THE SUPPRESSED POEMS
ALFRED LORD TENNYSON
Edited By J.C. Thomson
POEMS CHIEFLY LYRICAL
i. The How and the Why ii. The Burial of Love iii. To —— iv. Song 'I' the gloaming light' v. Song 'Every day hath its night' vi. Hero to Leander vii. The Mystic viii. The Grasshopper ix. Love, Pride and Forgetfulness x. Chorus 'The varied earth, the moving heaven' xi. Lost Hope xii. The Tears of Heaven xiii. Love and Sorrow xiv. To a Lady sleeping xv. Sonnet 'Could I outwear my present state of woe' xvi. Sonnet 'Though night hath climbed' xvii. Sonnet 'Shall the hag Evil die' xviii. Sonnet 'The pallid thunder stricken sigh for gain' xix. Love xx. English War Song xxi. National Song xxii. Dualisms xxiii. [Greek: ohi rheontes] xxiv. Song 'The lintwhite and the throstlecock'
CONTRIBUTIONS TO PERIODICALS, 1831-32
xxv. A Fragment xxvi. Anacreontics xxvii. 'O sad no more! O sweet no more' xxviii. Sonnet 'Check every outflash, every ruder sally' xxix. Sonnet 'Me my own fate to lasting sorrow doometh' xxx. Sonnet 'There are three things that fill my heart with sighs'
xxxi. Sonnet 'Oh beauty, passing beauty' xxxii. The Hesperides xxxiii. Rosalind xxxiv. Song 'Who can say' xxxv. Sonnet 'Blow ye the trumpet, gather from afar' xxxvi. O Darling Room xxxvii. To Christopher North xxxviii. The Lotos-Eaters xxxix. A Dream of Fair Women
MISCELLANEOUS POEMS AND CONTRIBUTIONS TO PERIODICALS, 1833-68
xl. Cambridge xli. The Germ of 'Maud' xlii. 'A gate and afield half ploughed' xliii. The Skipping-Rope xliv. The New Timon and the Poets xlv. Mablethorpe xlvi. 'What time I wasted youthful hours' xlvii. Britons, guard your own xlviii. Hands all round xlix. Suggested by reading an article in a newspaper l. 'God bless our Prince and Bride' li. The Ringlet lii. Song 'Home they brought him slain with spears' liii. 1865-1866
THE LOVER'S TALE, 1833.
INDEX OF FIRST LINES
To those unacquainted with Tennyson's conscientious methods, it may seem strange that a volume of 160 pages is necessary to contain those poems written and published by him during his active literary career, and ultimately rejected as unsatisfactory. Of this considerable body of verse, a great part was written, not in youth or old age, but while Tennyson's powers were at their greatest. Whatever reasons may once have existed for suppressing the poems that follow, the student of English literature is entitled to demand that the whole body of Tennyson's work should now be open, without restriction or impediment, to the critical study to which the works of his compeers are subjected.
The bibliographical notes prefixed to the various poems give, in every case, the date and medium of first publication.
A Poem Which Obtained The Chancellor's Medal At The Cambridge Commencement MDCCCXXIX
By A. Tennyson Of Trinity College
[Printed in Cambridge Chronicle and Journal of Friday, July 10, 1829, and at the University Press by James Smith, among the Prolusiones Academicae Praemiis annuis dignatae et in Curia Cantabrigiensi Recitatae Comitiis Maximis, MDCCCXXIX. Republished in Cambridge Prize Poems, 1813 to 1858, by Messrs. Macmillan in 1859, without alteration; and in 1893 in the appendix to a reprint of Poems by Two Brothers].
Deep in that lion-haunted inland lies A mystic city, goal of high Emprize.[A] —CHAPMAN.
I stood upon the Mountain which o'erlooks The narrow seas, whose rapid interval Parts Afric from green Europe, when the Sun Had fall'n below th' Atlantick, and above The silent Heavens were blench'd with faery light, Uncertain whether faery light or cloud, Flowing Southward, and the chasms of deep, deep blue Slumber'd unfathomable, and the stars Were flooded over with clear glory and pale. I gaz'd upon the sheeny coast beyond, There where the Giant of old Time infixed The limits of his prowess, pillars high Long time eras'd from Earth: even as the sea When weary of wild inroad buildeth up Huge mounds whereby to stay his yeasty waves. And much I mus'd on legends quaint and old Which whilome won the hearts of all on Earth Toward their brightness, ev'n as flame draws air; But had their being in the heart of Man As air is th' life of flame: and thou wert then A center'd glory-circled Memory, Divinest Atalantis, whom the waves Have buried deep, and thou of later name Imperial Eldorado root'd with gold: Shadows to which, despite all shocks of Change, All on-set of capricious Accident, Men clung with yearning Hope which would not die. As when in some great City where the walls Shake, and the streets with ghastly faces throng'd Do utter forth a subterranean voice, Among the inner columns far retir'd At midnight, in the lone Acropolis. Before the awful Genius of the place Kneels the pale Priestess in deep faith, the while Above her head the weak lamp dips and winks Unto the fearful summoning without: Nathless she ever clasps the marble knees, Bathes the cold hand with tears, and gazeth on Those eyes which wear no light but that wherewith Her phantasy informs them.
Where are ye Thrones of the Western wave, fair Islands green? Where are your moonlight halls, your cedarn glooms, The blossoming abysses of your hills? Your flowering Capes and your gold-sanded bays Blown round with happy airs of odorous winds? Where are the infinite ways which, Seraphtrod, Wound thro' your great Elysian solitudes, Whose lowest depths were, as with visible love, Fill'd with Divine effulgence, circumfus'd, Flowing between the clear and polish'd stems, And ever circling round their emerald cones In coronals and glories, such as gird The unfading foreheads of the Saints in Heaven? For nothing visible, they say, had birth In that blest ground but it was play'd about With its peculiar glory. Then I rais'd My voice and cried 'Wide Afric, doth thy Sun Lighten, thy hills enfold a City as fair As those which starr'd the night o' the Elder World? Or is the rumour of thy Timbuctoo A dream as frail as those of ancient Time?'
A curve of whitening, flashing, ebbing light! A rustling of white wings! The bright descent Of a young Seraph! and he stood beside me There on the ridge, and look'd into my face With his unutterable, shining orbs, So that with hasty motion I did veil My vision with both hands, and saw before me Such colour'd spots as dance athwart the eyes Of those that gaze upon the noonday Sun. Girt with a Zone of flashing gold beneath His breast, and compass'd round about his brow With triple arch of everchanging bows, And circled with the glory of living light And alternations of all hues, he stood. 'O child of man, why muse you here alone Upon the Mountain, on the dreams of old Which fill'd the Earth with passing loveliness, Which flung strange music on the howling winds, And odours rapt from remote Paradise? Thy sense is clogg'd with dull mortality, Thy spirit fetter'd with the bond of clay: Open thine eye and see.'
I look'd, but not Upon his face, for it was wonderful With its exceeding brightness, and the light Of the great angel mind which look'd from out The starry glowing of his restless eyes. I felt my soul grow mighty, and my spirit With supernatural excitation bound Within me, and my mental eye grew large With such a vast circumference of thought, That in my vanity I seem'd to stand Upon the outward verge and bound alone Of full beatitude. Each failing sense As with a momentary flash of light Grew thrillingly distinct and keen. I saw The smallest grain that dappled the dark Earth, The indistinctest atom in deep air, The Moon's white cities, and the opal width Of her small glowing lakes, her silver heights Unvisited with dew of vagrant cloud, And the unsounded, undescended depth Of her black hollows. The clear Galaxy Shorn of its hoary lustre, wonderful, Distinct and vivid with sharp points of light Blaze within blaze, an unimagin'd depth And harmony of planet-girded Suns And moon-encircled planets, wheel in wheel, Arch'd the wan Sapphire. Nay, the hum of men, Or other things talking in unknown tongues, And notes of busy life in distant worlds Beat like a far wave on my anxious ear.
A maze of piercing, trackless, thrilling thoughts Involving and embracing each with each Rapid as fire, inextricably link'd, Expanding momently with every sight And sound which struck the palpitating sense, The issue of strong impulse, hurried through The riv'n rapt brain: as when in some large lake From pressure of descendant crags, which lapse Disjointed, crumbling from their parent slope At slender interval, the level calm Is ridg'd with restless and increasing spheres Which break upon each other, each th' effect Of separate impulse, but more fleet and strong Than its precursor, till the eyes in vain Amid the wild unrest of swimming shade Dappled with hollow and alternate rise Of interpenetrated arc, would scan Definite round. I know not if I shape These things with accurate similitude From visible objects, for but dimly now, Less vivid than a half-forgotten dream, The memory of that mental excellence Comes o'er me, and it may be I entwine The indecision of my present mind With its past clearness, yet it seems to me As even then the torrent of quick thought Absorbed me from the nature of itself With its own fleetness. Where is he that, borne Adown the sloping of an arrowy stream, Could link his shallop to the fleeting edge, And muse midway with philosophic calm Upon the wondrous laws which regulate The fierceness of the bounding element? My thoughts which long had grovell'd in the slime Of this dull world, like dusky worms which house Beneath unshaken waters, but at once Upon some earth-awakening day of spring Do pass from gloom to glory, and aloft Winnow the purple, bearing on both sides Double display of starlit wings which burn Fanlike and fibred, with intensest bloom: E'en so my thoughts, erewhile so low, now felt Unutterable buoyancy and strength To bear them upward through the trackless fields Of undefin'd existence far and free.
