole,
His memory scarce can make me [1] sad.

Yet fill my glass: give me one kiss:
My own sweet [2] Alice, we must die.
There's somewhat in this world amiss
Shall be unriddled by and by.
There's somewhat flows to us in life,
But more is taken quite away.
Pray, Alice, pray, my darling wife, [3]
That we may die the self-same day.

Have I not found a happy earth?
I least should breathe a thought of pain.
Would God renew me from my birth
I'd almost live my life again.
So sweet it seems with thee to walk,
And once again to woo thee mine--
It seems in after-dinner talk
Across the walnuts and the wine--[4]

To be the long and listless boy
Late-left an orphan of the squire,
Where this old mansion mounted high
Looks down upon the village spire: [5]
For even here, [6] where I and you
Have lived and loved alone so long,
Each morn my sleep was broken thro'
By some wild skylark's matin song.

And oft I heard the tender dove
In firry woodlands making moan; [7]
But ere I saw your eyes, my love,
I had no motion of my own.
For scarce my life with fancy play'd
Before I dream'd that pleasant dream--
Still hither thither idly sway'd
Like those long mosses [8] in the stream.

Or from the bridge I lean'd to hear
The milldam rushing down with noise,
And see the minnows everywhere
In crystal eddies glance and poise,
The tall flag-flowers when [9] they sprung
Below the range of stepping-stones,
Or those three chestnuts near, that hung
In masses thick with milky cones. [10]

But, Alice, what an hour was that,
When after roving in the woods
('Twas April then), I came and sat
Below the chestnuts, when their buds
Were glistening to the breezy blue;
And on the slope, an absent fool,
I cast me down, nor thought of you,
But angled in the higher pool. [11]

A love-song I had somewhere read,
An echo from a measured strain,
Beat time to nothing in my head
From some odd corner of the brain.
It haunted me, the morning long,
With weary sameness in the rhymes,
The phantom of a silent song,
That went and came a thousand times.

Then leapt a trout. In lazy mood
I watch'd the little circles die;
They past into the level flood,
And there a vision caught my eye;
The reflex of a beauteous form,
A glowing arm, a gleaming neck,
As when a sunbeam wavers warm
Within the dark and dimpled beck. [12]

For you remember, you had set,
That morning, on the casement's edge [13]
A long green box of mignonette,
And you were leaning from the ledge:
And when I raised my eyes, above
They met with two so full and bright--
Such eyes! I swear to you, my love,
That these have never lost their light. [14]

I loved, and love dispell'd the fear
That I should die an early death:
For love possess'd the atmosphere,
And filled the breast with purer breath.
My mother thought, What ails the boy?
For I was alter'd, and began
To move about the house with joy,
And with the certain step of man.

I loved the brimming wave that swam
Thro' quiet meadows round the mill,
The sleepy pool above the dam,
The pool beneath it never still,
The meal-sacks on the whiten'd floor,
The dark round of the dripping wheel,
The very air about the door
Made misty with the floating meal.

And oft in ramblings on the wold,
When April nights begin to blow,
And April's crescent glimmer'd cold,
I saw the village lights below;
I knew your taper far away,
And full at heart of trembling hope,
From off the wold I came, and lay
Upon the freshly-flower'd slope. [15]

The deep brook groan'd beneath the mill;
And "by that lamp," I thought "she sits!"
The white chalk-quarry [16] from the hill
Gleam'd to the flying moon by fits.
"O that I were beside her now!
O will she answer if I call?
O would she give me vow for vow,
Sweet Alice, if I told her all?" [17]

Sometimes I saw you sit and spin;
And, in the pauses of the wind,
Sometimes I heard you sing within;
Sometimes your shadow cross'd the blind.
At last you rose and moved the light,
And the long shadow of the chair
Flitted across into the night,
And all the casement darken'd there.

But when at last I dared to speak,
The lanes, you know, were white with may,
Your ripe lips moved not, but your cheek
Flush'd like the coming of the day; [18]
And so it was--half-sly, half-shy, [19]
You would, and would not, little one!
Although I pleaded tenderly,
And you and I were all alone.

And slowly was my mother brought
To yield consent to my desire:
She wish'd me happy, but she thought
I might have look'd a little higher;
And I was young--too young to wed:
"Yet must I love her for your sake;
Go fetch your Alice here," she said:
Her eyelid quiver'd as she spake.

