Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

THE MERMAID.-SONNET TO J. M. K.-THE LADY OF SHALOTT.

19

We would call' aloud in the dreamy dells,

With his large calm eyes for the love of me.
Call to each other and whoop and cry

And all the mermen under the sea
All night, merrily, merrily ;

Would feel their immortality
They would pelt me with starry spangles and shells, Die in their hearts for the love of me.
Laughing and clapping their hands between,
All night, merrily, merrily:

3. But I would throw to them back in mine

But at night I would wander away, away, Turkis and agate and almondine:

I would fling on each side my low-flowing locks, Then leaping out upon them unseen

And lightly vault from the throne and play I would kiss them often under the sea,

With the mermen in and out of the rocks ; And kiss them again till they kiss'd me

We would run to and fro, and hide and seek, Laughingly, laughingly.

On the broad sea-wolds in the crimson shells, Oh what a happy life were mine

Whose silvery spikes are nighest the sea, Under the hollow-hung ocean green!

But if any came near I would call, and shriek, Soft are the moss-beds under the sea;

And adown the steep like a wave I would leap We would live merrily, merrily.

From the diamond-ledges that jut from the dells ; For I would not be kiss'd by all who would list, Of the bold merry mermen under the sea ;

They would sue me, and woo me, and flatter me, THE MERMAID.

In the purple twilights under the sea;

But the king of them all would carry me,
1.

Woo me, and win me, and marry me,
Who would be

In the branching jaspers under the sea;
A mermaid fair,

Then all the dry pied things that be
Singing alone,

In the hueless mosses under the sea
Combing her hair

Would curl round my silver feet silently.
Under the sea,

All looking up for the love of me.
In a golden curl

And if I should carol aloud, from aloft
With a comb of pearl,

All things that are forked, and horned, and soft
On a throne ?

Would lean out from the hollow sphere of the sea,

All looking down for the love of me.
2.
I would be a mermaid fair;
I would sing to myself the whole of the day ;
With a comb of pearl I would comb my hair;

SONNET TO J. M. K.
And still as I comb'd I would sing and say,
“Who is it loves me? who loves not me?"

My hope and heart is with thee-thou wilt be I would comb my hair till my ringlets would fall, A latter Luther, and a soldier-priest Low adown, low adown,

To scare church-harpies from the master's feast; From under my starry sea-bud crown

Our dusted velvets have much need of thee;
Low adown and around,

Thou art no Sabbath-drawler of old saws,
And I should look like a fountain of gold Distill'd from some worm-canker'd homily;
Springing alone

But spurr'd at heart with fieriest energy
With a shrill inner sound,

To embattail and to wall about thy cause
Over the throne

With iron-worded proof, hating to hark
In the midst of the hall:

The humming of the drowsy pulpit-drone
Till that great sea-snake under the sea

Half God's good Sabbath, while the worn-out clerk From his coiled sleeps in the central deeps

Brow-beats his desk below. Thou from a throne Would slowly trail himself sevenfold

Mounted in heaven wilt shoot into the dark Round the hall where I sate, and look in at the gate | Arrows of lightnings. I will stand and mark.

PO E MS.

(Published 1832.)

(This division of this volume was published in the winter of 1832. Some of the poems have been considerably altered. Others have been added, which, with one exception, were written in 1833.]

THE LADY OF SHALOTT.

PART I.

On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And thro' the field the road runs by

To many-towered Camelot ;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,

The island of Shalott.

Thro' the wave that runs forever
By the island in the river

Flowing down to Camelot.
Four gray walls, and four gray towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers

The Lady of Shalott.
By the margin, willow-veil'd,
Slide the heavy barges trail'd
By slow horses; and unhail'd
The shallop flitteth silken-sail'd

Skimming down to Camelot:
But who hath seen her wave her hand ?
Or at the casement seen her stand!
Or is she known in all the land,

The Lady of Shalott ?

Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

The helmet and the helmet-feather Burned like one burning flame together,

As he rode down to Camelot. As often thro' the purple night, Below the starry clusters bright, Some bearded meteor, trailing light,

Moves over still Shalott.

