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Tennyson, Alfred Lord

· Maud by Alfred Tennyson · Alfred Lord Tennyson: The Charge of the Light Brigade · Alfred Lord Tennyson: The Deserted House · Alfred Lord TENNYSON: Beauty · ALFRED LORD TENNYSON: THE BROOK · Vertaling van Alfred Lord Tennyson’s The Lady Of Shalott door Cornelis W. Schoneveld · Alfred Lord Tennyson: Nothing will die · Alfred Lord Tennyson: All things will die · Alfred Lord Tennyson: The Talking Oak · Alfred Lord Tennyson: The Ballad of Oriana · Alfred Lord Tennyson: Godiva · Alfred Lord Tennyson: The Beggar Maid

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Maud by Alfred Tennyson



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alfred Lord Tennyson
(1809 – 1892)
Published in 1855.

• magazine

More in: Archive S-T, Archive S-T, Tennyson, Alfred Lord

Alfred Lord Tennyson: The Charge of the Light Brigade

The Charge
of the Light Brigade

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!” he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

“Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismay’d?
Not tho’ the soldier knew
Some one had blunder’d:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

Flash’d all their sabres bare,
Flash’d as they turn’d in air
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wonder’d:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro’ the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel’d from the sabre-stroke
Shatter’d and sunder’d.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro’ the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wonder’d.
Honor the charge they made!
Honor the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!

Alfred Lord Tennyson
The Charge of the Light Brigade

• magazine

More in: *War Poetry Archive, Archive S-T, Archive S-T, Tennyson, Alfred Lord

Alfred Lord Tennyson: The Deserted House


Alfred Lord Tennyson
(1809 – 1892)

The Deserted House

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

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

Close the door; the shutters close;
Or through the windows we shall see
The nakedness and vacancy
Of the dark deserted house.

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.

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!

Alfred Lord Tennyson magazine

More in: Archive S-T, Tennyson, Alfred Lord

Alfred Lord TENNYSON: Beauty


Alfred Lord Tennyson
(1809 – 1892)


Oh, Beauty, passing beauty! sweetest Sweet!
How canst thou let me waste my youth in sighs;
I only ask to sit beside thy feet.
Thou knowest I dare not look into thine eyes,
Might I but kiss thy hand! I dare not fold
My arms about thee—scarcely dare to speak.
And nothing seems to me so wild and bold,
As with one kiss to touch thy blessèd cheek.
Methinks if I should kiss thee, no control
Within the thrilling brain could keep afloat
The subtle spirit. Even while I spoke,
The bare word KISS hath made my inner soul
To tremble like a lutestring, ere the note
Hath melted in the silence that it broke.

Alfred Lord Tennyson magazine

More in: Archive S-T, Tennyson, Alfred Lord


fleursdumal 107

Alfred Lord Tennyson

The Brook

I come from haunts of coot and hern,
I make a sudden sally
And sparkle out among the fern,
To bicker down a valley.

By thirty hills I hurry down,
Or slip between the ridges,
By twenty thorpes, a little town,
And half a hundred bridges.

Till last by Philip’s farm I flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

I chatter over stony ways,
In little sharps and trebles,
I bubble into eddying bays,
I babble on the pebbles.

With many a curve my banks I fret
By many a field and fallow,
And many a fairy foreland set
With willow-weed and mallow.

I chatter, chatter, as I flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

I wind about, and in and out,
With here a blossom sailing,
And here and there a lusty trout,
And here and there a grayling,

And here and there a foamy flake
Upon me, as I travel
With many a silvery waterbreak
Above the golden gravel,

And draw them all along, and flow
To join the brimming river
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

I steal by lawns and grassy plots,
I slide by hazel covers;
I move the sweet forget-me-nots
That grow for happy lovers.

I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance,
Among my skimming swallows;
I make the netted sunbeam dance
Against my sandy shallows.