And down I went to fetch my bride:
But, Alice, you were ill at ease;
This dress and that by turns you tried,
Too fearful that you should not please.
I loved you better for your fears,
I knew you could not look but well;
And dews, that would have fall'n in tears,
I kiss'd away before they fell. [20]

I watch'd the little flutterings,
The doubt my mother would not see;
She spoke at large of many things,
And at the last she spoke of me;
And turning look'd upon your face,
As near this door you sat apart,
And rose, and, with a silent grace
Approaching, press'd you heart to heart. [21]

Ah, well--but sing the foolish song
I gave you, Alice, on the day [22]
When, arm in arm, we went along,
A pensive pair, and you were gay,
With bridal flowers--that I may seem,
As in the nights of old, to lie
Beside the mill-wheel in the stream,
While those full chestnuts whisper by. [23]

It is the miller's daughter,
And she is grown so dear, so dear,
That I would be the jewel
That trembles at [24] 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. [25]

And I would be the necklace,
And all day long to fall and rise [26]
Upon her balmy bosom,
With her laughter or her sighs,
And I would lie so light, so light, [27]
I scarce should be [28] unclasp'd at night.

A trifle, sweet! which true love spells
True love interprets--right alone.
His light upon the letter dwells,
For all the spirit is his own. [29]
So, if I waste words now, in truth
You must blame Love. His early rage
Had force to make me rhyme in youth
And makes me talk too much in age. [30]

And now those vivid hours are gone,
Like mine own life to me thou art,
Where Past and Present, wound in one,
Do make a garland for the heart:
So sing [31] that other song I made,
Half anger'd with my happy lot,
The day, when in the chestnut shade
I found the blue Forget-me-not. [32]

Love that hath us in the net, [33]
Can he pass, and we forget?
Many suns arise and set.
Many a chance the years beget.
Love the gift is Love the debt.
Even so.
Love is hurt with jar and fret.
Love is made a vague regret.
Eyes with idle tears are wet.
Idle habit links us yet.
What is love? for we forget:
Ah, no! no! [34]

Look thro' mine eyes with thine. True wife,
Round my true heart thine arms entwine;
My other dearer life in life,
Look thro' my very soul with thine!
Untouch'd with any shade of years,
May those kind eyes for ever dwell!
They have not shed a many tears,
Dear eyes, since first I knew them well.

Yet tears they shed: they had their part
Of sorrow: for when time was ripe,
The still affection of the heart
Became an outward breathing type,
That into stillness past again,
And left a want unknown before;
Although the loss that brought us pain,
That loss but made us love the more.

With farther lookings on. The kiss,
The woven arms, seem but to be
Weak symbols of the settled bliss,
The comfort, I have found in thee:
But that God bless thee, dear--who wrought
Two spirits to one equal mind--
With blessings beyond hope or thought,
With blessings which no words can find.

Arise, and let us wander forth,
To yon old mill across the wolds;
For look, the sunset, south and north, [35]
Winds all the vale in rosy folds,
And fires your narrow casement glass,
Touching the sullen pool below:
On the chalk-hill the bearded grass
Is dry and dewless. Let us go.

[Footnote 1: 1833. Scarce makes me.]

[Footnote 2: 1833. Darling.]

[Footnote 3: 1833. Own sweet wife.]

[Footnote 4: This stanza was added in 1842.]

[Footnote 5: 1833.

My father's mansion, mounted high
Looked down upon the village spire.
I was a long and listless boy,
And son and heir unto the squire.]

[Footnote 6: 1833. In these dear walls.]

[Footnote 7: 1833.

I often heard the cooing dove
In firry woodlands mourn alone.]

[Footnote 8: 1833. The long mosses.]

[Footnote 9: 1842-1851. Where.]

[Footnote 10: This stanza was added in 1842, taking the place of the
following which was excised:--

Sometimes I whistled in the wind,
Sometimes I angled, thought and deed
Torpid, as swallows left behind
That winter 'neath the floating weed:
At will to wander every way
From brook to brook my sole delight,
As lithe eels over meadows gray
Oft shift their glimmering pool by night.

In 1833 this stanza ran thus:--

I loved from off the bridge to hear
The rushing sound the water made,
And see the fish that everywhere
In the back-current glanced and played;
Low down the tall flag-flower that sprung
Beside the noisy stepping-stones,
And the massed chestnut boughs that hung
Thick-studded over with white cones,]

[Footnote 11: In 1833 the following took the place of the above stanza
which was added in 1842:--

How dear to me in youth, my love,
Was everything about the mill,
The black and silent pool above,
The pool beneath that ne'er stood still,
The meal sacks on the whitened floor,
The dark round of the dripping wheel,
The very air about the door--
Made misty with the floating meal!

