Three works by Lord Alfred Tennyson (poetry) 4

A Welcome to Alexandra

by Lord Alfred Tennyson

March 7, 1863

Sea-kings’ daughter from over the sea, Alexandra! Saxon and Norman and Dane are we, But all of us Danes in our welcome of thee, Alexandra! Welcome her, thunders of fort and of fleet! Welcome her, thundering cheer of the street! Welcome her, all things youthful and sweet, Scatter the blossom under her feet! Break, happy land, into earlier flowers! Make music, O bird, in the new-budded bowers! Blazon your mottos of blessing and prayer! Welcome her, welcome her, all that is ours! Warble, O bugle, and trumpet, blare! Flags, flutter out upon turrets and towers! Flames, on the windy headland flare! Utter your jubilee, steeple and spire! Clash, ye bells, in the merry March air! Flash, ye cities, in rivers of fire! Rush to the roof, sudden rocket, and higher Melt into stars for the land’s desire! Roll and rejoice, jubilant voice, Roll as a ground-swell dash’d on the strand, Roar as the sea when he welcomes the land, And welcome her, welcome the land’s desire, The sea-kings’ daughter as happy as fair, Blissful bride of a blissful heir, Bride of the heir of the kings of the sea– O joy to the people and joy to the throne, Come to us, love us, and make us your own: For Saxon or Dane or Norman we, Teuton or Celt, or whatever we be, We are each all Dane in our welcome of thee, Alexandra!

The Lady of ShalottLord Alfred Tennyson

by Lord Alfred Tennyson

Part I

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-towered 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 imbowers
The Lady of Shalott.

By the margin, willow-veiled,
Slide the heavy barges trailed
By slow horses; and unhailed
The shallop flitteth silken-sailed
Skimming down to Camelot:
But who hath seen her wave her hand?
Or at the casement seen her stand?
Or is she known in all the land,
The Lady of Shalott?

Only reapers, reaping early
In among the bearded barley,
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly,
Down to towered Camelot:
And by the moon the reaper weary,
Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers “‘Tis the fairy
Lady of Shalott.”

Part II

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-haired page in crimson clad,
Goes by to towered 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.

Part III

A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rode between the barley-sheaves,
The sun came dazzling through 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 glittered 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 blazoned baldric slung
A mighty silver bugle hung,
And as he rode his armour rung,
Beside remote Shalott.

All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewelled shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather
Burned like one burning flame together,
As he rode down to Camelot.
As often through the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, trailing light,
Moves over still Shalott.

His broad clear brow in sunlight glowed;
On burnished hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flowed
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 looked down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror cracked from side to side;
“The curse is come upon me,” cried
The Lady of Shalott.

Part IV

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 towered Camelot;
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And round about the prow she wrote
The Lady of Shalott.

And down the river’s dim expanse,
Like some bold seer in a trance
Seeing all his own mischance,
With a glassy countenance
Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott.

Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to left and right –
The leaves upon her falling light –
Through 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,
Turned to towered Camelot.
For ere she reached upon the tide
The first house by the water-side,
Singing in her song she died,
The Lady of Shalott.

Under tower and balcony,
By garden-wall and gallery,
A gleaming shape she floated by,
Dead-pale between the houses high,
Silent into Camelot.
Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and burgher, lord and dame,
And round the prow they read her name,
The Lady of Shalott.

Who is this? and what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they 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.”

All Things Will Die

by Lord Alfred Tennyson

Reprinted among ‘Juvenilia’ in 1872 and onward, without alteration.

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.

4 thoughts on “Three works by Lord Alfred Tennyson (poetry)

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