I murmur under moon and stars
In brambly wildernesses;
I linger by my shingly bars;
I loiter round my cresses;

And out again I curve and flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

Alfred Lord Tennyson poetry magazine

More in: Archive S-T, Tennyson, Alfred Lord

Vertaling van Alfred Lord Tennyson’s The Lady Of Shalott door Cornelis W. Schoneveld

J.W. Waterhouse: The lady of Shalott (1888)

Alfred Lord Tennyson



The Lady Of Shalott


On either side the river lie

Long fields of barley and of rye,

That clothe the wold and meet the sky;

And through the field the road runs by

To many-tower’d Camelot;

And up and down the people go,

Gazing where the lilies blow

Round an island there below,

The island of Shalott.


Willows whiten, aspens quiver,

Little breezes dusk and shiver

Through the wave that runs for ever

By the island in the river

Flowing down to Camelot.

Four grey walls, and four grey towers,

Overlook a space of flowers,

And the silent isle embowers

The Lady of Shalott.


By the margin, willow-veil’d,

Slide the heavy barges trail’d

By slow horses; and unhailed

The shallop flitteth, silken-sail’d

Skimming down to Camelot

Yet who hath seen her wave her hand?

Or at the casement seen her stand?

Or is she know in all the land,

The Lady of Shalott?


Only reapers, reaping early,

In among the beared barley

Hear a song that echoes cheerly

From the river winding clearly,

Down to towered Camelot:

And by the moon the reaper weary,

Piling sheaves in uplands airy,

Listening, whispers, ” ‘Tis the fairy

Lady of Shalott.”



There she weaves by night and day

A magic web with colours gay.

She has heard a whisper say,

A curse is on her if she stay

To look down to Camelot.

She knows not what the curse may be,

And so she weaveth steadily,

And little other care hath she,

The Lady of Shalott.


And moving through a mirror clear

That hangs before her all the year,

Shadows of the world appear.

There she sees the highway near

Winding down to Camelot;

There the river eddy whirls,

And there the surly village churls,

And the red cloaks of market girls

Pass onward from Shalott.


Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,

An abbot on an ambling pad,

Sometimes a curly shepherd lad,

Or long-hair’d page in crimson clad,

Goes by to tower’d Camelot;

And sometimes through 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 through the silent nights

A funeral, with plumes and lights

And music, went to Camelot:

Or when the Moon was overhead,

Came two young lovers lately wed;

“I am half sick of shadows,” said

The Lady of Shalott.



A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,

He rode between the barley sheaves,

The sun came dazzling thro’ the leaves,

And flamed upon the brazen greaves

Of bold Sir Lancelot.

A red-cross knight for ever kneeled

To a lady in his shield,

That sparkled on the yellow field,

Beside remote Shalott.


The gemmy bridle glitter’d free,

Like to some branch of stars we see

Hung in the golden Galaxy.

The bridle bells rang merrily

As he rode down to Camelot:

And from his blazon’d baldric slung

A mighty silver bugle hung,

And as he rode his armor rung

Beside remote Shalott.


All in the blue unclouded weather

Thick-jewell’d shone the saddle-leather,

The helmet and the helmet-feather

Burn’d like one burning flame together,

As he rode down to Camelot.

As often thro’ the purple night,

Below the starry clusters bright,

Some bearded meteor, trailing light,

Moves over still Shalott.


His broad clear brow in sunlight glow’d;

On burnish’d hooves his war-horse trode;

From underneath his helmet flow’d

His coal-black curls as on he rode,

As he rode down to Camelot.

From the bank and from the river

He flashed into the crystal mirror,

“Tirra lirra,” by the river

Sang Sir Lancelot.


She left the web, she left the loom,

She made three paces through the room,

She saw the water-lily bloom,

She saw the helmet and the plume,

She look’d down to Camelot.

Out flew the web and floated wide;

The mirror crack’d from side to side;

“The curse is come upon me,” cried

The Lady of Shalott.



In the stormy east-wind straining,

The pale yellow woods were waning,

The broad stream in his banks complaining.

Heavily the low sky raining

Over tower’d Camelot;

Down she came and found a boat

Beneath a willow left afloat,

And around about the prow she wrote

The Lady of Shalott.


And down the river’s dim expanse

Like some bold seer in a trance,

Seeing all his own mischance —

With a glassy countenance

Did she look to Camelot.

And at the closing of the day

She loosed the chain, and down she lay;

The broad stream bore her far away,

The Lady of Shalott.