Thus in 1833:--

Remember you that pleasant day
When, after roving in the woods,
('Twas April then) I came and lay
Beneath those gummy chestnut bud
That glistened in the April blue,
Upon the slope so smooth and cool,
I lay and never thought of _you_,
But angled in the deep mill pool.]

[Footnote 12: Thus in 1833:--

A water-rat from off the bank
Plunged in the stream. With idle care,
Downlooking thro' the sedges rank,
I saw your troubled image there.
Upon the dark and dimpled beck
It wandered like a floating light,
A full fair form, a warm white neck,
And two white arms--how rosy white!]

[Footnote 13: 1872. Casement-edge.]

[Footnote 14: Thus in 1833:--

If you remember, you had set
Upon the narrow casement-edge
A long green box of mignonette,
And you were leaning from the ledge.
I raised my eyes at once: above
They met two eyes so blue and bright,
Such eyes! I swear to you, my love,
That they have never lost their light.

After this stanza the following was inserted in 1833 but excised in

That slope beneath the chestnut tall
Is wooed with choicest breaths of air:
Methinks that I could tell you all
The cowslips and the kingcups there.
Each coltsfoot down the grassy bent,
Whose round leaves hold the gathered shower,
Each quaintly-folded cuckoo pint,
And silver-paly cuckoo flower.]

[Footnote 15: Thus in 1833:--

In rambling on the eastern wold,
When thro' the showery April nights
Their hueless crescent glimmered cold,
From all the other village lights
I knew your taper far away.
My heart was full of trembling hope,
Down from the wold I came and lay
Upon the dewy-swarded slope.]

[Footnote 16; Mr. Cuming Walters in his interesting volume 'In Tennyson
Land', p. 75, notices that the white chalk quarry at Thetford can be
seen from Stockworth Mill, which seems to show that if Tennyson did take
the mill from Trumpington he must also have had his mind on Thetford
Mill. Tennyson seems to have taken delight in baffling those who wished
to localise his scenes. He went out of his way to say that the
topographical studies of Messrs. Church and Napier were the only ones
which could he relied upon. But Mr. Cuming Walters' book is far more
satisfactory than their thin studies.]

[Footnote 17: Thus in 1833:--

The white chalk quarry from the hill
Upon the broken ripple gleamed,
I murmured lowly, sitting still,
While round my feet the eddy streamed:
"Oh! that I were the wreath she wreathes,
The mirror where her sight she feeds,
The song she sings, the air she breathes,
The letters of the books she reads".]

[Footnote 18: 1833.

I loved, but when I dared to speak
My love, the lanes were white with May
Your ripe lips moved not, but your cheek
Flushed like the coming of the day.]

[Footnote 19: 1833. Rosecheekt, roselipt, half-sly, half-shy.]

[Footnote 20: Cf. Milton, 'Paradise Lost';--

Two other precious drops that ready stood
He, ere they fell, kiss'd.]

[Footnote 21: These three stanzas were added in 1842, the following
being excised:--

Remember you the clear moonlight,
That whitened all the eastern ridge,
When o'er the water, dancing white,
I stepped upon the old mill-bridge.
I heard you whisper from above
A lute-toned whisper, "I am here";
I murmured, "Speak again, my love,
The stream is loud: I cannot hear ".

I heard, as I have seemed to hear,
When all the under-air was still,
The low voice of the glad new year
Call to the freshly-flowered hill.
I heard, as I have often heard
The nightingale in leavy woods
Call to its mate, when nothing stirred
To left or right but falling floods.]

[Footnote 22: 1842. I gave you on the joyful day.]

[Footnote 23: In 1833 the following stanza took the place of the one
here substituted in 1842:--

Come, Alice, sing to me the song
I made you on our marriage day,
When, arm in arm, we went along
Half-tearfully, and you were gay
With brooch and ring: for I shall seem,
The while you sing that song, to hear
The mill-wheel turning in the stream,
And the green chestnut whisper near.

In 1833 the song began thus, the present stanza taking its place in

I wish I were her earring,
Ambushed in auburn ringlets sleek,
(So might my shadow tremble
Over her downy cheek),
Hid in her hair, all day and night,
Touching her neck so warm and white.]

