Alfred Lord Tennyson
1809-1892
 
Tennyson was one of the greatest English-speaking poets of all time. 
From 1832-1843 he went into what was described as a period of silence following the poor reception of his own Poems in 1832 and the death
of his close friend and companion Arthur A Hallam in 1833

During  this time he was criticized for the moody introspection of his lyrics.

He returned  as a mature poet in 1842 and became Poet Laureate in 1850.

Tennyson continued to experience periods of "moodiness and depression"
throughout his life and the emotions were reflected in his work

 


Crossing the Bar 

Sunset and evening star, 
__And one clear call for me! 
And may there be no moaning of the bar, 
__When I put out to sea, 

But such a tide as moving seems asleep, 
__Too full for sound and foam, 
When that which drew from out the boundless deep 
__Turns again home. 

Twilight and evening bell, 
__And after that the dark! 
And may there be no sadness of farewell, 
__When I embark; 

For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place 
__The flood may bear me far, 
I hope to see my Pilot face to face 
__When I have crost the bar. 

 


FRAGMENT 

He clasps the crag with crooked hands; 
Close to the sun in lonely lands, 
Ringed with the azure world, he stands. 

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls; 
He watches from his mountain walls, 
And like a thunderbolt he falls. 

 


                               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 run 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 imbowers
                             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 tower'd Camelot;
                        And by the moon the reaper weary,
                        Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
                        Listening, whispers, " 'Tis the fairy
                             The 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 heat 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;
                        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 kneel'd
                        To a lady in his shield,
                        That sparkled on the yellow field,
                             Beside remote 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 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.

                        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."
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