Lying, robed in snowy white

That loosely flew to left and right —

The leaves upon her falling light —

Thro’ the noises of the night,

She floated down to Camelot:

And as the boat-head wound along

The willowy hills and fields among,

They heard her singing her last song,

The Lady of Shalott.


Heard a carol, mournful, holy,

Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,

Till her blood was frozen slowly,

And her eyes were darkened wholly,

Turn’d to tower’d Camelot.

For ere she reach’d upon the tide

The first house by the water-side,

Singing in her song she died,

The Lady of Shalott.


Under tower and balcony,

By garden-wall and gallery,

A gleaming shape she floated by,

Dead-pale between the houses high,

Silent into Camelot.

Out upon the wharfs they came,

Knight and burgher, lord and dame,

And around the prow they read her name,

The Lady of Shalott.


Who is this? And what is here?

And in the lighted palace near

Died the sound of royal cheer;

And they crossed themselves for fear,

All the Knights at Camelot;

But Lancelot mused a little space

He said, “She has a lovely face;

God in his mercy lend her grace,

The Lady of Shalott.”



Alfred Lord Tennyson

De Jonkvrouw van Shalot



Langs beide waterkanten staan

De velden vol met rijpend graan;

Zij kleden land en luchten aan,

En dwars erdoor slingert een laan

Naar ‘t torenrijke Camelot;

En mensen trekken heen en weer;

Zij blikken in bewondering neer

Op ‘t eiland daar met lelies teer,

Het eiland van Shalot.



Door de briesjes meegenomen

Trilt het blad van espenbomen,

En de golven gaan en komen

Als ze langs het eiland stromen

Op hun weg naar Camelot.

Tussen grijze torenmuren,

Waartegen vele bloemen schuren,

Zit de stilte te verduren

De Jonkvrouw van Shalot.



Aan de oever wilgbeplant

Trekt het paard traag langs de kant

Een zware bark; ver van de rand

Zeilt er een sloep met zijden want

Voor de wind naar Camelot:

Wie zag haar wuiven met haar hand?

Of staan nabij de vensterrand?

En kent men haar wel in het land,

De Jonkvrouw van Shalot?



Slechts de maaier van het koren

Kan in ‘t vroege ochtendgloren

Helder klinkend zingen horen

Echoënd vanaf de toren,

Naar het transrijk Camelot:

En als hij moe en traag in ‘t maanlicht

In de akker schoven opricht,

Luistert hij en zegt: “dit elf-wicht

Is jonkvrouw van Shalot.”




Binnen weeft zij, dag en nacht,

Een magisch web vol kleurenpracht.

Eens zei daar een stem haar zacht,

Dat haar een vloek treft als zij dacht

Uit te zien naar Camelot.

De aard der vloek werd niet gehoord,

Dus weeft zij steeds gestadig voort,

Door weinig andere zorg verstoord,

De Jonkvrouw van Shalot.



En in een heldere spiegel daar

Die voor haar hangt door ‘t hele jaar,

Vertoont in schaduw zich aan haar

De wereld, en maakt haar gewaar

De weg die leidt naar Camelot:

Kolkend loost de stroom zijn last,

En kerels, boers, onaangepast,

En marketentsters, roodgejast,

Gaan langs vanuit Shalot.



Soms ook meisjes blij van aard,

Een abt traag sjokkend op zijn paard,

Een herdersknecht met krullenbaard,

Een page in ‘t rood en lang gehaard,

Gaan daar voorbij naar Camelot;

Soms ziet zij in haar spiegelbaan

Edelen te paard getweeën gaan;

Trouw bood geen ridder haar ooit aan,

De Jonkvrouw van Shalot.



Maar in haar web weeft zij nog blij

Een spiegelbeeld, al ging ‘t voorbij,

Want vaak trok ‘s nachts in ‘t stil getij

Een lijkstoet langs, in lichte rij

En met muziek, naar Camelot;

Maar eens bij nacht en heldere maan,

Kwam er een jeugdig bruidspaar aan:

Toen sprak, “Door schaduw ben ‘k ontdaan,”

De Jonkvrouw van Shalot.




Een pijlschot af van waar zij was

Bij ‘t raam, reed hij door graan en vlas;

Fel scheen de zon door het gewas,

En vlamde op ‘t brons van het kuras

Van dappere Heer Lancelot.