[Footnote 24: 1872. In.]

[Footnote 25: 1833.

I wish I were the girdle
Buckled about her dainty waist,
That her heart might beat against me,
In sorrow and in rest.
I should know well if it beat right,
I'd clasp it round so close and tight.

This stanza bears so close a resemblance to a stanza in Joshua
Sylvester's 'Woodman's Bear' (see Sylvester's 'Works', ed. 1641, p. 616)
that a correspondent asked Tennyson whether Sylvester had suggested it.
Tennyson replied that he had never seen Sylvester's lines ('Life of
Tennyson', iii., 51). The lines are:--

But her slender virgin waste
Made mee beare her girdle spight
Which the same by day imbrac't
Though it were cast off by night
That I wisht, I dare not say,
To be girdle night and day.

For other parallels see the present Editor's 'Illustrations of
Tennyson', p. 39.]

[Footnote 26: 1833.

I wish I were her necklace,
So might I ever fall and rise.]

[Footnote 27: 1833. So warm and light.]

[Footnote 28: 1833. I would not be.]

[Footnote 29: 1833.

For o'er each letter broods and dwells,
(Like light from running waters thrown
On flowery swaths) the blissful flame
Of his sweet eyes, that, day and night,
With pulses thrilling thro' his frame
Do inly tremble, starry bright.]

[Footnote 30: Thus in 1833:--

How I waste language--yet in truth
You must blame love, whose early rage
Made me a rhymster in my youth,
And over-garrulous in age.]

[Footnote 31: 1833. Sing me.]

[Footnote 32: 1833.

When in the breezy limewood-shade.
I found the blue forget-me-not.]

[Footnote 33: In 1833 the following song took the place of the song in
the text:--

All yesternight you met me not,
My ladylove, forget me not.
When I am gone, regret me not.
But, here or there, forget me not.
With your arched eyebrow threat me not,
And tremulous eyes, like April skies,
That seem to say, "forget me not,"
I pray you, love, forget me not.

In idle sorrow set me not;
Regret me not; forget me not;
Oh! leave me not: oh, let me not
Wear quite away;--forget me not.
With roguish laughter fret me not.
From dewy eyes, like April skies,
That ever _look_, "forget me not".
Blue as the blue forget-me-not.]

[Footnote 34: These two stanzas were added in 1842.]

[Footnote 35: 1833.

I've half a mind to walk, my love,
To the old mill across the wolds
For look! the sunset from above,]


First printed in 1833.

The 1833 edition has no title but this quotation from Sappho prefixed:--

'Phainetai moi kaenos isos theoisin Emmen anaer'--SAPPHO.

The title was prefixed in 1842; it is a name taken from 'The Arabian
Nights' or from the Moallakat. The poem was evidently inspired by
Sappho's great ode. 'Cf.' also Fragment I. of Ibycus. In the intensity
of the passion it stands alone among Tennyson's poems.

O Love, Love, Love! O withering might!
O sun, that from [1] thy noonday height
Shudderest when I strain my sight,
Throbbing thro' all thy heat and light,
Lo, falling from my constant mind,
Lo, parch'd and wither'd, deaf and blind,
I whirl like leaves in roaring wind.

Last night I wasted hateful hours
Below the city's eastern towers:
I thirsted for the brooks, the showers:
I roll'd among the tender flowers:
I crush'd them on my breast, my mouth:
I look'd athwart the burning drouth
Of that long desert to the south. [2]

Last night, when some one spoke his name, [3]
From my swift blood that went and came
A thousand little shafts of flame.
Were shiver'd in my narrow frame
O Love, O fire! once he drew
With one long kiss, my whole soul thro'
My lips, as sunlight drinketh dew. [4]

Before he mounts the hill, I know
He cometh quickly: from below
Sweet gales, as from deep gardens, blow
Before him, striking on my brow.
In my dry brain my spirit soon,
Down-deepening from swoon to swoon,
Faints like a dazzled morning moon.

The wind sounds like a silver wire,
And from beyond the noon a fire
Is pour'd upon the hills, and nigher
The skies stoop down in their desire;
And, isled in sudden seas of light,
My heart, pierced thro' with fierce delight,
Bursts into blossom in his sight.