Who is this? and what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer:
And they cross'd themselves for fear,

All the knights at Camelot:
But Lancelot mused a little space:
He said, “She has a lovely face:
God in his mercy lend her grace,

The Lady of 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 thro' the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,

She look'd down to Camelot. Out flew the web and floated wide; The mirror crack'd from side to side; “ The curse is come upon me," cried

The Lady of Shalott.

MARIANA IN THE SOUTH. Witu one black shadow at its feet,

The house thro' all the level shines,
Close-latticed to the brooding heat,

And silent in its dusty vines :
A faint-blue ridge upon the right,

An empty river-bed before,

And shallows on a distant shore, In glaring sand and inlets bright.

But “Ave Mary," made she moan,

And “Ave Mary," night and morn, And “Ah," she sang, “to be all alone,

To live forgotten, and love forlorn."

PART IV.
In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining,
Heavily the low sky raining

Over tower'd Camelot;
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And round about the prow she wrote

The Lady of Shalott.
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.

She, as her carol sadder grew,

From brow and bosom slowly down Thro' rosy taper fingers drew

Her streaming curls of deepest brown, To left and right, and made appear,

Still-lighted in a secret shrine,

Her melancholy eyes divine, The home of woe without a tear,

And “Ave Mary," was her moan,

“Madonna, sad is night and morn;" And “Ah," she sang, “to be all alone,

To live forgotten, and love forlorn.”

Till all the crimson changed, and past

Into deep orange o'er the sea, Low on her knees herself she cast,

Before Our Lady murmur'd she; Complaining, “Mother, give me grace

To help me of my weary load,"

And on the liquid mirror glow'd The clear perfection of her face.

“Is this the form," she made her moan,

“That won his praises night and moru ?" And “Ah," she said, “but I wake alone,

I sleep forgotten, I wake forlorn."

Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to left and right-
The leaves upon her falling light-
Thro' the noises of the night

She floated down to Camelot:
And as the boat-head wound along
The willow hills and fields among,
They heard her singing her last song,

The Lady of Shalott.

Nor bird would sing, nor lamb would bleat,

Nor any cloud would cross the vault, But day increased from heat to heat,

On stony drought and steaming salt; Till now at noon she slept again,

And seem'd knee-deep in mountain grass,

And heard her native breezes pass, And runlets babbling down the glen.

She breathed in sleep a lower moan,

And murmuring, as at night and morn, She thought, “My spirit is here alone,

Walks forgotten, and is forlorn."

Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darken'd 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,
A corse between the houses high,

Silent into Camelot,
Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and burgher, lord and dame,
And round the prow they read her name,

The Lady of Shalott.

Dreaming, she knew it was a dream :

She felt he was and was not there. She woke: the babble of the stream

Fell, and without the steady glare Shrank one sick willow sere and small.

The river-bed was dusty-white;

And all the furnace of the light Struck up against the blinding wall.

She whisper'd, with a stifled moan

More inward than at night or morn, “Sweet Mother, let me not here alone

Live forgotten and die forlorn."

And, rising, from her bosom drew

old letters, breathing of her worth, For “Love," they said, “must needs be true,

To what is loveliest upon earth." An image seem'd to pass the door,

To look at her with slight, and say,

“But now thy beauty flows away, So be alone forevermore."

"O cruel heart," she changed her tone,

"And cruel love, whose end is scorn, Is this the end to be left alone,

To live forgotten, and die forlorn !"

3. Who may minister to thee? Summer herself should minister

To thee, with fruitage golden-rinded

On golden salvers, or it may be, Youngest Autumn, in a bower Grape-thicken'd from the light, and blinded

With many a deep-hued bell-like flower Of fragrant trailers, when the air

Sleepeth over all the heaven,
And the crag that fronts the Even,

All along the shadowing shore,
Crimsons over an inland mere,

Eleanore !

But sometimes in the falling day

An image seem'd to pass the door, To look into her eyes and say,

" But thou shalt be alone no more. And flaming downward over all

From heat to heat the day decreased,

And slowly rounded to the east
The one black shadow from the wall.