Een kruistochtridder lag geknield

Voor ‘n jonkvrouw op zijn schild,

Dat straalde als hij ‘t voor zich hield,

Ver weg daar bij Shalot.



De leidselparels blonken vrij

Als sterren die zich voegen bij

De gouden straal der Melkweg rij.

De teugelbellen luidden blij,

Terwijl hij reed naar Camelot.

En van zijn schouderband en flank

Hing een signaalhoorn zilverblank;

Te paard, weerklonk de harnasklank,

Ver weg daar bij Shalot.



En in het wolkvrij blauwe weer

Glom sieraadrijk het zadelleer,

Met fraaie helm,en helmenveer

Gedrieën vlammend eens te meer,

Terwijl hij reed naar Camelot.

Zoals zo vaak bij purperen nacht,

Een luchtsteen, die in sterrenpracht

Gehuld, een lichtstaart met zich bracht,

Schiet over stil Shalot.



De zon beschijnt zijn stoer gelaat;

De strijdros hoef flitst in de maat;

Zwart krullend haar in overdaad

Ontsnapt zijn helm, als hij daar gaat

De heirweg af naar Camelot.

In de spiegel, via ‘t water,

Ontstonden flitsen en geklater,

Want: “Latiere-liere-later”

Zong Heer Lancelot.



Ze spon en weefde nu niet meer,

Ze trad naar ‘t raam, en keek daar neer,

Ze zag de waterlelies teer,

Ze zag de helm en helmenveer,

Zij keek uit naar Camelot.

Weg vloog het web, en dreef ver heen;

De spiegel spatte plots uiteen;

“De vloek is hier,” kreet in geween

De Jonkvrouw van Shalot.




In de Ooster stormwind zwaaiend

Taande ‘t bleke woud verwaaiend,

Klaagde ‘t water heftig draaiend,

Sloeg de regen onrust zaaiend

Neer op ‘t transrijk Camelot;

Zij daalde af en vond een boot

Aan ‘n wilg bevestigd met zijn schoot,

En om de boeg heen schreef zij groot:

“De Jonkvrouw van Shalot”.



En langs het schimmig watervlak –

Gelijk een visionair, in zak

En as, toen voorspoed hem ontbrak-

Wierp zij met oog verglaasd en strak

Blikken richting Camelot.

De avond eenmaal ingeluid,

Viert zij de schoot, en strekt zich uit,

Dan drijft zij weg door niets gestuit,

De Jonkvrouw van Shalot.



Liggend, in sneeuwwitte dracht

Los zwevend, en op niets verdacht –

Bladeren haar rakend licht en zacht –

Dreef zij door klanken van de nacht

Het water af naar Camelot:

Terwijl de boot zich leiden liet

Langs wilgenveld en berggebied,

Zong nog haar allerlaatste lied

De Jonkvrouw van Shalot.



Verzen klonken, vroom en klagend,

Schallend soms, vaak niet ver dragend,

Tot, haar hartslag zich vertragend,

En in haar oog het licht vervagend,

Zij verscheen in Camelot.

Bij ‘t eerste huis waar in ‘t getij

Zij aankwam aan de kade-zij,

Stierf, haar zingen nu voorbij,

De Jonkvrouw van Shalot.



Langs tuin- en torenmuur van steen,

Balkon na galerij, aaneen,

Dreef zij zo, als een schim, alleen

En lijkbleek, langs de huizen heen,

Doodstil binnen Camelot.

Naar de kade kwam al gauw,

Ridder, burger, heer en vrouw;

Zij lazen daar voorop de schouw:

“De Jonkvrouw van Shalot”.



Wie is zij toch? Wat is dat hier?

En in het slot vol van vertier

Verstomde ‘t koninklijk plezier;

En kruisen sloeg, eer bang dan fier,

Het ridderdom van Camelot.

Maar Lancelot was niet ontwricht:

Hij zei, “Zij heeft een mooi gezicht;

God lone haar in zijn gericht,

De Jonkvrouw van Shalot.”


Vertaling Cornelis W. Schoneveld

Opgenomen in: Klankrijk en vol furie, 27 verhalende en beschouwende Engelse gedichten uit de 16e -19e eeuw.