My whole soul waiting silently,
All naked in a sultry sky,
Droops blinded with his shining eye:
I 'will' possess him or will die.
I will grow round him in his place,
Grow, live, die looking on his face,
Die, dying clasp'd in his embrace.

[Footnote 1: 1833. At.]

[Footnote 2: This stanza was added in 1842.]

[Footnote 3: 'Cf.' Byron, 'Occasional Pieces':--

They name thee before me A knell to mine ear, A shudder comes o'er me,
Why wert thou so dear?]

[Footnote 4: 'Cf,' Achilles Tatius, 'Clitophon and Leucippe', bk. i., I:

[Greek: 'AEde (psyche) tarachtheisa tps philaemati palletai, ei de
mae tois splagchnois in dedemenae aekolouthaesen an elkaetheisa ano tois

(Her soul, distracted by the kiss, throbs, and had it not been close
bound by the flesh would have followed, drawn upward by the kisses.)]


First published in 1833, On being republished in 1842 this poem was
practically rewritten, the alterations and additions so transforming the
poem as to make it almost a new work. I have therefore printed a
complete transcript of the edition of 1833, which the reader can
compare. The final text is, with the exception of one alteration which
will be noticed, precisely that of 1842, so there is no trouble with
variants. ''none' is the first of Tennyson's fine classical studies. The
poem is modelled partly on the Alexandrian Idyll, such an Idyll for
instance as the second Idyll of Theocritus or the 'Megara' or 'Europa'
of Moschus, and partly perhaps on the narratives in the 'Metamorphoses'
of Ovid, to which the opening bears a typical resemblance. It is
possible that the poem may have been suggested by Beattie's 'Judgment of
Paris' which tells the same story, and tells it on the same lines on
which it is told here, though it is not placed in the mouth of 'none.
Beattie's poem opens with an elaborate description of Ida and of Troy in
the distance. Paris, the husband of 'none, is one afternoon confronted
with the three goddesses who are, as in Tennyson's Idyll, elaborately
delineated as symbolising what they here symbolise. Each makes her
speech and each offers what she has to offer, worldly dominion, wisdom,
sensual pleasure. There is, of course, no comparison in point of merit
between the two poems, Beattie's being in truth perfectly commonplace.
In its symbolic aspect the poem may be compared with the temptations to
which Christ is submitted in 'Paradise Regained'. See books iii. and iv.

There lies a vale in Ida, lovelier [1]
Than all the valleys of Ionian hills.
The swimming vapour slopes athwart the glen,
Puts forth an arm, and creeps from pine to pine,
And loiters, slowly drawn. On either hand
The lawns and meadow-ledges midway down
Hang rich in flowers, and far below them roars
The long brook falling thro' the clov'n ravine
In cataract after cataract to the sea.
Behind the valley topmost Gargarus [2]
Stands up and takes the morning: but in front
The gorges, opening wide apart, reveal
Troas and Ilion's column'd citadel,
The crown of Troas.

Hither came at noon
Mournful 'none, wandering forlorn
Of Paris, once her playmate on the hills.
Her cheek had lost the rose, and round her neck
Floated her hair or seem'd to float in rest.
She, leaning on a fragment twined with vine,
Sang to the stillness, till the mountain-shade
Sloped downward to her seat from the upper cliff.

"O mother Ida, many-fountain'd [3] Ida,
Dear mother Ida, harken ere I die.
For now the noonday quiet holds the hill: [4]
The grasshopper is silent in the grass;
The lizard, with his shadow on the stone, [5]
Rests like a shadow, and the cicala sleeps. [6]
The purple flowers droop: the golden bee
Is lily-cradled: I alone awake.
My eyes are full of tears, my heart of love,
My heart is breaking, and my eyes are dim, [7]
And I am all aweary of my life.

"O mother Ida, many-fountain'd Ida,
Dear mother Ida, harken ere I die.
Hear me O Earth, hear me O Hills, O Caves
That house the cold crown'd snake! O mountain brooks,
I am the daughter of a River-God, [8]
Hear me, for I will speak, and build up all
My sorrow with my song, as yonder walls
Rose slowly to a music slowly breathed, [9]
A cloud that gather'd shape: for it may be
That, while I speak of it, a little while
My heart may wander from its deeper woe.

"O mother Ida, many-fountain'd Ida,
Dear mother Ida, harken ere I die.
I waited underneath the dawning hills,
Aloft the mountain lawn was dewy-dark,
And dewy-dark aloft the mountain pine:
Beautiful Paris, evil-hearted Paris,
Leading a jet-black goat white-horn'd, white-hooved,
Came up from reedy Simois [10] all alone.