Then first within the South methought I saw A wilderness of spires, and chrystal pile Of rampart upon rampart, dome on dome, Illimitable range of battlement On battlement, and the Imperial height Of Canopy o'ercanopied. Behind, In diamond light, upsprung the dazzling Cones Of Pyramids, as far surpassing Earth's As Heaven than Earth is fairer. Each aloft Upon his renown'd Eminence bore globes Of wheeling suns, or stars, or semblances Of either, showering circular abyss Of radiance. But the glory of the place Stood out a pillar'd front of burnish'd gold Interminably high, if gold it were Or metal more ethereal, and beneath Two doors of blinding brilliance, where no gaze Might rest, stood open, and the eye could scan Through length of porch and lake and boundless hall, Part of a throne of fiery flame, wherefrom The snowy skirting of a garment hung, And glimpse of multitudes of multitudes That minister'd around it—if I saw These things distinctly, for my human brain Stagger'd beneath the vision, and thick night Came down upon my eyelids, and I fell.
With ministering hand he rais'd me up; Then with a mournful and ineffable smile, Which but to look on for a moment fill'd My eyes with irresistible sweet tears, In accents of majestic melody, Like a swol'n river's gushings in still night Mingled with floating music, thus he spake: 'There is no mightier Spirit than I to sway The heart of man: and teach him to attain By shadowing forth the Unattainable; And step by step to scale that mighty stair Whose landing-place is wrapt about with clouds Of glory of Heaven.[B] With earliest Light of Spring, And in the glow of sallow Summertide, And in red Autumn when the winds are wild With gambols, and when full-voiced Winter roofs The headland with inviolate white snow, I play about his heart a thousand ways, Visit his eyes with visions, and his ears With harmonies of wind and wave and wood —Of winds which tell of waters, and of waters Betraying the close kisses of the wind— And win him unto me: and few there be So gross of heart who have not felt and known A higher than they see: They with dim eyes Behold me darkling. Lo! I have given thee To understand my presence, and to feel My fullness; I have fill'd thy lips with power. I have rais'd thee higher to the Spheres of Heaven, Man's first, last home: and thou with ravish'd sense Listenest the lordly music flowing from Th' illimitable years. I am the Spirit, The permeating life which courseth through All th' intricate and labyrinthine veins Of the great vine of Fable, which, outspread With growth of shadowing leaf and clusters rare, Reacheth to every corner under Heaven, Deep-rooted in the living soil of truth: So that men's hopes and fears take refuge in The fragrance of its complicated glooms And cool impleached twilights. Child of Man, See'st thou yon river, whose translucent wave, Forth issuing from darkness, windeth through The argent streets o' the City, imaging The soft inversion of her tremulous Domes; Her gardens frequent with the stately Palm, Her Pagods hung with music of sweet bells: Her obelisks of ranged Chrysolite, Minarets and towers? Lo! how he passeth by, And gulphs himself in sands, as not enduring To carry through the world those waves, which bore The reflex of my City in their depths. Oh City! Oh latest Throne! where I was rais'd To be a mystery of loveliness Unto all eyes, the time is well nigh come When I must render up this glorious home To keen Discovery: soon yon brilliant towers Shall darken with the waving of her wand; Darken, and shrink and shiver into huts, Black specks amid a waste of dreary sand, Low-built, mud-walled, Barbarian settlement, How chang'd from this fair City!' Thus far the Spirit: Then parted Heavenward on the wing: and I Was left alone on Calpe, and the Moon Had fallen from the night, and all was dark!
[The following review of 'Timbuctoo' was published in the Athenaeum of 22nd July, 1829: 'We have accustomed ourselves to think, perhaps without any very good reason, that poetry was likely to perish among us for a considerable period after the great generation of poets which is now passing away. The age seems determined to contradict us, and that in the most decided manner; for it has put forth poetry by a young man, and that where we should least expect it—namely, in a prize poem. These productions have often been ingenious and elegant but we have never before seen one of them which indicated really first-rate poetical genius, and which would have done honour to any men that ever wrote. Such, we do not hesitate to affirm, is the little work before us; and the examiners seem to have felt it like ourselves, for they have assigned the prize to the author, though the measure in which he writes was never before, we believe, thus selected for honour. We extract a few lines to justify our admiration (50 lines, 62-112, quoted). How many men have lived for a century who could equal this?' At the time when this highly eulogistic notice of the youthful unknown poet appeared, the Athenaeum was edited by John Sterling and Frederick Denison Maurice, its then proprietors.]
[Footnote A: Mr Swinburne failed to find this couplet in any of Chapman's original poems or translations, and was of opinion that it is Tennyson's own.]
[Footnote B: Be ye perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.]
Poems Chiefly Lyrical
[The poems numbered I-XXIV which follow, were published in 1830 in the volume Poems chiefly Lyrical. (London: Effingham Wilson, Royal Exchange, 1830.) They were never republished by Tennyson.]
The 'How' and the 'Why'
I am any man's suitor, If any will be my tutor: Some say this life is pleasant, Some think it speedeth fast: In time there is no present, In eternity no future, In eternity no past. We laugh, we cry, we are born, we die, Who will riddle me the how and the why?
The bulrush nods unto his brother The wheatears whisper to each other: What is it they say? What do they there? Why two and two make four? Why round is not square? Why the rocks stand still, and the light clouds fly? Why the heavy oak groans, and the white willows sigh? Why deep is not high, and high is not deep? Whether we wake or whether we sleep? Whether we sleep or whether we die? How you are you? Why I am I? Who will riddle me the how and the why?
The world is somewhat; it goes on somehow; But what is the meaning of then and now! I feel there is something; but how and what? I know there is somewhat; but what and why! I cannot tell if that somewhat be I.
The little bird pipeth 'why! why!' In the summerwoods when the sun falls low, And the great bird sits on the opposite bough, And stares in his face and shouts 'how? how?' And the black owl scuds down the mellow twilight, And chaunts 'how? how?' the whole of the night.
Why the life goes when the blood is spilt? What the life is? where the soul may lie? Why a church is with a steeple built; And a house with a chimney-pot? Who will riddle me the how and the what? Who will riddle me the what and the why?
The Burial of Love
His eyes in eclipse, Pale cold his lips, The light of his hopes unfed, Mute his tongue, His bow unstrung With the tears he hath shed, Backward drooping his graceful head.
Love is dead; His last arrow sped; He hath not another dart; Go—carry him to his dark deathbed; Bury him in the cold, cold heart— Love is dead.
Oh, truest love! art thou forlorn, And unrevenged? Thy pleasant wiles Forgotten, and thine innocent joy? Shall hollow-hearted apathy, The cruellest form of perfect scorn, With langour of most hateful smiles, For ever write In the weathered light Of the tearless eye An epitaph that all may spy? No! sooner she herself shall die.
For her the showers shall not fall, Nor the round sun that shineth to all; Her light shall into darkness change; For her the green grass shall not spring, Nor the rivers flow, nor the sweet birds sing, Till Love have his full revenge.
Sainted Juliet! dearest name! If to love be life alone, Divinest Juliet, I love thee, and live; and yet Love unreturned is like the fragrant flame Folding the slaughter of the sacrifice Offered to Gods upon an altarthrone; My heart is lighted at thine eyes, Changed into fire, and blown about with sighs.
I' the glooming light Of middle night, So cold and white, Worn Sorrow sits by the moaning wave; Beside her are laid, Her mattock and spade, For she hath half delved her own deep grave. Alone she is there: The white clouds drizzle: her hair falls loose; Her shoulders are bare; Her tears are mixed with the bearded dews.
Death standeth by; She will not die; With glazed eye She looks at her grave: she cannot sleep; Ever alone She maketh her moan: She cannot speak; she can only weep; For she will not hope. The thick snow falls on her flake by flake, The dull wave mourns down the slope, The world will not change, and her heart will not break.
Every day hath its night: Every night its morn: Through dark and bright Winged hours are borne; Ah! welaway! Seasons flower and fade; Golden calm and storm Mingle day by day. There is no bright form Doth not cast a shade— Ah! welaway!
When we laugh, and our mirth Apes the happy vein, We're so kin to earth Pleasuance fathers pain— Ah! welaway! Madness laugheth loud: Laughter bringeth tears: Eyes are worn away Till the end of fears Cometh in the shroud, Ah! welaway!
All is change, woe or weal; Joy is sorrow's brother; Grief and sadness steal Symbols of each other; Ah! welaway! Larks in heaven's cope Sing: the culvers mourn All the livelong day. Be not all forlorn; Let us weep in hope— Ah! welaway!
Hero to Leander
Oh go not yet, my love, The night is dark and vast; The white moon is hid in her heaven above, And the waves climb high and fast. Oh! kiss me, kiss me, once again, Lest thy kiss should be the last. Oh kiss me ere we part; Grow closer to my heart. My heart is warmer surely than the bosom of the main.
Oh joy! O bliss of blisses! My heart of hearts art thou. Come bathe me with thy kisses, My eyelids and my brow. Hark how the wild rain hisses, And the loud sea roars below.
Thy heart beats through thy rosy limbs So gladly doth it stir; Thine eye in drops of gladness swims. I have bathed thee with the pleasant myrrh; Thy locks are dripping balm; Thou shalt not wander hence to-night, I'll stay thee with my kisses. To-night the roaring brine Will rend thy golden tresses; The ocean with the morrow light Will be both blue and calm; And the billow will embrace thee with a kiss as soft as mine.
No western odours wander On the black and moaning sea, And when thou art dead, Leander, My soul shall follow thee! Oh go not yet, my love, Thy voice is sweet and low; The deep salt wave breaks in above Those marble steps below. The turretstairs are wet That lead into the sea. Leander! go not yet. The pleasant stars have set! Oh! go not, go not yet, Or I will follow thee.