Vertaald en toegelicht door Cornelis W. Schoneveld, Boekwinkeltjes-reeks, Assen – ISBN 9789087480004 / NUR 306


Alfred Lord Tennyson: The Lady Of Shalott (1842 Version) poetry magazine

More in: Archive S-T, Tennyson, Tennyson, Alfred Lord

Alfred Lord Tennyson: Nothing will die

Alfred Lord Tennyson



Nothing will die


When will the stream be aweary of flowing

Under my eye?

When will the wind be aweary of blowing

Over the sky?

When will the clouds be aweary of fleeting?

When will the heart be aweary of beating?

And nature die?

Never, oh! never, nothing will die?

The stream flows,

The wind blows,

The cloud fleets,

The heart beats,

Nothing will die.


Nothing will die;

All things will change

Through eternity.

‘Tis the world’s winter;

Autumn and summer

Are gone long ago;

Earth is dry to the centre,

But spring, a new comer,

A spring rich and strange,

Shall make the winds blow

Round and round,

Through and through,

Here and there,

Till the air

And the ground

Shall be filled with life anew.


The world was never made;

It will change, but it will not fade.

So let the wind range;

For even and morn

Ever will be

Through eternity.

Nothing was born;

Nothing will die;

All things will change.


Alfred Lord Tennyson poetry

kempis poetry magazine

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Alfred Lord Tennyson: All things will die

Alfred Lord Tennyson



All things will die


Clearly the blue river chimes in its flowing

Under my eye;

Warmly and broadly the south winds are blowing

Over the sky.

One after another the white clouds are fleeting;

Every heart this May morning in joyance is beating

Full merrily;

Yet all things must die.

The stream will cease to flow;

The wind will cease to blow;

The clouds will cease to fleet;

The heart will cease to beat;

For all things must die.


All things must die.

Spring will come never more.

Oh! vanity!

Death waits at the door.

See! our friends are all forsaking

The wine and the merrymaking.

We are called–we must go.

Laid low, very low,

In the dark we must lie.

The merry glees are still;

The voice of the bird

Shall no more be heard,

Nor the wind on the hill.

Oh! misery!

Hark! death is calling

While I speak to ye,

The jaw is falling,

The red cheek paling,

The strong limbs failing;

Ice with the warm blood mixing;

The eyeballs fixing.

Nine times goes the passing bell:

Ye merry souls, farewell.

The old earth

Had a birth,

As all men know,

Long ago.

And the old earth must die.

So let the warm winds range,

And the blue wave beat the shore;

For even and morn

Ye will never see

Through eternity.

All things were born.

Ye will come never more,

For all things must die.


Alfred Lord Tennyson poetry

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Alfred Lord Tennyson: The Talking Oak

Alfred Lord Tennyson



T h e   T a l k i n g   O a k

Once more the gate behind me falls;

Once more before my face

I see the moulder’d Abbey-walls,

That stand within the chace.


Beyond the lodge the city lies,

Beneath its drift of smoke;

And ah! with what delighted eyes

I turn to yonder oak.


For when my passion first began,

Ere that, which in me burn’d,

The love, that makes me thrice a man,

Could hope itself return’d;


To yonder oak within the field

I spoke without restraint,

And with a larger faith appeal’d

Than Papist unto Saint.


For oft I talk’d with him apart,

And told him of my choice,

Until he plagiarised a heart,

And answer’d with a voice.


Tho’ what he whisper’d, under Heaven

None else could understand;

I found him garrulously given,

A babbler in the land.


But since I heard him make reply

Is many a weary hour;

‘Twere well to question him, and try

If yet he keeps the power.


Hail, hidden to the knees in fern,

Broad Oak of Sumner-chace,

Whose topmost branches can discern

The roofs of Sumner-place!


Say thou, whereon I carved her name,

If ever maid or spouse,

As fair as my Olivia, came

To rest beneath thy boughs.–


"O Walter, I have shelter’d here

Whatever maiden grace

The good old Summers, year by year,

Made ripe in Sumner-chace:


"Old Summers, when the monk was fat,

And, issuing shorn and sleek,

Would twist his girdle tight, and pat

The girls upon the cheek.


"Ere yet, in scorn of Peter’s-pence,

And number’d bead, and shrift,

Bluff Harry broke into the spence,

And turn’d the cowls adrift:


"And I have seen some score of those

Fresh faces, that would thrive

When his man-minded offset rose

To chase the deer at five;


"And all that from the town would stroll,

Till that wild wind made work

In which the gloomy brewer’s soul

Went by me, like a stork:


"The slight she-slips of loyal blood,

And others, passing praise,

Strait-laced, but all too full in bud

For puritanic stays:


"And I have shadow’d many a group

Of beauties, that were born

In teacup-times of hood and hoop,

Or while the patch was worn;


"And, leg and arm with love-knots gay,

About me leap’d and laugh’d

The Modish Cupid of the day,

And shrill’d his tinsel shaft.


"I swear (and else may insects prick

Each leaf into a gall)

This girl, for whom your heart is sick,

Is three times worth them all;


"For those and theirs, by Nature’s law,

Have faded long ago;

But in these latter springs I saw

Your own Olivia blow,


"From when she gamboll’d on the greens,

A baby-germ, to when

The maiden blossoms of her teens

Could number five from ten.


"I swear, by leaf, and wind, and rain

(And hear me with thine ears),

That, tho’ I circle in the grain

Five hundred rings of years–


"Yet, since I first could cast a shade,

Did never creature pass

So slightly, musically made,

So light upon the grass:


"For as to fairies, that will flit

To make the greensward fresh,

I hold them exquisitely knit,

But far too spare of flesh."


Oh, hide thy knotted knees in fern,

And overlook the chace;

And from thy topmost branch discern

The roofs of Sumner-place.


But thou, whereon I carved her name,

That oft hast heard my vows,

Declare when last Olivia came

To sport beneath thy boughs.


"O yesterday, you know, the fair

Was holden at the town;

Her father left his good arm-chair,

And rode his hunter down.


"And with him Albert came on his.

I look’d at him with joy:

As cowslip unto oxlip is,

So seems she to the boy.


"An hour had past–and, sitting straight

Within the low-wheel’d chaise,

Her mother trundled to the gate

Behind the dappled grays.


"But, as for her, she stay’d at home,

And on the roof she went,

And down the way you use to come,

She look’d with discontent.


"She left the novel half-uncut

Upon the rosewood shelf;

She left the new piano shut:

She could not please herself.


"Then ran she, gamesome as the colt,

And livelier than a lark

She sent her voice thro’ all the holt

Before her, and the park.


"A light wind chased her on the wing,

And in the chase grew wild,

As close as might be would he cling

About the darling child:


"But light as any wind that blows

So fleetly did she stir,

The flower she touch’d on dipt and rose,

And turn’d to look at her.


"And here she came, and round me play’d,

And sang to me the whole

Of those three stanzas that you made

About my ‘giant bole’;


"And in a fit of frolic mirth

She strove to span my waist:

Alas, I was so broad of girth,

I could not be embraced.


"I wish’d myself the fair young beech

That here beside me stands,

That round me, clasping each in each,

She might have lock’d her hands.


"Yet seem’d the pressure thrice as sweet

As woodbine’s fragile hold,

Or when I feel about my feet

The berried briony fold."


O muffle round thy knees with fern,

And shadow Sumner-chace!

Long may thy topmost branch discern

The roofs of Sumner-place!


But tell me, did she read the name

I carved with many vows

When last with throbbing heart I came

To rest beneath thy boughs?


"O yes, she wander’d round and round

These knotted knees of mine,

And found, and kiss’d the name she found,

And sweetly murmur’d thine.


"A teardrop trembled from its source,

And down my surface crept.

My sense of touch is something coarse,

But I believe she wept.


"Then flush’d her cheek with rosy light,

She glanced across the plain;

But not a creature was in sight:

She kiss’d me once again.


"Her kisses were so close and kind,

That, trust me on my word,

Hard wood I am, and wrinkled rind,

But yet my sap was stirr’d:


"And even into my inmost ring

A pleasure I discern’d

Like those blind motions of the Spring,

That show the year is turn’d.


"Thrice-happy he that may caress

The ringlet’s waving balm

The cushions of whose touch may press

The maiden’s tender palm.