"O mother Ida, harken ere I die.
Far-off the torrent call'd me from the cleft:
Far up the solitary morning smote
The streaks of virgin snow. With down-dropt eyes
I sat alone: white-breasted like a star
Fronting the dawn he moved; a leopard skin
Droop'd from his shoulder, but his sunny hair
Cluster'd about his temples like a God's;
And his cheek brighten'd as the foam-bow brightens
When the wind blows the foam, and all my heart
Went forth to embrace him coming ere he came.

"Dear mother Ida, harken ere I die.
He smiled, and opening out his milk-white palm
Disclosed a fruit of pure Hesperian gold,
That smelt ambrosially, and while I look'd
And listen'd, the full-flowing river of speech
Came down upon my heart.

"'My own 'none,
Beautiful-brow'd 'none, my own soul,
Behold this fruit, whose gleaming rind ingrav'n
"For the most fair," would seem to award it thine,
As lovelier than whatever Oread haunt
The knolls of Ida, loveliest in all grace
Of movement, and the charm of married brows.'[11]

"Dear mother Ida, harken ere I die.
He prest the blossom of his lips to mine,
And added 'This was cast upon the board,
When all the full-faced presence of the Gods
Ranged in the halls of Peleus; whereupon
Rose feud, with question unto whom 'twere due:
But light-foot Iris brought it yester-eve,
Delivering, that to me, by common voice
Elected umpire, Here comes to-day,
Pallas and Aphrodite, claiming each
This meed of fairest. Thou, within the cave
Behind yon whispering tuft of oldest pine,
Mayst well behold them unbeheld, unheard
Hear all, and see thy Paris judge of Gods.'

"Dear mother Ida, harken ere I die.
It was the deep midnoon: one silvery cloud
Had lost his way between the piney sides
Of this long glen. Then to the bower they came,
Naked they came to that smooth-swarded bower,
And at their feet the crocus brake like fire,[12]
Violet, amaracus, and asphodel,
Lotos and lilies: and a wind arose,
And overhead the wandering ivy and vine,
This way and that, in many a wild festoon
Ran riot, garlanding the gnarled boughs
With bunch and berry and flower thro' and thro'.

"O mother Ida, harken ere I die.
On the tree-tops a crested peacock lit,
And o'er him flow'd a golden cloud, and lean'd
Upon him, slowing dropping fragrant dew.
Then first I heard the voice of her, to whom
Coming thro' Heaven, like a light that grows
Larger and clearer, with one mind the Gods
Rise up for reverence. She to Paris made
Proffer of royal power, ample rule
Unquestion'd, overflowing revenue
Wherewith to embellish state, 'from many a vale
And river-sunder'd champaign clothed with corn,
Or labour'd mines undrainable of ore.
Honour,' she said, 'and homage, tax and toll,
From many an inland town and haven large,
Mast-throng'd beneath her shadowing citadel
In glassy bays among her tallest towers.'

"O mother Ida, harken ere I die.
Still she spake on and still she spake of power,
'Which in all action is the end of all;
Power fitted to the season; wisdom-bred
And throned of wisdom--from all neighbour crowns
Alliance and allegiance, till thy hand
Fail from the sceptre staff. Such boon from me,
From me, Heaven's Queen, Paris to thee king-born,
A shepherd all thy life but yet king-born,
Should come most welcome, seeing men, in power
Only, are likest gods, who have attain'd
Rest in a happy place and quiet seats
Above the thunder, with undying bliss
In knowledge of their own supremacy.'

"Dear mother Ida, harken ere I die.
She ceased, and Paris held the costly fruit
Out at arm's-length, so much the thought of power
Flatter'd his spirit; but Pallas where she stood
Somewhat apart, her clear and bared limbs
O'erthwarted with the brazen-headed spear
Upon her pearly shoulder leaning cold,
The while, above, her full and earnest eye
Over her snow-cold breast and angry cheek [13]
Kept watch, waiting decision, made reply.

"'Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control,
These three alone lead life to sovereign power.
Yet not for power, (power of herself
Would come uncall'd for) but to live by law,
Acting the law we live by without fear;
And, because right is right, to follow right [14]
Were wisdom in the scorn of consequence.'