Angels have talked with him, and showed him thrones: Ye knew him not: he was not one of ye, Ye scorned him with an undiscerning scorn: Ye could not read the marvel in his eye, The still serene abstraction; he hath felt The vanities of after and before; Albeit, his spirit and his secret heart The stern experiences of converse lives, The linked woes of many a fiery change Had purified, and chastened, and made free. Always there stood before him, night and day, Of wayward vary coloured circumstance, The imperishable presences serene, Colossal, without form, or sense, or sound, Dim shadows but unwaning presences Fourfaced to four corners of the sky; And yet again, three shadows, fronting one, One forward, one respectant, three but one; And yet again, again and evermore, For the two first were not, but only seemed One shadow in the midst of a great light, One reflex from eternity on time, One mighty countenance of perfect calm, Awful with most invariable eyes. For him the silent congregated hours, Daughters of time, divinely tall, beneath Severe and youthful brows, with shining eyes Smiling a godlike smile (the innocent light Of earliest youth pierced through and through with all Keen knowledges of low-embowed eld) Upheld, and ever hold aloft the cloud Which droops low hung on either gate of life, Both birth and death; he in the centre fixed, Saw far on each side through the grated gates Most pale and clear and lovely distances. He often lying broad awake, and yet Remaining from the body, and apart In intellect and power and will, hath heard Time flowing in the middle of the night, And all things creeping to a day of doom. How could ye know him? Ye were yet within The narrower circle; he had well nigh reached The last, with which a region of white flame, Pure without heat, into a larger air Upburning, and an ether of black hue, Investeth and ingirds all other lives.
Voice of the summerwind, Joy of the summerplain, Life of the summerhours, Carol clearly, bound along. No Tithon thou as poets feign (Shame fall 'em they are deaf and blind) But an insect lithe and strong, Bowing the seeded summerflowers. Prove their falsehood and thy quarrel, Vaulting on thine airy feet. Clap thy shielded sides and carol, Carol clearly, chirrup sweet Thou art a mailed warrior in youth and strength complete; Armed cap-a-pie, Full fair to see; Unknowing fear, Undreading loss, A gallant cavalier Sans peur et sans reproche, In sunlight and in shadow, The Bayard of the meadow.
I would dwell with thee, Merry grasshopper, Thou art so glad and free, And as light as air; Thou hast no sorrow or tears, Thou hast no compt of years, No withered immortality, But a short youth sunny and free. Carol clearly, bound along, Soon thy joy is over, A summer of loud song, And slumbers in the clover. What hast thou to do with evil In thine hour of love and revel, In thy heat of summerpride, Pushing the thick roots aside Of the singing flowered grasses, That brush thee with their silken tresses? What hast thou to do with evil, Shooting, singing, ever springing In and out the emerald glooms, Ever leaping, ever singing, Lighting on the golden blooms?
Love, Pride and Forgetfulness
Ere yet my heart was sweet Love's tomb, Love laboured honey busily. I was the hive and Love the bee, My heart the honey-comb. One very dark and chilly night Pride came beneath and held a light.
The cruel vapours went through all, Sweet Love was withered in his cell; Pride took Love's sweets, and by a spell Did change them into gall; And Memory tho' fed by Pride Did wax so thin on gall, Awhile she scarcely lived at all, What marvel that she died?
In an unpublished drama written very early.
The varied earth, the moving heaven, The rapid waste of roving sea, The fountainpregnant mountains riven To shapes of wildest anarchy, By secret fire and midnight storms That wander round their windy cones, The subtle life, the countless forms Of living things, the wondrous tones Of man and beast are full of strange Astonishment and boundless change.
The day, the diamonded light, The echo, feeble child of sound, The heavy thunder's girding might, The herald lightning's starry bound, The vocal spring of bursting bloom, The naked summer's glowing birth, The troublous autumn's sallow gloom, The hoarhead winter paving earth With sheeny white, are full of strange Astonishment and boundless change.
Each sun which from the centre flings Grand music and redundant fire, The burning belts, the mighty rings, The murmurous planets' rolling choir, The globefilled arch that, cleaving air, Lost in its effulgence sleeps, The lawless comets as they glare, And thunder thro' the sapphire deeps In wayward strength, are full of strange Astonishment and boundless change.
You cast to ground the hope which once was mine, But did the while your harsh decree deplore, Embalming with sweet tears the vacant shrine, My heart, where Hope had been and was no more.
So on an oaken sprout A goodly acorn grew; But winds from heaven shook the acorn out, And filled the cup with dew.
The Tears of Heaven
Heaven weeps above the earth all night till morn, In darkness weeps, as all ashamed to weep, Because the earth hath made her state forlorn With selfwrought evils of unnumbered years, And doth the fruit of her dishonour reap. And all the day heaven gathers back her tears Into her own blue eyes so clear and deep, And showering down the glory of lightsome day, Smiles on the earth's worn brow to win her if she may.
Love and Sorrow
O maiden, fresher than the first green leaf With which the fearful springtide flecks the lea, Weep not, Almeida, that I said to thee That thou hast half my heart, for bitter grief Doth hold the other half in sovranty. Thou art my heart's sun in love's crystalline: Yet on both sides at once thou canst not shine: Thine is the bright side of my heart, and thine My heart's day, but the shadow of my heart, Issue of its own substance, my heart's night Thou canst not lighten even with thy light, All powerful in beauty as thou art. Almeida, if my heart were substanceless, Then might thy rays pass thro' to the other side, So swiftly, that they nowhere would abide, But lose themselves in utter emptiness. Half-light, half-shadow, let my spirit sleep They never learnt to love who never knew to weep.
To a Lady Sleeping
O thou whose fringed lids I gaze upon, Through whose dim brain the winged dreams are born, Unroof the shrines of clearest vision, In honour of the silverflecked morn: Long hath the white wave of the virgin light Driven back the billow of the dreamful dark. Thou all unwittingly prolongest night, Though long ago listening the poised lark, With eyes dropt downward through the blue serene, Over heaven's parapets the angels lean.
Could I outwear my present state of woe With one brief winter, and indue i' the spring Hues of fresh youth, and mightily outgrow The wan dark coil of faded suffering— Forth in the pride of beauty issuing A sheeny snake, the light of vernal bowers, Moving his crest to all sweet plots of flowers And watered vallies where the young birds sing; Could I thus hope my lost delights renewing, I straightly would commend the tears to creep From my charged lids; but inwardly I weep: Some vital heat as yet my heart is wooing: This to itself hath drawn the frozen rain From my cold eyes and melted it again.
Though Night hath climbed her peak of highest noon, And bitter blasts the screaming autumn whirl, All night through archways of the bridged pearl And portals of pure silver walks the moon. Wake on, my soul, nor crouch to agony: Turn cloud to light, and bitterness to joy, And dross to gold with glorious alchemy, Basing thy throne above the world's annoy. Reign thou above the storms of sorrow and ruth That roar beneath; unshaken peace hath won thee: So shall thou pierce the woven glooms of truth; So shall the blessing of the meek be on thee; So in thine hour of dawn, the body's youth, An honourable eld shall come upon thee.
Shall the hag Evil die with the child of Good, Or propagate again her loathed kind, Thronging the cells of the diseased mind, Hateful with hanging cheeks, a withered brood, Though hourly pastured on the salient blood? Oh! that the wind which bloweth cold or heat Would shatter and o'erbear the brazen beat Of their broad vans, and in the solitude Of middle space confound them, and blow back Their wild cries down their cavernthroats, and slake With points of blastborne hail their heated eyne! So their wan limbs no more might come between The moon and the moon's reflex in the night; Nor blot with floating shades the solar light.
The palid thunderstricken sigh for gain, Down an ideal stream they ever float, And sailing on Pactolus in a boat, Drown soul and sense, while wistfully they strain Weak eyes upon the glistering sands that robe The understream. The wise could he behold Cathedralled caverns of thick-ribbed gold And branching silvers of the central globe, Would marvel from so beautiful a sight How scorn and ruin, pain and hate could flow: But Hatred in a gold cave sits below, Pleached with her hair, in mail of argent light Shot into gold, a snake her forehead clips And skins the colour from her trembling lips.
Thou, from the first, unborn, undying love, Albeit we gaze not on thy glories near, Before the face of God didst breath and move, Though night and pain and ruin and death reign here. Thou foldest, like a golden atmosphere, The very throne of the eternal God: Passing through thee the edicts of his fear Are mellowed into music, borne abroad By the loud winds, though they uprend the sea, Even from his central deeps: thine empery Is over all: thou wilt not brook eclipse; Thou goest and returnest to His Lips Like lightning: thou dost ever brood above The silence of all hearts, unutterable Love.
To know thee is all wisdom, and old age Is but to know thee: dimly we behold thee Athwart the veils of evil which enfold thee We beat upon our aching hearts with rage; We cry for thee: we deem the world thy tomb. As dwellers in lone planets look upon The mighty disk of their majestic sun, Hallowed in awful chasms of wheeling gloom, Making their day dim, so we gaze on thee. Come, thou of many crowns, white-robed love, Oh! rend the veil in twain: all men adore thee; Heaven crieth after thee; earth waileth for thee: Breathe on thy winged throne, and it shall move In music and in light o'er land and sea.
And now—methinks I gaze upon thee now, As on a serpent in his agonies Awestricken Indians; what time laid low And crushing the thick fragrant reeds he lies, When the new year warm breathed on the earth, Waiting to light him with his purple skies, Calls to him by the fountain to uprise. Already with the pangs of a new birth Strain the hot spheres of his convulsed eyes, And in his writhings awful hues begin To wander down his sable sheeny sides, Like light on troubled waters: from within Anon he rusheth forth with merry din, And in him light and joy and strength abides; And from his brows a crown of living light Looks through the thickstemmed woods by day and night
English War Song
Who fears to die? Who fears to die? Is there any here who fears to die He shall find what he fears, and none shall grieve For the man who fears to die: But the withering scorn of the many shall cleave To the man who fears to die.