"I, rooted here among the groves,

But languidly adjust

My vapid vegetable loves

With anthers and with dust:


"For, ah! my friend, the days were brief

Whereof the poets talk,

When that, which breathes within the leaf,

Could slip its bark and walk.


"But could I, as in times foregone,

From spray, and branch, and stem,

Have suck’d and gather’d into one

The life that spreads in them,


"She had not found me so remiss;

But lightly issuing thro’,

I would have paid her kiss for kiss

With usury thereto."


O flourish high, with leafy towers,

And overlook the lea,

Pursue thy loves among the bowers,

But leave thou mine to me.


O flourish, hidden deep in fern,

Old oak, I love thee well;

A thousand thanks for what I learn

And what remains to tell.


"’Tis little more: the day was warm;

At last, tired out with play,

She sank her head upon her arm,

And at my feet she lay.


"Her eyelids dropp’d their silken eaves.

I breathed upon her eyes

Thro’ all the summer of my leaves

A welcome mix’d with sighs.


"I took the swarming sound of life–

The music from the town–

The murmurs of the drum and fife

And lull’d them in my own.


"Sometimes I let a sunbeam slip,

To light her shaded eye;

A second flutter’d round her lip

Like a golden butterfly;


"A third would glimmer on her neck

To make the necklace shine;

Another slid, a sunny fleck,

From head to ancle fine.


"Then close and dark my arms I spread,

And shadow’d all her rest–

Dropt dews upon her golden head,

An acorn in her breast.


"But in a pet she started up,

And pluck’d it out, and drew

My little oakling from the cup,

And flung him in the dew.


"And yet it was a graceful gift–

I felt a pang within

As when I see the woodman lift

His axe to slay my kin.


"I shook him down because he was

The finest on the tree.

He lies beside thee on the grass.

O kiss him once for me.


"O kiss him twice and thrice for me,

That have no lips to kiss,

For never yet was oak on lea

Shall grow so fair as this."


Step deeper yet in herb and fern,

Look further thro’ the chace,

Spread upward till thy boughs discern

The front of Sumner-place.


This fruit of thine by Love is blest,

That but a moment lay

Where fairer fruit of Love may rest

Some happy future day.


I kiss it twice, I kiss it thrice,

The warmth it thence shall win

To riper life may magnetise

The baby-oak within.


But thou, while kingdoms overset,

Or lapse from hand to hand,

Thy leaf shall never fail, nor yet

Thine acorn in the land.


May never saw dismember thee,

Nor wielded axe disjoint,

That art the fairest-spoken tree

From here to Lizard-point.


O rock upon thy towery top

All throats that gurgle sweet!

All starry culmination drop

Balm-dews to bathe thy feet!


All grass of silky feather grow–

And while he sinks or swells

The full south-breeze around thee blow

The sound of minster bells.


The fat earth feed thy branchy root,

That under deeply strikes!

The northern morning o’er thee shoot

High up, in silver spikes!


Nor ever lightning char thy grain,

But, rolling as in sleep,

Low thunders bring the mellow rain,

That makes thee broad and deep!


And hear me swear a solemn oath,

That only by thy side

Will I to Olive plight my troth,

And gain her for my bride.


And when my marriage morn may fall,

She, Dryad-like, shall wear

Alternate leaf and acorn-ball

In wreath about her hair.


And I will work in prose and rhyme,

And praise thee more in both

Than bard has honour’d beech or lime,

Or that Thessalian growth,


In which the swarthy ringdove sat,

And mystic sentence spoke;

And more than England honours that,

Thy famous brother-oak,


Wherein the younger Charles abode

Till all the paths were dim,

And far below the Roundhead rode,

And humm’d a surly hymn.


Alfred Lord Tennyson poetry

kempis poetry magazine

More in: Tennyson, Alfred Lord

Alfred Lord Tennyson: The Ballad of Oriana

Alfred Lord Tennyson



The Ballad of Oriana

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.


Alfred Lord Tennyson poetry

kempis poetry magazine

More in: Tennyson, Alfred Lord

Alfred Lord Tennyson: Godiva

Alfred Lord Tennyson



G o d i v a


I waited for the train at Coventry;

I hung with grooms and porters on the bridge,

To match the three tall spires; and there I shaped

The city’s ancient legend into this:

Not only we, the latest seed of Time,

New men, that in the flying of a wheel

Cry down the past, not only we, that prate

Of rights and wrongs, have loved the people well,

And loathed to see them overtax’d; but she

Did more, and underwent, and overcame,

The woman of a thousand summers back,

Godiva, wife to that grim Earl, who ruled

In Coventry: for when he laid a tax

Upon his town, and all the mothers brought

Their children, clamouring, "If we pay, we starve!"

She sought her lord, and found him, where he strode

About the hall, among his dogs, alone,

His beard a foot before him, and his hair

A yard behind. She told him of their tears,

And pray’d him, "If they pay this tax, they starve".

Whereat he stared, replying, half-amazed,

"You would not let your little finger ache

For such as these?"–"But I would die," said she.

He laugh’d, and swore by Peter and by Paul;

Then fillip’d at the diamond in her ear;

"O ay, ay, ay, you talk!"–"Alas!" she said,

"But prove me what it is I would not do."

And from a heart as rough as Esau’s hand,

He answer’d, "Ride you naked thro’ the town,

And I repeal it"; and nodding as in scorn,

He parted, with great strides among his dogs.

So left alone, the passions of her mind,

As winds from all the compass shift and blow,

Made war upon each other for an hour,

Till pity won. She sent a herald forth,

And bad him cry, with sound of trumpet, all

The hard condition; but that she would loose

The people: therefore, as they loved her well,

From then till noon no foot should pace the street,

No eye look down, she passing; but that all

Should keep within, door shut, and window barr’d.

Then fled she to her inmost bower, and there

Unclasp’d the wedded eagles of her belt,

The grim Earl’s gift; but ever at a breath

She linger’d, looking like a summer moon

Half-dipt in cloud: anon she shook her head,

And shower’d the rippled ringlets to her knee;

Unclad herself in haste; adown the stair

Stole on; and, like a creeping sunbeam, slid

From pillar unto pillar, until she reach’d

The gateway; there she found her palfrey trapt

In purple blazon’d with armorial gold.

Then she rode forth, clothed on with chastity:

The deep air listen’d round her as she rode,

And all the low wind hardly breathed for fear.

The little wide-mouth’d heads upon the spout

Had cunning eyes to see: the barking cur

Made her cheek flame: her palfrey’s footfall shot

Light horrors thro’ her pulses: the blind walls

Were full of chinks and holes; and overhead

Fantastic gables, crowding, stared: but she

Not less thro’ all bore up, till, last, she saw

The white-flower’d elder-thicket from the field

Gleam thro’ the Gothic archways in the wall.

Then she rode back cloth’d on with chastity:

And one low churl, compact of thankless earth,

The fatal byword of all years to come,

Boring a little auger-hole in fear,

Peep’d–but his eyes, before they had their will,

Were shrivell’d into darkness in his head,

And dropt before him. So the Powers, who wait

On noble deeds, cancell’d a sense misused;

And she, that knew not, pass’d: and all at once,

With twelve great shocks of sound, the shameless noon

Was clash’d and hammer’d from a hundred towers,

One after one: but even then she gain’d

Her bower; whence reissuing, robed and crown’d,

To meet her lord, she took the tax away,

And built herself an everlasting name.

Alfred Lord Tennyson poetry

kempis poetry magazine 

More in: Tennyson, Alfred Lord

Alfred Lord Tennyson: The Beggar Maid

Alfred Lord Tennyson



The Beggar Maid


Her arms across her breast she laid;

She was more fair than words can say:

Bare-footed came the beggar maid

Before the king Cophetua.

In robe and crown the king stept down,

To meet and greet her on her way;

"It is no wonder," said the lords,

"She is more beautiful than day".


As shines the moon in clouded skies,

She in her poor attire was seen:

One praised her ancles, one her eyes,

One her dark hair and lovesome mien:

So sweet a face, such angel grace,

In all that land had never been:

Cophetua sware a royal oath:

"This beggar maid shall be my queen!"

Alfred Lord Tennyson poetry

kempis poetry magazine

More in: Tennyson, Alfred Lord

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