"Dear mother Ida, harken ere I die.
Again she said: 'I woo thee not with gifts.
Sequel of guerdon could not alter me
To fairer. Judge thou me by what I am,
So shalt thou find me fairest. Yet indeed,

If gazing on divinity disrobed
Thy mortal eyes are frail to judge of fair,
Unbiass'd by self-profit, oh! rest thee sure
That I shall love thee well and cleave to thee,

So that my vigour, wedded to thy blood, [15]
Shall strike within thy pulses, like a God's,
To push thee forward thro' a life of shocks,
Dangers, and deeds, until endurance grow
Sinew'd with action, and the full-grown will.
Circled thro' all experiences, pure law,
Commeasure perfect freedom.' "Here she ceased,
And Paris ponder'd, and I cried, 'O Paris,
Give it to Pallas!' but he heard me not,
Or hearing would not hear me, woe is me!

"O mother Ida, many-fountain'd Ida.
Dear mother Ida, harken ere I die.
Idalian Aphrodite, beautiful,
Fresh as the foam, new-bathed in Paphian [16] wells,
With rosy slender fingers backward drew
From her warm brows and bosom [17] her deep hair
Ambrosial, golden round her lucid throat
And shoulder: from the violets her light foot
Shone rosy-white, and o'er her rounded form
Between the shadows of the vine-bunches
Floated the glowing sunlights, as she moved.

"Dear mother Ida, harken ere I die.
She with a subtle smile in her mild eyes,
The herald of her triumph, drawing nigh
Half-whisper'd in his ear, 'I promise thee
The fairest and most loving wife in Greece'.
She spoke and laugh'd: I shut my sight for fear:
But when I look'd, Paris had raised his arm,
And I beheld great Here's angry eyes,
As she withdrew into the golden cloud,
And I was left alone within the bower;
And from that time to this I am alone,
And I shall be alone until I die.

"Yet, mother Ida, harken ere I die.
Fairest--why fairest wife? am I not fair?
My love hath told me so a thousand times.
Methinks I must be fair, for yesterday,
When I past by, a wild and wanton pard,
Eyed like the evening star, with playful tail
Crouch'd fawning in the weed. Most loving is she?
Ah me, my mountain shepherd, that my arms
Were wound about thee, and my hot lips prest
Close, close to thine in that quick-falling dew
Of fruitful kisses, thick as Autumn rains
Flash in the pools of whirling Simois.

"O mother, hear me yet before I die.
They came, they cut away my tallest pines,
My dark tall pines, that plumed the craggy ledge
High over the blue gorge, and all between
The snowy peak and snow-white cataract
Foster'd the callow eaglet--from beneath
Whose thick mysterious boughs in the dark morn
The panther's roar came muffled, while I sat
Low in the valley. Never, never more
Shall lone 'none see the morning mist
Sweep thro' them; never see them overlaid
With narrow moon-lit slips of silver cloud,
Between the loud stream and the trembling stars.

"O mother, here me yet before I die.
I wish that somewhere in the ruin'd folds,
Among the fragments tumbled from the glens,
Or the dry thickets, I could meet with her,
The Abominable, [18] that uninvited came
Into the fair Peleian banquet-hall,
And cast the golden fruit upon the board,
And bred this change; that I might speak my mind,
And tell her to her face how much I hate
Her presence, hated both of Gods and men.

"O mother, here me yet before I die.
Hath he not sworn his love a thousand times,
In this green valley, under this green hill,
Ev'n on this hand, and sitting on this stone?
Seal'd it with kisses? water'd it with tears?
O happy tears, and how unlike to these!
O happy Heaven, how canst thou see my face?
O happy earth, how canst thou bear my weight?
O death, death, death, thou ever-floating cloud,
There are enough unhappy on this earth,
Pass by the happy souls, that love to live:
I pray thee, pass before my light of life,
And shadow all my soul, that I may die.
Thou weighest heavy on the heart within,
Weigh heavy on my eyelids: let me die.

"O mother, hear me yet before I die.
I will not die alone, for fiery thoughts
Do shape themselves within me, more and more,
Whereof I catch the issue, as I hear
Dead sounds at night come from the inmost hills,
Like footsteps upon wool. I dimly see
My far-off doubtful purpose, as a mother
Conjectures of the features of her child
Ere it is born: her child!--a shudder comes
Across me: never child be born of me,
Unblest, to vex me with his father's eyes!

"O mother, hear me yet before I die.

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