“The day to night," she made her moan,

“The day to night, the night to morn, And day and night I am left alone

To live forgotten, and love forlorn."

At eve a dry cicala sung,

There came a sound as of the sea :
Backward the latticed-blind she flung,
· And lean'd upon the balcony.
There all in spaces rosy-bright

Large Hesper glitter'd on her tears,

And deepening through the silent spheres, Heaven over Heaven rose the night.

And weeping then she made her moan,

“The night comes on that knows not morn, When I shall cease to be all alone,

To live forgotten, and love forlorn."

4. How may full-sail'd verse express,

How may measured words adore

The full-flowing harmony Of thy swan-like stateliness,

Eleanore ?
The luxuriant symmetry
of thy floating gracefulness,

Eleanore !
Every turn and glance of thine,
Every lineament divine,

Eleanore,
And the steady sunset glow,
That stays upon thee? For in thee

Is nothing sudden, nothing single:
Like two streams of incense free

From one censer, in one shrine,

Thought and motion mingle,
Mingle ever. Motions flow
To one another, even as tho'
They were modulated so

To an unheard melody,
Which lives about thee, and a sweep

Of richest pauses, evermore Drawn from each other mellow-deep,

Who may express thee, Eleanore ?

5.

ELEÄNORE.

1.

I stand before thee, Eleanore;

I see thy beauty gradually unfold, Daily and hourly, more and more. I muse, as in a trance, the while

Slowly, as from a cloud of gold, Comes out thy deep ambrosial smile. I muse, as in a trance, whene'er

The languors of thy love-deep eyes Float on to me. I would I were

So tranced, so rapt in ecstasies,
To stand apart, and to adore,
Gazing on thee forevermore,
Serene, imperial Eleanore !

6.

Tuy dark eyes open'd not,
Nor first reveal'd themselves to English air,

For there is nothing here,
Which, from the outward to the inward brought,
Moulded thy baby thought.
Far off from human neighborhood,

Thou wert born, on a summer morn,
A mile beneath the cedar-wood.
Thy bounteous forehead was not fann'd

With breezes from our oaken glades,
But thou wert nursed in some delicious land

Of lavish lights, and floating shades:
And flattering thy childish thought

The oriental fairy brought,

At the moment of thy birth, From old well-heads of haunted rills, And the hearts of purple hills,

And shadow'd coves on a sunny shore,

The choicest wealth of all the earth,
Jewel or shell, or starry ore,
To deck thy cradle, Eleanore.

Sometimes, with most intensity
Gazing, I seem to see
Thought folded over thought, smiling aslcep,
Slowly awaken'd, grow so full and deep
In thy large eyes, that, overpower'd quite,
I cannot veil, or droop my sight,
But am as nothing in its light:
As tho' a star, in inmost heaven set,
Ev'n while we gaze on it,
Should slowly round his orb, and slowly grow
To a full face, there like a sun remain
Fix'd-then as slowly fade again,

And draw itself to what it was before;

So full, so deep, so slow,

Thought seems to come and go
In thy large eyes, imperial Eleanore.

2.
Or the yellow-handed bees,
Thro' half-open lattices
Coming in the scented breeze,

Fed thee, a child, lying alone,

With whitest honey in fairy gardens cull'd-A glorious child, dreaming alone,

In silk-soft folds, upon yielding dowi, With the hum of swarming bees

Into dreamful slumber lul'd.

7.
As thunder-clouds, that, hung on high,

Roof'd the world with doubt and fear,

Have I not found a happy earth?

I least should breathe a thought of pain. Would God renew me from my birth

I'd almost live my life again.
So sweet it seems with thee to walk,

And once again to woo thee mine-
It seems in after-dinner talk

Across the walnuts and the wine

Floating thro' an evening atmosphere,
Grow golden all about the sky;
In thee all passion becomes passionless,
Touch'd by thy spirit's mellowness,
Losing his fire and active might

In a silent meditation,
Falling into a still delight,

And luxury of contemplation : As waves that up a quiet cove

Rolling slide, and lying still

Shadow forth the banks at will:
Or sometimes they swell and move,

Pressing up against the land,
With motions of the outer sea:

And the self-same influence

Controlleth all the soul and sense
Of Passion gazing upon thee.
His bow-string slacken'd, languid Love,

Leaning his cheek upon his hand,
Droops both his wings, regarding thee,

And so would languish evermore,
Serene, imperial Eleänore.