Chorus.—Shout for England! Ho! for England! George for England! Merry England! England for aye!
The hollow at heart shall crouch forlorn, He shall eat the bread of common scorn; It shall be steeped in the salt, salt tear, Shall be steeped in his own salt tear: Far better, far better he never were born Than to shame merry England here.
Chorus.—Shout for England! etc.
There standeth our ancient enemy; Hark! he shouteth—the ancient enemy! On the ridge of the hill his banners rise; They stream like fire in the skies; Hold up the Lion of England on high Till it dazzle and blind his eyes.
Chorus.—Shout for England! etc.
Come along! we alone of the earth are free; The child in our cradles is bolder than he; For where is the heart and strength of slaves? Oh! where is the strength of slaves? He is weak! we are strong; he a slave, we are free; Come along! we will dig their graves.
Chorus.—Shout for England! etc.
There standeth our ancient enemy; Will he dare to battle with the free? Spur along! spur amain! charge to the fight: Charge! charge to the fight! Hold up the Lion of England on high! Shout for God and our right!
Chorus.—Shout for England! etc.
There is no land like England Where'er the light of day be; There are no hearts like English hearts, Such hearts of oak as they be. There is no land like England Where'er the light of day be; There are no men like Englishmen, So tall and bold as they be.
Chorus.—For the French the Pope may shrive 'em, For the devil a whit we heed 'em, As for the French, God speed 'em Unto their hearts' desire, And the merry devil drive 'em Through the water and the fire.
Chorus.—Our glory is our freedom, We lord it o'er the sea; We are the sons of freedom, We are free.
There is no land like England, Where'er the light of day be; There are no wives like English wives, So fair and chaste as they be. There is no land like England, Where'er the light of day be, There are no maids like English maids, So beautiful as they be.
Chorus.—For the French, etc.
[Sixty years after first publication this Song was incorporated in 'The Foresters' (published 1892) as the opening chorus of the second act. The two verses were unaltered, but the two choruses were re-written.]
Two bees within a chrystal flowerbell rocked Hum a lovelay to the westwind at noontide. Both alike, they buzz together, Both alike, they hum together Through and through the flowered heather.
Where in a creeping cove the wave unshocked Lays itself calm and wide, Over a stream two birds of glancing feather Do woo each other, carolling together. Both alike, they glide together Side by side; Both alike, they sing together, Arching blue-glossed necks beneath the purple weather.
Two children lovelier than love, adown the lea are singing, As they gambol, lilygarlands ever stringing: Both in blosmwhite silk are frocked: Like, unlike, they roam together Under a summervault of golden weather; Like, unlike, they sing together Side by side; Mid May's darling goldenlocked, Summer's tanling diamondeyed.
[Greek: ohi rheontes]
All thoughts, all creeds, all dreams are true, All visions wild and strange; Man is the measure of all truth Unto himself. All truth is change: All men do walk in sleep, and all Have faith in that they dream: For all things are as they seem to all, And all things flow like a stream.
There is no rest, no calm, no pause, Nor good nor ill, nor light nor shade, Nor essence nor eternal laws: For nothing is, but all is made, But if I dream that all these are, They are to me for that I dream; For all things are as they seem to all, And all things flow like a stream.
Argal.—This very opinion is only true relatively to the flowing philosophers. (Tennyson's note.)
The lintwhite and the throstlecock Have voices sweet and clear; All in the bloomed May. They from the blosmy brere Call to the fleeting year, If that he would them hear And stay. Alas! that one so beautiful Should have so dull an ear.
Fair year, fair year, thy children call, But thou art deaf as death; All in the bloomed May. When thy light perisheth That from thee issueth, Our life evanisheth: Oh! stay. Alas! that lips so cruel dumb Should have so sweet a breath!
Fair year, with brows of royal love Thou comest, as a King. All in the bloomed May. Thy golden largess fling, And longer hear us sing; Though thou art fleet of wing, Yet stay. Alas! that eyes so full of light Should be so wandering!
Thy locks are full of sunny sheen In rings of gold yronne,[C] All in the bloomed May, We pri' thee pass not on; If thou dost leave the sun, Delight is with thee gone, Oh! stay. Thou art the fairest of thy feres, We pri' thee pass not on.
[Footnote C: His crispe hair in ringis was yronne.—Chaucer, Knight's Tale. (Tennyson's note.)]
Contributions to Periodicals 1831-32
[Published in The Gem: a Literary Annual. London: W. Marshall, Holborn Bars, mdcccxxxi.]
Where is the Giant of the Sun, which stood In the midnoon the glory of old Rhodes, A perfect Idol, with profulgent brows Far sheening down the purple seas to those Who sailed from Mizraim underneath the star Named of the Dragon—and between whose limbs Of brassy vastness broad-blown Argosies Drave into haven? Yet endure unscathed Of changeful cycles the great Pyramids Broad-based amid the fleeting sands, and sloped Into the slumberous summer noon; but where, Mysterious Egypt, are thine obelisks Graven with gorgeous emblems undiscerned? Thy placid Sphinxes brooding o'er the Nile? Thy shadowy Idols in the solitudes, Awful Memnonian countenances calm Looking athwart the burning flats, far off Seen by the high-necked camel on the verge Journeying southward? Where are thy monuments Piled by the strong and sunborn Anakim Over their crowned brethren [Greek: ON] and [Greek: ORE]? Thy Memnon, when his peaceful lips are kissed With earliest rays, that from his mother's eyes Flow over the Arabian bay, no more Breathes low into the charmed ears of morn Clear melody flattering the crisped Nile By columned Thebes. Old Memphis hath gone down: The Pharaohs are no more: somewhere in death They sleep with staring eyes and gilded lips, Wrapped round with spiced cerements in old grots Rock-hewn and sealed for ever.
[Published in The Gem: a Literary Annual. London: W. Marshall, Holborn Bars, mdcccxxxi.]
With roses musky breathed, And drooping daffodilly, And silverleaved lily, And ivy darkly-wreathed, I wove a crown before her, For her I love so dearly, A garland for Lenora. With a silken cord I bound it. Lenora, laughing clearly A light and thrilling laughter, About her forehead wound it, And loved me ever after.
[Published in The Gem: a Literary Annual. London: W. Marshall, Holborn Bars, mdcccxxxi.]
O sad No more! O sweet No more! O strange No more! By a mossed brookbank on a stone I smelt a wildweed flower alone; There was a ringing in my ears, And both my eyes gushed out with tears. Surely all pleasant things had gone before, Low-buried fathom deep beneath with thee, NO MORE!
[Published in the Englishman's Magazine, August, 1831. London: Edward Moxon, 64 New Bond Street. Reprinted in Friendship's Offering: a Literary Album for 1833. London; Smith and Elder.]
Check every outflash, every ruder sally Of thought and speech; speak low, and give up wholly Thy spirit to mild-minded Melancholy; This is the place. Through yonder poplar alley Below, the blue-green river windeth slowly; But in the middle of the sombre valley The crisped waters whisper musically, And all the haunted place is dark and holy. The nightingale, with long and low preamble, Warbled from yonder knoll of solemn larches, And in and out the woodbine's flowery arches The summer midges wove their wanton gambol, And all the white-stemmed pinewood slept above— When in this valley first I told my love.
[Published in Friendships Offering: a Literary Album for 1832. London: Smith and Elder.]
Me my own fate to lasting sorrow doometh: Thy woes are birds of passage, transitory: Thy spirit, circled with a living glory, In summer still a summer joy resumeth. Alone my hopeless melancholy gloometh, Like a lone cypress, through the twilight hoary, From an old garden where no flower bloometh, One cypress on an inland promontory. But yet my lonely spirit follows thine, As round the rolling earth night follows day: But yet thy lights on my horizon shine Into my night when thou art far away; I am so dark, alas! and thou so bright, When we two meet there's never perfect light.
[Published in the Yorkshire Literary Annual for 1832. Edited by C.F. Edgar, London: Longman and Co. Reprinted in the Athenaeum, 4 May, 1867.]
There are three things that fill my heart with sighs And steep my soul in laughter (when I view Fair maiden forms moving like melodies), Dimples, roselips, and eyes of any hue.
There are three things beneath the blessed skies For which I live—black eyes, and brown and blue; I hold them all most dear; but oh! black eyes, I live and die, and only die for you.
Of late such eyes looked at me—while I mused At sunset, underneath a shadowy plane In old Bayona, nigh the Southern Sea— From an half-open lattice looked at me.
I saw no more only those eyes—confused And dazzled to the heart with glorious pain.
[The poems numbered XXXI-XXXIX were published in the 1832 volume (Poems by Alfred Tennyson. London: Edward Moxon, 94 New Bond Street. MDCCCXXXIII; published December, 1832), and were thereafter suppressed.]
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 blessed 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.
Hesperus and his daughters three That sing about the golden tree. —COMUS.
The Northwind fall'n, in the newstarred night Zidonian Hanno, voyaging beyond The hoary promontory of Soloe Past Thymiaterion, in calmed bays, Between the Southern and the Western Horn, Heard neither warbling of the nightingale, Nor melody o' the Lybian lotusflute Blown seaward from the shore; but from a slope That ran bloombright into the Atlantic blue, Beneath a highland leaning down a weight Of cliffs, and zoned below with cedarshade, Came voices, like the voices in a dream, Continuous till he reached the other sea.
The golden apple, the golden apple, the hallowed fruit, Guard it well, guard it warily, Singing airily, Standing about the charmed root. Round about all is mute, As the snowfield on the mountain-peaks, As the sandfield at the mountain-foot. Crocodiles in briny creeks Sleep and stir not: all is mute. If ye sing not, if ye make false measure, We shall lose eternal pleasure, Worth eternal want of rest. Laugh not loudly: watch the treasure Of the wisdom of the West. In a corner wisdom whispers. Five and three (Let it not be preached abroad) make an awful mystery. For the blossom unto three-fold music bloweth; Evermore it is born anew; And the sap to three-fold music floweth, From the root Drawn in the dark, Up to the fruit, Creeping under the fragrant bark, Liquid gold, honeysweet thro' and thro'. Keen-eyed Sisters, singing airily, Looking warily Every way, Guard the apple night and day, Lest one from the East come and take it away.
Father Hesper, Father Hesper, watch, watch, ever and aye, Looking under silver hair with a silver eye. Father, twinkle not thy stedfast sight; Kingdoms lapse, and climates change, and races die; Honour comes with mystery; Hoarded wisdom brings delight. Number, tell them over and number How many the mystic fruit-tree holds, Lest the redcombed dragon slumber Rolled together in purple folds. Look to him, father, lest he wink, and the golden apple be stol'n away, For his ancient heart is drunk with overwatchings night and day, Round about the hallowed fruit tree curled— Sing away, sing aloud and evermore in the wind, without stop, Lest his scaled eyelid drop, For he is older than the world. If he waken, we waken, Rapidly levelling eager eyes. If he sleep, we sleep, Dropping the eyelid over the eyes. If the golden apple be taken The world will be overwise. Five links, a golden chain, are we, Hesper, the dragon, and sisters three, Bound about the golden tree.
Father Hesper, Father Hesper, watch, watch, night and day, Lest the old wound of the world be healed, The glory unsealed, The golden apple stol'n away, And the ancient secret revealed. Look from west to east along: Father, old Himla weakens, Caucasus is bold and strong. Wandering waters unto wandering waters call; Let them clash together, foam and fall. Out of watchings, out of wiles, Comes the bliss of secret smiles, All things are not told to all, Half round the mantling night is drawn, Purplefringed with even and dawn. Hesper hateth Phosphor, evening hateth morn.
Every flower and every fruit the redolent breath Of this warm seawind ripeneth, Arching the billow in his sleep; But the land-wind wandereth, Broken by the highland-steep, Two streams upon the violet deep: For the western sun and the western star, And the low west wind, breathing afar, The end of day and beginning of night Make the apple holy and bright, Holy and bright, round and full, bright and blest, Mellowed in a land of rest; Watch it warily day and night; All good things are in the west, Till midnoon the cool east light Is shut out by the round of the tall hillbrow; But when the fullfaced sunset yellowly Stays on the flowering arch of the bough, The luscious fruitage clustereth mellowly, Goldenkernelled, goldencored, Sunset ripened, above on the tree, The world is wasted with fire and sword, But the apple of gold hangs over the sea, Five links, a golden chain, are we, Hesper, the dragon, and sisters three, Daughters three, Bound about All round about The gnarled bole of the charmed tree, The golden apple, the golden apple, the hallowed fruit, Guard it well, guard it warily, Watch it warily, Singing airily, Standing about the charmed root.
My Rosalind, my Rosalind, Bold, subtle, careless Rosalind, Is one of those who know no strife Of inward woe or outward fear; To whom the slope and stream of life, The life before, the life behind, In the ear, from far and near, Chimeth musically clear. My falconhearted Rosalind Fullsailed before a vigorous wind, Is one of those who cannot weep For others' woes, but overleap All the petty shocks and fears That trouble life in early years, With a flash of frolic scorn And keen delight, that never falls Away from freshness, self-upborne With such gladness, as, whenever The freshflushing springtime calls To the flooding waters cool, Young fishes, on an April morn, Up and down a rapid river, Leap the little waterfalls That sing into the pebbled pool. My happy falcon, Rosalind, Hath daring fancies of her own, Fresh as the dawn before the day, Fresh as the early seasmell blown Through vineyards from an inland bay. My Rosalind, my Rosalind, Because no shadow on you falls, Think you hearts are tennis balls To play with, wanton Rosalind?
Who can say Why To-day To-morrow will be yesterday? Who can tell Why to smell The violet, recalls the dewy prime Of youth and buried time? The cause is nowhere found in rhyme.
Written on hearing of the outbreak of the Polish Insurrection.
Blow ye the trumpet, gather from afar The hosts to battle: be not bought and sold. Arise, brave Poles, the boldest of the bold; Break through your iron shackles—fling them far. O for those days of Piast, ere the Czar Grew to this strength among his deserts cold; When even to Moscow's cupolas were rolled The growing murmurs of the Polish war! Now must your noble anger blaze out more Than when from Sobieski, clan by clan, The Moslem myriads fell, and fled before— Than when Zamoysky smote the Tartar Khan, Than earlier, when on the Baltic shore Boleslas drove the Pomeranian.
O Darling Room[D]
O darling room, my heart's delight, Dear room, the apple of my sight, With thy two couches soft and white, There is no room so exquisite, No little room so warm and bright Wherein to read, wherein to write.
For I the Nonnenwerth have seen, And Oberwinter's vineyards green, Musical Lurlei; and between The hills to Bingen have I been, Bingen in Darmstadt, where the Rhene Curves towards Mentz, a woody scene.
Yet never did there meet my sight, In any town, to left or right, A little room so exquisite, With two such couches soft and white; Not any room so warm and bright, Wherein to read, wherein to write.
[Footnote D: 'As soon as this poem was published, I altered the second line to "All books and pictures ranged aright"; yet "Dear room, the apple of my sight" (which was much abused) is not as bad as "Do go, dear rain, do go away."' [Note initialed 'A.T.' in Life, vol. I, p. 89.] The worthlessness of much of the criticism lavished on Tennyson by his coterie of adulating friends may be judged from the fact that Arthur Hallam wrote to Tennyson that this poem was 'mighty pleasant.']
To Christopher North
You did late review my lays, Crusty Christopher; You did mingle blame and praise, Rusty Christopher. When I learnt from whom it came, I forgave you all the blame, Musty Christopher; I could not forgive the praise, Fusty Christopher.
[This epigram was Tennyson's reply to an article by Professor Wilson—'Christopher North'—in Blackwood's Magazine for May 1832, dealing in sensible fashion with Tennyson's 1830 volume, and ridiculing the fulsome praise lavished on him by his inconsiderate friends—especially referring to Arthur Hallam's article in the Englishman's Magazine for August, 1831.]
[These forty lines formed the conclusion to the original (1833) version of the poem. When the poem was reprinted in the 1842 volumes these lines were suppressed.]
We have had enough of motion, Weariness and wild alarm, Tossing on the tossing ocean, Where the tusked seahorse walloweth In a stripe of grassgreen calm, At noon-tide beneath the lea; And the monstrous narwhale swalloweth His foamfountains in the sea. Long enough the winedark wave our weary bark did carry. This is lovelier and sweeter, Men of Ithaca, this is meeter, In the hollow rosy vale to tarry, Like a dreamy Lotos-eater, a delirious Lotos-eater! We will eat the Lotos, sweet As the yellow honeycomb, In the valley some, and some On the ancient heights divine; And no more roam, On the loud hoar foam, To the melancholy home At the limit of the brine, The little isle of Ithaca, beneath the day's decline. We'll lift no more the shattered oar, No more unfurl the straining sail; With the blissful Lotos-eaters pale We will abide in the golden vale Of the Lotos-land, till the Lotos fail; We will not wander more. Hark! how sweet the horned ewes bleat On the solitary steeps, And the merry lizard leaps, And the foam-white waters pour; And the dark pine weeps, And the lithe vine creeps, And the heavy melon sleeps On the level of the shore: Oh! islanders of Ithaca, we will not wander more, Surely, surely, slumber is more sweet than toil, the shore Than labour in the ocean, and rowing with the oar, Oh! islanders of Ithaca, we will return no more.
A Dream of Fair Women
[In the 1833 volume the poem opened with the following four verses, suppressed after 1842. These Fitz Gerald considered made 'a perfect poem by themselves.']
As when a man, that sails in a balloon, Downlooking sees the solid shining ground Stream from beneath him in the broad blue noon, Tilth, hamlet, mead and mound:
And takes his flags and waves them to the mob That shout below, all faces turned to where Glows rubylike the far-up crimson globe, Filled with a finer air:
So, lifted high, the poet at his will Lets the great world flit from him, seeing all, Higher thro' secret splendours mounting still, Self-poised, nor fears to fall.
Hearing apart the echoes of his fame. While I spoke thus, the seedsman, Memory, Sowed my deep-furrowed thought with many a name Whose glory will not die.
Miscellaneous Poems and Contributions to Periodicals 1833-1868
[This poem is written in pencil on the fly-leaf of a copy of Poems 1833 in the Dyce Collection in South Kensington Museum. Reprinted with many alterations in Life, vol. I, p. 67.]
Therefore your halls, your ancient colleges, Your portals statued with old kings and queens, Your bridges and your busted libraries, Wax-lighted chapels and rich carved screens, Your doctors and your proctors and your deans Shall not avail you when the day-beam sports New-risen o'er awakened Albion—No, Nor yet your solemn organ-pipes that blow Melodious thunders through your vacant courts At morn and even; for your manner sorts Not with this age, nor with the thoughts that roll, Because the words of little children preach Against you,—ye that did profess to teach And have taught nothing, feeding on the soul.
The Germ of 'Maud'
[There was published in 1837 in The Tribute, (a collection of original poems by various authors, edited by Lord Northampton), a contribution by Tennyson entitled 'Stanzas,' consisting of xvi stanzas of varying lengths (110 lines in all). In 1855 the first xii stanzas were published as the fourth section of the second part of 'Maud.' Some verbal changes and transpositions of lines were made; a new stanza (the present sixth) and several new lines were introduced, and the xth stanza of 1837 became the xiiith of 1855. But stanzas xiii-xvi of 1837 have never been reprinted in any edition of Tennyson's works, though quoted in whole or part in various critical studies of the poet. Swinburne refers to this poem as 'the poem of deepest charm and fullest delight of pathos and melody ever written, even by Mr Tennyson.' This poem in The Tribute gained Tennyson his first notice in the Edinburgh Review, which had till then ignored him.]
But she tarries in her place And I paint the beauteous face Of the maiden, that I lost, In my inner eyes again, Lest my heart be overborne, By the thing I hold in scorn, By a dull mechanic ghost And a juggle of the brain.
I can shadow forth my bride As I knew her fair and kind As I woo'd her for my wife; She is lovely by my side In the silence of my life— 'Tis a phantom of the mind.
'Tis a phantom fair and good I can call it to my side, So to guard my life from ill, Tho' its ghastly sister glide And be moved around me still With the moving of the blood That is moved not of the will.
Let it pass, the dreary brow, Let the dismal face go by, Will it lead me to the grave? Then I lose it: it will fly: Can it overlast the nerves? Can it overlive the eye? But the other, like a star, Thro' the channel windeth far Till it fade and fail and die, To its Archetype that waits Clad in light by golden gates, Clad in light the Spirit waits To embrace me in the sky.
[On the fly-leaf of a book illustrated by Bewick, in the library of the late Lord Ravensworth, the following lines in Tennyson's autograph were discovered in 1903.]
A gate and a field half ploughed, A solitary cow, A child with a broken slate, And a titmarsh in the bough. But where, alack, is Bewick To tell the meaning now?
[This poem, published in the second volume of Poems by Alfred Tennyson (in two volumes, London, Edward Moxon, MDCCCXLII), was reprinted in every edition until 1851, when it was suppressed.]
Sure never yet was Antelope Could skip so lightly by. Stand off, or else my skipping-rope Will hit you in the eye. How lightly whirls the skipping-rope! How fairy-like you fly! Go, get you gone, you muse and mope— I hate that silly sigh. Nay, dearest, teach me how to hope, Or tell me how to die. There, take it, take my skipping-rope And hang yourself thereby.
The New Timon and the Poets
[From Punch, February 28, 1846. Bulwer Lytton published in 1845 his satirical poem 'New Timon: a Romance of London,' in which he bitterly attacked Tennyson for the civil list pension granted the previous year, particularly referring to the poem 'O Darling Room' in the 1833 volume. Tennyson replied in the following vigorous verses, which made the literary sensation of the year. Tennyson afterwards declared: 'I never sent my lines to Punch. John Forster did. They were too bitter. I do not think that I should ever have published them.'—Life, vol. I, p. 245.]
We know him, out of Shakespeare's art, And those fine curses which he spoke; The old Timon, with his noble heart, That, strongly loathing, greatly broke.
So died the Old: here comes the New: Regard him: a familiar face: I thought we knew him: What, it's you The padded man—that wears the stays—
Who killed the girls and thrill'd the boys With dandy pathos when you wrote, A Lion, you, that made a noise, And shook a mane en papillotes.
And once you tried the Muses too: You fail'd, Sir: therefore now you turn, You fall on those who are to you As captain is to subaltern.
But men of long enduring hopes, And careless what this hour may bring, Can pardon little would-be Popes And Brummels, when they try to sting.
An artist, Sir, should rest in art, And wave a little of his claim; To have the deep poetic heart Is more than all poetic fame.
But you, Sir, you are hard to please; You never look but half content: Nor like a gentleman at ease With moral breadth of temperament.
And what with spites and what with fears, You cannot let a body be: It's always ringing in your ears, 'They call this man as good as me.'
What profits now to understand The merits of a spotless shirt— A dapper boot—a little hand— If half the little soul is dirt?
You talk of tinsel! why we see The old mark of rouge upon your cheeks. You prate of nature! you are he That spilt his life about the cliques.
A Timon you! Nay, nay, for shame: It looks too arrogant a jest— The fierce old man—to take his name You bandbox. Off, and let him rest.
[Published in Manchester Athaenaum Album, 1850. Written, 1837. Republished, altered, in Life, vol. I, p. 161.]
How often, when a child I lay reclined, I took delight in this locality! Here stood the infant Ilion of the mind, And here the Grecian ships did seem to be.
And here again I come and only find The drain-cut levels of the marshy lea,— Gray sand banks and pale sunsets—dreary wind, Dim shores, dense rains, and heavy clouded sea.
[Published in The Keepsake for 1851: an illustrated annual, edited by Miss Power. London: David Bogue. To this issue of the Keepsake Tennyson also contributed 'Come not when I am dead' now included in the collected Works.]
What time I wasted youthful hours One of the shining winged powers, Show'd me vast cliffs with crown of towers,
As towards the gracious light I bow'd, They seem'd high palaces and proud, Hid now and then with sliding cloud.
He said, 'The labour is not small; Yet winds the pathway free to all:— Take care thou dost not fear to fall!'
Britons, Guard your Own
[Published in The Examiner, January 31, 1852. Verses 1 (considerably altered), 7, 8 and 10, are reprinted in Life, vol. I, p. 344.]
Rise, Britons, rise, if manhood be not dead; The world's last tempest darkens overhead; The Pope has bless'd him; The Church caress'd him; He triumphs; maybe, we shall stand alone: Britons, guard your own.
His ruthless host is bought with plunder'd gold, By lying priest's the peasant's votes controlled. All freedom vanish'd, The true men banished, He triumphs; maybe, we shall stand alone. Britons, guard your own.
Peace-lovers we—sweet Peace we all desire— Peace-lovers we—but who can trust a liar?— Peace-lovers, haters Of shameless traitors, We hate not France, but this man's heart of stone. Britons, guard your own.
We hate not France, but France has lost her voice This man is France, the man they call her choice. By tricks and spying, By craft and lying, And murder was her freedom overthrown. Britons, guard your own.
'Vive l'Empereur' may follow by and bye; 'God save the Queen' is here a truer cry. God save the Nation, The toleration, And the free speech that makes a Briton known. Britons, guard your own.
Rome's dearest daughter now is captive France, The Jesuit laughs, and reckoning on his chance, Would, unrelenting, Kill all dissenting, Till we were left to fight for truth alone. Britons, guard your own.
Call home your ships across Biscayan tides, To blow the battle from their oaken sides. Why waste they yonder Their idle thunder? Why stay they there to guard a foreign throne? Seamen, guard your own.
We were the best of marksmen long ago, We won old battles with our strength, the bow. Now practise, yeomen, Like those bowmen, Till your balls fly as their true shafts have flown. Yeomen, guard your own.
His soldier-ridden Highness might incline To take Sardinia, Belgium, or the Rhine: Shall we stand idle, Nor seek to bridle His vile aggressions, till we stand alone? Make their cause your own.
Should he land here, and for one hour prevail, There must no man go back to bear the tale: No man to bear it— Swear it! We swear it! Although we fought the banded world alone, We swear to guard our own.
Hands all Round
[Published in The Examiner, February 7, 1852. Reprinted, slightly altered, in Life, vol. I, p. 345. Included, almost entirely re-written, in collected Works.]
First drink a health, this solemn night, A health to England, every guest; That man's the best cosmopolite Who loves his native country best. May Freedom's oak for ever live With stronger life from day to day; That man's the best Conservative Who lops the mouldered branch away. Hands all round! God the tyrant's hope confound! To this great cause of Freedom drink, my friends, And the great name of England round and round.
A health to Europe's honest men! Heaven guard them from her tyrants' jails! From wronged Poerio's noisome den, From iron limbs and tortured nails! We curse the crimes of Southern kings, The Russian whips and Austrian rods— We likewise have our evil things; Too much we make our Ledgers, Gods. Yet hands all round! God the tyrant's cause confound! To Europe's better health we drink, my friends, And the great name of England round and round.
What health to France, if France be she Whom martial progress only charms? Yet tell her—better to be free Than vanquish all the world in arms. Her frantic city's flashing heats But fire, to blast the hopes of men. Why change the titles of your streets? You fools, you'll want them all again. Hands all round! God the tyrant's cause confound! To France, the wiser France, we drink, my friends, And the great name of England round and round.
Gigantic daughter of the West, We drink to thee across the flood, We know thee most, we love thee best, For art thou not of British blood? Should war's mad blast again be blown, Permit not thou the tyrant powers To fight thy mother here alone, But let thy broadsides roar with ours. Hands all round! God the tyrant's cause confound! To our great kinsmen of the West, my friends, And the great name of England round and round.
O rise, our strong Atlantic sons, When war against our freedom springs! O speak to Europe through your guns! They can be understood by kings. You must not mix our Queen with those That wish to keep their people fools; Our freedom's foemen are her foes, She comprehends the race she rules. Hands all round! God the tyrant's cause confound! To our dear kinsmen of the West, my friends, And the great name of England round and round.
Suggested by Reading an Article in a Newspaper
[Published in The Examiner, February 14, 1852, and never reprinted nor acknowledged. The proof sheets of the poem, with alterations in Tennyson's autograph, were offered for public sale in 1906.]
To the Editor of The Examiner.
SIR,—I have read with much interest the poems of Merlin. The enclosed is longer than either of those, and certainly not so good: yet as I flatter myself that it has a smack of Merlin's style in it, and as I feel that it expresses forcibly enough some of the feelings of our time, perhaps you may be induced to admit it.
How much I love this writer's manly style! By such men led, our press had ever been The public conscience of our noble isle, Severe and quick to feel a civic sin, To raise the people and chastise the times With such a heat as lives in great creative rhymes.
O you, the Press! what good from you might spring! What power is yours to blast a cause or bless! I fear for you, as for some youthful king, Lest you go wrong from power in excess. Take heed of your wide privileges! we The thinking men of England, loathe a tyranny.
A freeman is, I doubt not, freest here; The single voice may speak his mind aloud; An honest isolation need not fear The Court, the Church, the Parliament, the crowd. No, nor the Press! and look you well to that— We must not dread in you the nameless autocrat.
And you, dark Senate of the public pen, You may not, like yon tyrant, deal in spies. Yours are the public acts of public men, But yours are not their household privacies. I grant you one of the great Powers on earth, But be not you the blatant traitors of the hearth.
You hide the hand that writes: it must be so, For better so you fight for public ends; But some you strike can scarce return the blow; You should be all the nobler, O my friends. Be noble, you! nor work with faction's tools To charm a lower sphere of fulminating fools.
But knowing all your power to heat or cool, To soothe a civic wound or keep it raw, Be loyal, if you wish for wholesome rule: Our ancient boast is this—we reverence law. We still were loyal in our wildest fights, Or loyally disloyal battled for our rights.
O Grief and Shame if while I preach of laws Whereby to guard our Freedom from offence— And trust an ancient manhood and the cause Of England and her health of commonsense— There hang within the heavens a dark disgrace, Some vast Assyrian doom to burst upon our race.
I feel the thousand cankers of our State, I fain would shake their triple-folded ease, The hogs who can believe in nothing great, Sneering bedridden in the down of Peace Over their scrips and shares, their meats and wine, With stony smirks at all things human and divine!
I honour much, I say, this man's appeal. We drag so deep in our commercial mire, We move so far from greatness, that I feel Exception to be character'd in fire. Who looks for Godlike greatness here shall see The British Goddess, sleek Respectability.
Alas for her and all her small delights! She feels not how the social frame is rack'd. She loves a little scandal which excites; A little feeling is a want of tact. For her there lie in wait millions of foes, And yet the 'not too much' is all the rule she knows.
Poor soul! behold her: what decorous calm! She, with her week-day worldliness sufficed, Stands in her pew and hums her decent psalm With decent dippings at the name of Christ! And she has mov'd in that smooth way so long, She hardly can believe that she shall suffer wrong.
Alas, our Church! alas, her growing ills, And those who tolerate not her tolerance, But needs must sell the burthen of their wills To that half-pagan harlot kept by France! Free subjects of the kindliest of all thrones, Headlong they plunge their doubts among old rags and bones.
Alas, Church writers, altercating tribes— The vessel and your Church may sink in storms. Christ cried: Woe, woe, to Pharisees and Scribes! Like them, you bicker less for truth than forms. I sorrow when I read the things you write, What unheroic pertness! what un-Christian spite!
Alas, our youth, so clever yet so small, Thin dilletanti deep in nature's plan, Who make the emphatic One, by whom is all, An essence less concentred than a man! Better wild Mahmoud's war-cry once again! O fools, we want a manlike God and Godlike men!
Go, frightful omens. Yet once more I turn To you that mould men's thoughts; I call on you To make opinion warlike, lest we learn A sharper lesson than we ever knew. I hear a thunder though the skies are fair, But shrill you, loud and long, the warning-note: Prepare!
[Lord Tennyson wrote, by Royal request, two stanzas which were sung as part of God Save the Queen at a State concert in connection with the Princess Royal's marriage: these were printed in the Times of January 26, 1858.]
God bless our Prince and Bride! God keep their lands allied, God save the Queen! Clothe them with righteousness, Crown them with happiness, Them with all blessings bless, God save the Queen.
Fair fall this hallow'd hour, Farewell our England's flower, God save the Queen! Farewell, fair rose of May! Let both the peoples say, God bless thy marriage-day, God bless the Queen.
[Published in Enoch Arden volume (London: E. Moxon & Co, 1864) and never reprinted.]
'Your ringlets, your ringlets, That look so golden-gay, If you will give me one, but one, To kiss it night and day, Then never chilling touch of Time Will turn it silver-gray; And then shall I know it is all true gold To flame and sparkle and stream as of old, Till all the comets in heaven are cold, And all her stars decay.' 'Then take it, love, and put it by; This cannot change, nor yet can I.'
'My ringlet, my ringlet, That art so golden-gay, Now never chilling touch of Time Can turn thee silver-gray; And a lad may wink, and a girl may hint, And a fool may say his say; For my doubts and fears were all amiss, And I swear henceforth by this and this, That a doubt will only come for a kiss, And a fear to be kissed away.' 'Then kiss it, love, and put it by: If this can change, why so can I.'
O Ringlet, O Ringlet, I kiss'd you night and day, And Ringlet, O Ringlet, You still are golden-gay, But Ringlet, O Ringlet, You should be silver-gray: For what is this which now I'm told, I that took you for true gold, She that gave you's bought and sold, Sold, sold.
O Ringlet, O Ringlet, She blush'd a rosy red, When Ringlet, O Ringlet, She clipt you from her head, And Ringlet, O Ringlet, She gave you me, and said, 'Come, kiss it, love, and put it by: If this can change, why so can I.' O fie, you golden nothing, fie You golden lie.
O Ringlet, O Ringlet, I count you much to blame, For Ringlet, O Ringlet, You put me much to shame, So Ringlet, O Ringlet, I doom you to the flame. For what is this which now I learn, Has given all my faith a turn? Burn, you glossy heretic, burn, Burn, burn.
[This first form of the Song in The Princess ('Home they brought her warrior dead') was published only in Selections from Tennyson. London: E. Moxon & Co, 1864.]
Home they brought him slain with spears. They brought him home at even-fall: All alone she sits and hears Echoes in his empty hall, Sounding on the morrow.
The Sun peeped in from open field, The boy began to leap and prance, Rode upon his father's lance, Beat upon his father's shield— 'Oh hush, my joy, my sorrow.'
[Published in Good Words for March 1, 1868 as a decorative page, with an accompanying full page plate by T. Dalziel. The lines were never reprinted.]
I stood on a tower in the wet, And New Year and Old Year met, And winds were roaring and blowing; And I said, 'O years that meet in tears, Have ye aught that is worth the knowing?
'Science enough and exploring Wanderers coming and going Matter enough for deploring But aught that is worth the knowing?'
Seas at my feet were flowing Waves on the shingle pouring, Old Year roaring and blowing And New Year blowing and roaring.
The Lover's Tale 1833
[It was originally intended by Tennyson that this poem should form part of his 1833 volume. It was put in type and, according to custom, copies were distributed among his friends, when, on the eve of publication, he decided to omit it. Again, in 1869, it was sent to press with a new third part added, and was again withdrawn, the third part only—'The Golden Supper,' founded on a story in Boccaccio's Decameron—being published in the volume, 'The Holy Grail.' In 1866, 1870 and 1875, attempts had been made by Mr Herne Shepherd to publish editions of 'The Lover's Tale,' reprinted from stray proof copies of the 1833 printing. Each of these attempts was repressed by Tennyson, and at last in 1879 the complete poem, as now included in the collected Works, was issued, with an apologetic reference to the necessity of reprinting the poem to prevent its circulation in an unauthorised form. But the 1879 issue is considerably altered from the original issue of 1833, as written by Tennyson in his nineteenth year. Since only as a product of Tennyson's youth does the poem merit any attention, it has seemed good to reprint it here as originally written.]
The Poem of the Lover's Tale (the lover is supposed to be himself a poet) was written in my nineteenth year, and consequently contains nearly as many faults as words. That I deemed it not wholly unoriginal is my only apology for its publication—an apology lame and poor, and somewhat impertinent to boot: so that if its infirmities meet with more laughter than charity in the world, I shall not raise my voice in its defence. I am aware how deficient the Poem is in point of art, and it is not without considerable misgivings that I have ventured to publish even this fragment of it. 'Enough,' says the old proverb, 'is as good as a feast.'—(Tennyson's original introductory note.)
Here far away, seen from the topmost cliff, Filling with purple gloom the vacancies Between the tufted hills the sloping seas Hung in mid-heaven, and half-way down rare sails, White as white clouds, floated from sky to sky. Oh! pleasant breast of waters, quiet bay, Like to a quiet mind in the loud world, Where the chafed breakers of the outer sea Sunk powerless, even as anger falls aside, And withers on the breast of peaceful love, Thou didst receive that belt of pines, that fledged The hills that watch'd thee, as Love watcheth Love,— In thine own essence, and delight thyself To make it wholly thine on sunny days. Keep thou thy name of 'Lover's bay': See, Sirs, Even now the Goddess of the Past, that takes The heart, and sometimes toucheth but one string, That quivers, and is silent, and sometimes Sweeps suddenly all its half-moulder'd chords To an old melody, begins to play On those first-moved fibres of the brain. I come, Great mistress of the ear and eye: Oh! lead me tenderly, for fear the mind Rain thro' my sight, and strangling sorrow weigh Mine utterance with lameness. Tho' long years Have hallowed out a valley and a gulf Betwixt the native land of Love and me, Breathe but a little on me, and the sail Will draw me to the rising of the sun, The lucid chambers of the morning star, And East of life. Permit me, friend, I prithee, To pass my hand across my brows, and muse On those dear hills, that nevermore will meet The sight that throbs and aches beneath my touch, As tho' there beat a heart in either eye; For when the outer lights are darken'd thus, The memory's vision hath a keener edge. It grows upon me now—the semicircle Of dark blue waters and the narrow fringe Of curving beach—its wreaths of dripping green— Its pale pink shells—the summer-house aloft That open'd on the pines with doors of glass, A mountain nest the pleasure boat that rock'd Light-green with its own shadow, keel to keel, Upon the crispings of the dappled waves That blanched upon its side. O Love, O Hope, They come, they crowd upon me all at once, Moved from the cloud of unforgotten things, That sometimes on the horizon of the mind Lies folded—often sweeps athwart in storm— They flash across the darkness of my brain, The many pleasant days, the moolit nights, The dewy dawnings and the amber eyes, When thou and I, Camilla, thou and I Were borne about the bay, or safely moor'd Beneath some low brow'd cavern, where the wave Plash'd sapping its worn ribs (the while without, And close above us, sang the wind-tost pine, And shook its earthly socket, for we heard, In rising and in falling with the tide, Close by our ears, the huge roots strain and creak), Eye feeding upon eye with deep intent; And mine, with love too high to be express'd Arrested in its sphere, and ceasing from All contemplation of all forms, did pause To worship mine own image, laved in light, The centre of the splendours, all unworthy Of such a shrine—mine image in her eyes, By diminution made most glorious, Moved with their motions, as those eyes were moved With motions of the soul, as my heart beat Twice to the melody of hers. Her face Was starry-fair, not pale, tenderly flush'd As 'twere with dawn. She was dark-hair'd, dark-eyed; Oh, such dark eyes! A single glance of them Will govern a whole life from birth to death, Careless of all things else, led on with light In trances and in visions: look at them, You lose yourself in utter ignorance, You cannot find their depth; for they go back, And farther back, and still withdraw themselves Quite into the deep soul, that evermore, Fresh springing from her fountains in the brain, Still pouring thro', floods with redundant light Her narrow portals.
Trust me, long ago I should have died, if it were possible To die in gazing on that perfectness Which I do bear within me; I had died But from my farthest lapse, my latest ebb, Thine image, like a charm of light and strength Upon the waters, pushed me back again On these deserted sands of barren life. Tho' from the deep vault, where the heart of hope Fell into dust, and crumbled in the dark— Forgetting who to render beautiful Her countenance with quick and healthful blood— Thou didst not sway me upward, could I perish With such a costly casket in the grasp Of memory? He, that saith it, hath o'erstepp'd The slippery footing of his narrow wit, And fall'n away from judgment. Thou art light, To which my spirit leaneth all her flowers, And length of days, and immortality Of thought, and freshness ever self-renew'd. For Time and Grief abode too long with Life, And like all other friends i' the world, at last They grew aweary of her fellowship: So Time and Grief did beckon unto Death, And Death drew nigh and beat the doors of Life; But thou didst sit alone in the inner house, A wakeful port'ress and didst parle with Death, 'This is a charmed dwelling which I hold'; So Death gave back, and would no further come. Yet is my life nor in the present time, Nor in the present place. To me alone, Pushed from his chair of regal heritage, The Present is the vassal of the Past: So that, in that I have lived, do I live, And cannot die, and am, in having been, A portion of the pleasant yesterday, Thrust forward on to-day and out of place; A body journeying onward, sick with toil, The lithe limbs bow'd as with a heavy weight And all the senses weaken'd in all save that Which, long ago, they had glean'd and garner'd up Into the granaries of memory— The clear brow, bulwark of the precious brain, Now seam'd and chink'd with years—and all the while The light soul twines and mingles with the growths Of vigorous early days, attracted, won, Married, made one with, molten into all The beautiful in Past of act or place. Even as the all-enduring camel, driven Far from the diamond fountain by the palms, Toils onward thro' the middle moonlight nights, Shadow'd and crimson'd with the drifting dust, Or when the white heats of the blinding noons Beat from the concave sand; yet in him keeps A draught of that sweet fountain that he loves, To stay his feet from falling, and his spirit From bitterness of death.
Ye ask me, friends, When I began to love. How should I tell ye? Or from the after fulness of my heart, Flow back again unto my slender spring And first of love, tho' every turn and depth Between is clearer in my life than all Its present flow. Ye know not what ye ask. How should the broad and open flower tell What sort of bud it was, when press'd together In its green sheath, close lapt in silken folds? It seemed to keep its sweetness to itself, Yet was not the less sweet for that it seem'd. For young Life knows not when young Life was born, But takes it all for granted: neither Love, Warm in the heart, his cradle can remember Love in the womb, but resteth satisfied, Looking on her that brought him to the light: Or as men know not when they fall asleep Into delicious dreams, our other life, So know I not when I began to love. This is my sum of knowledge—that my love Grew with myself—and say rather, was my growth, My inward sap, the hold I have on earth, My outward circling air wherein I breathe, Which yet upholds my life, and evermore Was to me daily life and daily death: For how should I have lived and not have loved? Can ye take off the sweetness from the flower, The colour and the sweetness from the rose, And place them by themselves? or set apart Their motions and their brightness from the stars, And then point out the flower or the star? Or build a wall betwixt my life and love, And tell me where I am? 'Tis even thus: In that I live I love; because I love I live: whate'er is fountain to the one Is fountain to the other; and whene'er Our God unknits the riddle of the one, There is no shade or fold of mystery Swathing the other.
Many, many years, For they seem many and my most of life, And well I could have linger'd in that porch, So unproportioned to the dwelling place, In the maydews of childhood, opposite The flush and dawn of youth, we lived together, Apart, alone together on those hills. Before he saw my day my father died, And he was happy that he saw it not: But I and the first daisy on his grave From the same clay came into light at once. As Love and I do number equal years So she, my love, is of an age with me. How like each other was the birth of each! The sister of my mother—she that bore Camilla close beneath her beating heart, Which to the imprisoned spirit of the child, With its true touched pulses in the flow And hourly visitation of the blood, Sent notes of preparation manifold, And mellow'd echoes of the outer world— My mother's sister, mother of my love, Who had a twofold claim upon my heart, One twofold mightier than the other was, In giving so much beauty to the world, And so much wealth as God had charged her with, Loathing to put it from herself for ever, Crown'd with her highest act the placid face And breathless body of her good deeds past. So we were born, so orphan'd. She was motherless, And I without a father. So from each Of those two pillars which from earth uphold Our childhood, one had fall'n away, and all The careful burthen of our tender years Trembled upon the other. He that gave Her life, to me delightedly fulfill'd All loving-kindnesses, all offices Of watchful care and trembling tenderness. He worked for both: he pray'd for both: he slept Dreaming of both; nor was his love the less Because it was divided, and shot forth Boughs on each side, laden with wholesome shade, Wherein we rested sleeping or awake, And sung aloud the matin-song of life.
She was my foster-sister: on one arm The flaxen ringlets of our infancies Wander'd, the while we rested: one soft lap Pillow'd us both: one common light of eyes Was on us as we lay: our baby lips, Kissing one bosom, ever drew from thence The stream of life, one stream, one life, one blood, One sustenance, which, still as thought grew large, Still larger moulding all the house of thought, Perchance assimilated all our tastes And future fancies. 'Tis a beautiful And pleasant meditation, what whate'er Our general mother meant for me alone, Our mutual mother dealt to both of us: So what was earliest mine in earliest life, I shared with her in whom myself remains. As was our childhood, so our infancy, They tell me, was a very miracle Of fellow-feeling and communion. They tell me that we would not be alone,— We cried when we were parted; when I wept, Her smile lit up the rainbow on my tears, Stay'd on the clouds of sorrow; that we loved The sound of one another's voices more Than the grey cuckoo loves his name, and learn'd To lisp in tune together; that we slept In the same cradle always, face to face, Heart beating time to heart, lip pressing lip, Folding each other, breathing on each other, Dreaming together (dreaming of each other They should have added) till the morning light Sloped thro' the pines, upon the dewy pane Falling, unseal'd our eyelids, and we woke To gaze upon each other. If this be true, At thought of which my whole soul languishes And faints, and hath no pulse, no breath, as tho' A man in some still garden should infuse Rich attar in the bosom of the rose, Till, drunk with its own wine and overfull Of sweetness, and in smelling of itself, It fall on its own thorns—if this be true— And that way my wish leaneth evermore Still to believe it—'tis so sweet a thought, Why in the utter stillness of the soul Doth question'd memory answer not, nor tell, Of this our earliest, our closest drawn, Most loveliest, most delicious union? Oh, happy, happy outset of my days! Green springtide, April promise, glad new year Of Being, which with earliest violets, And lavish carol of clear-throated larks, Fill'd all the march of life.—I will not speak of thee; These have not seen thee, these can never know thee, They cannot understand me. Pass on then A term of eighteen years. Ye would but laugh If I should tell ye how I heard in thought Those rhymes, 'The Lion and the Unicorn' 'The Four-and-twenty Blackbirds' 'Banbury Cross,' 'The Gander' and 'The man of Mitylene,' And all the quaint old scraps of ancient crones, Which are as gems set in my memory, Because she learn'd them with me. Or what profits it To tell ye that her father died, just ere The daffodil was blown; or how we found The drowned seaman on the shore? These things Unto the quiet daylight of your minds Are cloud and smoke, but in the dark of mine Show traced with flame. Move with me to that hour, Which was the hinge on which the door of Hope, Once turning, open'd far into the outward, And never closed again.