To be the long and listless boy

Late-left an orphan of the squire, Where this old mansion mounted high

Looks down upon the village spire: For even here, where I and you

Have lived and loved alone so long, Each morn my sleep was broken thro'

By some wild skylark's matin-song.

And oft I heard the tender dove

In firry woodlands making moane;
But ere I saw your eyes, my love,

I had no motion of my own.
For scarce my life with fancy play'd

Before I dream'd that pleasant dreamStill hither thither idly sway'd

Like those long mosses in the stream.

Or from the bridge I lean'd to hear

The milldam rushing down with noise, And see the minnows everywhere

In crystal eddies glance and poise, The tall flag-flowers when they sprung

Below the range of stepping-stones, Or those three chestnuts near, that hung

In masses thick with milky cones.

8.
But when I see thee roam, with tresses unconfined,
While the amorous, odorous wind
Breathes low between the sunset and the moon;

Or, in a shadowy saloon,
On silken curtains half reclined;

I watch thy grace; and in its place
My heart a charmed slumber keeps,

While I muse upon thy face;
And a languid fire creeps

Thro' my veins to all my frame,
Dissolvingly and slowly: soon

From thy rose-red lips my name
Floweth; and then, as in a swoon,
With dinning sound my ears are rife,

My tremulous tongue faltereth,
I lose my color, I lose my breath,

I drink the cup of a costly death,
Brimm'd with delirious draughts of warmest life.

I die with my delight, before

I hear what I would hear from thee;

Yet tell my name again to me,
I would be dying evermore,
So dying ever, Eleänore.

But, Alice, what an hour was that,

When after roving in the woods ('Twas April then), I came and sat

Below the chestnuts, when their buds Were glistening to the breezy blue;

And on the slope, an absent fool,
I cast me down, nor thought of you,

But angled in the higher pool.

A love-song I had somewhere read,

An echo from a measured strain, Beat time to nothing in my head

From some odd corner of the brain. It haunted me, the morning long,

With weary sameness in the rhymes, The phantom of a silent song,

That went and came a thousand times,

THE MİLLER'S DAUGHTER. I SEE the wealthy miller yet,

His double chin, his portly size, And who that knew him could forget

The busy wrinkles round his eyes ? The slow wise smile that, round about

His dusty forehead dryly curl'd, Seem'd half-within and half-without,

And full of dealings with the world ? In yonder chair I see him sit,

Three fingers round the old silver cup -I see his gray eyes twinkle yet

At his own jest-gray eyes lit up With summer lightnings of a soul

So full of summer warmth, so glad, So healthy, sound, and clear and whole,

His memory scarce can make me sad.

Then leapt a trout. In lazy mood

I watch'd the little circles die; They past into the level flood,

And there a vision caught my eye; The reflex of a beauteous form,

A glowing arm, a gleaming neck, As when a sunbeam wavers warm

Within the dark and dimpled beck.

For you remember, you had set,

That morning, on the casement's edge A long green box of mignonette,

And you were leaning from the ledge: And when I raised my eyes, above

They met with two so full and bright-Such eyes ! I swear to you, my love,

That these have never lost their light.

Yet fill my glass : give me one kiss :

My own sweet Alice, we must die. There's somewhat in this world amiss

Shall be unriddled by-and-by. There's somewhat flows to us in life,

But more is taken quite away. Pray, Alice, pray, my darling wife,

That we may die the self-same day.

I loved, and love dispellid the fear

That I should die an early death; For love possess'd the atmosphere,

And fill'd the breast with purer breath. My mother thought, What ails the boy?

For I was alter'd, and began

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »