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Title: Narrative and Lyric Poems (Second Series)

Date of first publication: 1914

Author: O. J. Stevenson

Date first posted: March 13, 2015

Date last updated: March 13, 2015

Faded Page eBook #20150348

This ebook was produced by: David Jones, Mardi Desjardins & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at http://www.pgdpcanada.net






(Second Series)









O. J. STEVENSON, M.A., D.Paed.


Professor of English, Ontario Agricultural College.










Copyright, Canada, 1914, by The Copp, Clark Company, Limited,

Toronto, Ontario.



   The Narrative and Lyric Poems contained in this volume are the Second Series prescribed by the Department of Education for examination for Junior and Senior Public School Diplomas, and for the Senior High School Entrance, and Entrance into the Model Schools. (Circular 58.)

   The poems are arranged in the order in which they are named in the prescribed list issued by the Department of Education, and a division is made between those prescribed for the Junior and those prescribed for the Senior examination.

   In the annotations the chief points of difficulty have been explained. In the case of certain poems, such as Tennyson’s Enid, for example, some minor changes in words and phrases were made in the later editions of the poet’s works. In the cases where the later editions are still in copyright, the earlier readings have in all cases been followed, and important changes are indicated in the notes.


The numbers in parentheses refer to the pages of the Notes.


   The poems in the following list are those prescribed by the Department of Education, in the Province of Ontario, for examination for the Junior Public School Diploma. In addition to these poems Scott’s Quentin Durward is also prescribed for this examination. See Circular 58.

TennysonEnoch Arden(133)1
Tennyson Morte D’Arthur(137)30
Byron The Prisoner of Chillon(140)38
Gray Elegy, Written in a Country Churchyard(143)50
Mrs. Browning My Kate(145)55
Scott Rosabelle(145)57
Scott Lochinvar(146)58
Shelley To a Skylark(147)60


   The poems in the following list are those prescribed by the Department of Education in the Province of Ontario, for examination for the Senior Public School Diploma, Senior High School Entrance, and Entrance into the Model Schools. In addition to these poems, Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice is also prescribed for this examination. See Circular 58.

TennysonOde on the Death of the Duke of Wellington(151 )90
TennysonThe Day Dream(153)99
Tennyson“You Ask Me, Why—”(156)106
GoldsmithThe Traveller(156)107
BrowningHome-Thoughts, from the Sea(164)120
BrowningThe Patriot(165)121
BrowningLove Among the Ruins(166)122
ByronThe Isles of Greece(167)125
Clough“As Ships, Becalm’d—”(169)129
HolmesThe Chambered Nautilus(169)130
List of Selections for Memorization132





Long lines of cliff breaking have left a chasm;

And in the chasm are foam and yellow sands;

Beyond, red roofs about a narrow wharf

In cluster; then a moulder’d church; and higher

A long street climbs to one tall-tower’d mill;          5

And high in heaven behind it a gray down

With Danish barrows; and a hazelwood,

By autumn nutters haunted, flourishes

Green in a cuplike hollow of the down.


  Here on this beach a hundred years ago,          10

Three children of three houses, Annie Lee,

The prettiest little damsel in the port,

And Philip Ray the miller’s only son,

And Enoch Arden, a rough sailor’s lad

Made orphan by a winter shipwreck, play’d          15

Among the waste and lumber of the shore,

Hard coils of cordage, swarthy fishing-nets,

Anchors of rusty fluke, and boats updrawn;

And built their castles of dissolving sand

To watch them overflow’d, or following up          20

And flying the white breaker, daily left

The little footprint daily wash’d away.


  A narrow cave ran in beneath the cliff:

In this the children play’d at keeping house.

Enoch was host one day, Philip the next,          25

While Annie still was mistress; but at times

Enoch would hold possession for a week:

‘This is my house and this my little wife.’

‘Mine too,’ said Philip ‘turn and turn about:’

When, if they quarrell’d, Enoch stronger-made          30

Was master: then would Philip, his blue eyes

All flooded with the helpless wrath of tears,

Shriek out ‘I hate you, Enoch,’ and at this

The little wife would weep for company,

And pray them not to quarrel for her sake,          35

And say she would be little wife to both.


  But when the dawn of rosy childhood past,

And the new warmth of life’s ascending sun

Was felt by either, either fixt his heart

On that one girl; and Enoch spoke his love,          40

But Philip loved in silence; and the girl

Seem’d kinder unto Philip than to him;

But she loved Enoch; tho’ she knew it not,

And would if asked deny it. Enoch set

A purpose evermore before his eyes,          45

To hoard all savings to the uttermost,

To purchase his own boat, and make a home

For Annie: and so prosper’d that at last

A luckier or a bolder fisherman,

A carefuller in peril, did not breathe          50

For leagues along that breaker-beaten coast

Than Enoch. Likewise had he served a year

On board a merchantman, and made himself

Full sailor; and he thrice had pluck’d a life

From the dread sweep of the downstreaming seas:          55

And all men look’d upon him favourably:

And ere he touch’d his one and-twentieth May

He purchased his own boat, and made a home

For Annie, neat and nest-like, halfway up

The narrow street that clamber’d toward the mill.          60


  Then, on a golden autumn eventide,

The younger people making holiday,

With bag and sack and basket, great and small

Went nutting to the hazels. Philip stay’d

(His father lying sick and needing him)          65

An hour behind; but as he climbed the hill,

Just where the prone edge of the wood began

To feather toward the hollow, saw the pair,

Enoch and Annie, sitting hand-in-hand,

His large gray eyes and weather-beaten face          70

All kindled by a still and sacred fire,

That burn’d as on an altar. Philip look’d,

And in their eyes and faces read his doom;

Then, as their faces drew together, groan’d;

And slipt aside, and like a wounded life          75

Crept down into the hollows of the wood;

There, while the rest were loud in merrymaking,

Had his dark hour unseen, and rose and past

Bearing a lifelong hunger in his heart.


  So these were wed, and merrily rang the bells,          80

And merrily ran the years, seven happy years,

Seven happy years of health and competence,

And mutual love and honourable toil;

With children; first a daughter. In him woke,

With his first babe’s first cry, the noble wish          85

To save all earnings to the uttermost,

And give his child a better bringing up

Than his had been, or hers; a wish renew’d,

When two years after came a boy to be

The rosy idol of her solitudes,          90

While Enoch was abroad on wrathful seas,

Or often journeying landward; for in truth

Enoch’s white horse, and Enoch’s ocean-spoil

In ocean-smelling osier and his face,

Rough-redden’d with a thousand winter gales,          95

Not only to the market-cross were known,

But in the leafy lanes behind the down,

Far as the portal-warding lion-whelp,

And peacock-yewtree of the lonely Hall,

Whose Friday fare was Enoch’s ministering.          100


  Then came a change, as all things human change.

Ten miles to northward of the narrow port

Open’d a larger haven: thither used

Enoch at times to go by land or sea;

And once when there, and clambering on a mast          105

In harbour, by mischance he slipt and fell:

A limb was broken when they lifted him;

And while he lay recovering there, his wife

Bore him another son, a sickly one:

Another hand crept too across his trade          110

Taking her bread and theirs: and on him fell,

Altho’ a grave and staid God-fearing man,

Yet lying thus inactive, doubt and gloom.

He seem’d, as in a nightmare of the night,

To see his children leading evermore          115

Low miserable lives of hand-to-mouth,

And her, he loved, a beggar: then he pray’d

‘Save them from this, whatever comes to me.’

And while he pray’d, the master of that ship

Enoch had served in, hearing his mischance,          120

Came, for he knew the man and valued him,

Reporting of his vessel China-bound,

And wanting yet a boatswain. Would he go?

There yet were many weeks before she sail’d,

Sail’d from this port. Would Enoch have the place?          125

And Enoch all at once assented to it,

Rejoicing at that answer to his prayer.


  So now that shadow of mischance appear’d

No graver than as when some little cloud

Cuts off the fiery highway of the sun,          130

And isles a light in the offing: yet the wife—

When he was gone—the children—what to do?

Then Enoch lay long-pondering on his plans;

To sell the boat—and yet he loved her well—

How many a rough sea had he weathered in her!          135

He knew her, as a horseman knows his horse—

And yet to sell her—then with what she brought

Buy goods and stores—set Annie forth in trade

With all that seamen needed or their wives—

So might she keep the house while he was gone.          140

Should he not trade himself out yonder? go

This voyage more than once? yea, twice or thrice—

As oft as needed—last, returning rich,

Become the master of a larger craft,

With fuller profits lead an easier life,          145

Have all his pretty young ones educated,

And pass his days in peace among his own.


  Thus Enoch in his heart determined all:

Then moving homeward came on Annie pale,

Nursing the sickly babe, her latest-born.          150

Forward she started with a happy cry,

And laid the feeble infant in his arms;

Whom Enoch took, and handled all his limbs,

Appraised his weight and fondled fatherlike,

But had no heart to break his purposes          155

To Annie, till the morrow, when he spoke.


  Then first since Enoch’s golden ring had girt

Her finger, Annie fought against his will:

Yet not with brawling opposition she,

But manifold entreaties, many a tear,          160

Many a sad kiss by day or night renew’d

(Sure that all evil would come out of it)

Besought him, supplicating, if he cared

For her or his dear children, not to go.

He not for his own self caring but her,          165

Her and her children, let her plead in vain;

So grieving held his will, and bore it thro.’


  For Enoch parted with his old sea-friend,

Bought Annie goods and stores, and set his hand

To fit their little streetward sitting-room          170

With shelf and corner for the goods and stores.

So all day long till Enoch’s last at home,

Shaking their pretty cabin, hammer and axe,

Auger and saw, while Annie seem’d to hear

Her own death-scaffold raising, shrill’d and rang          175

Till this was ended, and his careful hand,—

The space was narrow,—having order’d all

Almost as neat and close as nature packs

Her blossom or her seedling, paused; and he,

Who needs would work for Annie to the last,          180

Ascending tired, heavily slept till morn.


  And Enoch faced this morning of farewell

Brightly and boldly. All his Annie’s fears,

Save as his Annie’s, were a laughter to him.

Yet Enoch as a brave God-fearing man          185

Bow’d himself down, and in that mystery

Where God-in-man is one with man-in-God,

Pray’d for a blessing on his wife and babes

Whatever came to him: and then he said

‘Annie, this voyage by the grace of God          190

Will bring fair weather yet to all of us.

Keep a clean hearth and a clear fire for me,

For I’ll be back, my girl, before you know it.’

Then lightly rocking baby’s cradle ‘and he,

This pretty, puny, weakly little one,—          195

Nay—for I love him all the better for it—

God bless him, he shall sit upon my knees

And I will tell him tales of foreign parts,

And make him merry, when I come home again.

Come Annie, come, cheer up before I go.’          200


  Him running on thus hopefully she heard,

And almost hoped herself; but when he turn’d

The current of his talk to greater things

In sailor fashion roughly sermonizing

On providence and trust in Heaven, she heard,          205

Heard and not heard him; as the village girl,

Who sets her pitcher underneath the spring,

Musing on him that used to fill it for her,

Hears and not hears, and lets it overflow.


  At length she spoke ‘O Enoch, you are wise;          210

And yet for all your wisdom well know I

That I shall look upon your face no more.’


  ‘Well then,’ said Enoch, ‘I shall look on yours.

Annie, the ship I sail in passes here

(He named the day) get you a seaman’s glass,          215

Spy out my face, and laugh at all your fears.’


  But when the last of those last moments came,

‘Annie, my girl, cheer up, be comforted,

Look to the babes, and till I come again,

Keep everything shipshape, for I must go.          220

And fear no more for me; or if you fear

Cast all your cares on God; that anchor holds.

Is He not yonder in those uttermost

Parts of the morning? if I flee to these

Can I go from Him? and the sea is His,          225

The sea is His: He made it.’


                           Enoch rose,

Cast his strong arms about his drooping wife,

And kiss’d his wonder-stricken little ones;

But for the third, the sickly one, who slept          230

After a night of feverous wakefulness,

When Annie would have raised him Enoch said

‘Wake him not; let him sleep; how should the child

Remember this?’ and kiss’d him in his cot.

But Annie from her baby’s forehead clipt          235

A tiny curl, and gave it: this he kept

Thro’ all his future; but now hastily caught

His bundle, waved his hand, and went his way.


  She, when the day, that Enoch mention’d, came,

Borrow’d a glass, but all in vain: perhaps          240

She could not fix the glass to suit her eye;

Perhaps her eye was dim, hand tremulous;

She saw him not: and while he stood on deck

Waving, the moment and the vessel past.


  Ev’n to the last dip of the vanishing sail          245

She watch’d it, and departed weeping for him;

Then, tho’ she mourned his absence as his grave,

Set her sad will no less to chime with his,

But throve not in her trade, not being bred

To barter, nor compensating the want          250

By shrewdness, neither capable of lies,

Nor asking overmuch and taking less,

And still foreboding ‘what would Enoch say?’

For more than once, in days of difficulty

And pressure, had she sold her wares for less          255

Than what she gave in buying what she sold:

She failed and sadden’d knowing it; and thus,

Expectant of that news which never came,

Gain’d for her own a scanty sustenance,

And lived a life of silent melancholy.          260


  Now the third child was sickly-born and grew

Yet sicklier, tho’ the mother cared for it

With all a mother’s care: nevertheless,

Whether her business often called her from it,

Or thro’ the want of what it needed most,          265

Or means to pay the voice who best could tell

What most it needed—howsoe’er it was,

After a lingering,—ere she was aware,—

Like the caged bird escaping suddenly,

The little innocent soul flitted away.          270


  In that same week when Annie buried it,

Philip’s true heart, which hunger’d for her peace

(Since Enoch left he had not look’d upon her),

Smote him, as having kept aloof so long.

‘Surely’ said Philip ‘I may see her now,          275

May be some little comfort;’ therefore went,

Past thro’ the solitary room in front,

Paused for a moment at an inner door,

Then struck it thrice, and, no one opening,

Enter’d; but Annie, seated with her grief,          280

Fresh from the burial of her little one,

Cared not to look on any human face,

But turn’d her own toward the wall and wept.

Then Philip standing up said falteringly

‘Annie, I come to ask a favour of you.’          285


  He spoke; the passion in her moan’d reply

‘Favour from one so sad and so forlorn

As I am!’ half abashed him; yet unask’d,

His bashfulness and tenderness at war,

He set himself beside her, saying to her:          290

‘I came to speak to you of what he wished,

Enoch, your husband: I have ever said

You chose the best among us—a strong man:

For where he fixt his heart he set his hand

To do the thing he will’d, and bore it thro’.          295

And wherefore did he go this weary way,

And leave you lonely? not to see the world—

For pleasure?—nay, but for the wherewithal

To give his babes a better bringing-up

Than his had been, or yours: that was his wish.          300

And if he come again, vext will he be

To find the precious morning hours were lost.

And it would vex him even in his grave,

If he could know his babes were running wild

Like colts about the waste. So, Annie, now—          305

Have we not known each other all our lives?

I do beseech you by the love you bear

Him and his children not to say me nay—

For, if you will, when Enoch comes again

Why then he shall repay me—if you will,          310

Annie—for I am rich and well-to-do.

Now let me put the boy and girl to school:

This is the favour that I came to ask.’


  Then Annie with her brows against the wall

Answer’d ‘I cannot look you in the face;          315

I seem so foolish and so broken down.

When you came in my sorrow broke me down;

And now I think your kindness breaks me down;

But Enoch lives; that is borne in on me:

He will repay you: money can be repaid;          320

Not kindness such as yours.’


                         And Philip ask’d

‘Then you will let me, Annie?’


                             There she turn’d,

She rose, and fixed her swimming eyes upon him,          325

And dwelt a moment on his kindly face,

Then calling down a blessing on his head

Caught at his hand, and wrung it passionately,

And past into the little garth beyond.

So lifted up in spirit he moved away.          330


  Then Philip put the boy and girl to school,

And bought them needful books, and everyway,

Like one who does his duty by his own,

Made himself theirs; and tho’ for Annie’s sake,

Fearing the lazy gossip of the port,          335

He oft denied his heart his dearest wish,

And seldom crost her threshold, yet he sent

Gifts by the children, garden-herbs and fruit,

The late and early roses from his wall,

Or conies from the down, and now and then,          340

With some pretext of fineness in the meal

To save the offence of charitable, flour

From his tall mill that whistled on the waste.


  But Philip did not fathom Annie’s mind:

Scarce could the woman when he came upon her,          345

Out of full heart and boundless gratitude

Light on a broken word to thank him with.

But Philip was her children’s all-in-all;

From distant corners of the street they ran

To greet his hearty welcome heartily;          350

Lords of his house and of his mill were they;

Worried his passive ear with petty wrongs

Or pleasures, hung upon him, play’d with him

And call’d him Father Philip. Philip gain’d

As Enoch lost; for Enoch seem’d to them          355

Uncertain as a vision or a dream,

Faint as a figure seen in early dawn

Down at the far end of an avenue,

Going we know not where: and so ten years,

Since Enoch left his hearth and native land,          360

Fled forward, and no news of Enoch came.


  It chanced one evening Annie’s children long’d

To go with others, nutting to the wood,

And Annie would go with them; then they begg’d

For Father Philip (as they call’d him) too:          365

Him, like the working bee in blossom-dust,

Blanch’d with his mill, they found; and saying to him

‘Come with us father Philip’ he denied;

But when the children pluck’d at him to go,

He laugh’d and yielded readily to their wish,          370

For was not Annie with them? and they went.


  But after scaling half the weary down,

Just where the prone edge of the wood began

To feather toward the hollow, all her force

Fail’d her; and sighing ‘Let me rest’ she said;          375

So Philip rested with her well-content;

While all the younger ones with jubilant cries

Broke from their elders, and tumultuously

Down thro’ the whitening hazels made a plunge

To the bottom, and dispersed, and bent or broke          380

The lithe reluctant boughs to tear away

Their tawny clusters, crying to each other

And calling, here and there, about the wood.


  But Philip sitting at her side forgot

Her presence, and remember’d one dark hour          385

Here in this wood, when like a wounded life

He crept into the shadow: at last he said

Lifting his honest forehead, ‘Listen, Annie,

How merry they are down yonder in the wood.’

‘Tired, Annie?’ for she did not speak a word.          390

‘Tired?’ but her face had fallen upon her hands;

At which as with a kind of anger in him,

‘The ship was lost,’ he said, ‘the ship was lost!

No more of that! why should you kill yourself

And make them orphans quite?’ And Annie said          395

‘I thought not of it: but—I know not why—

Their voices make me feel so solitary.’


  Then Philip coming somewhat closer spoke.

‘Annie, there is a thing upon my mind,

And it has been upon my mind so long,          400

That tho’ I know not when it first came there,

I know that it will out at last. O Annie,

It is beyond all hope, against all chance,

That he who left you ten long years ago

Should still be living; well then—let me speak:          405

I grieve to see you poor and wanting help:

I cannot help you as I wish to do

Unless—they say that women are so quick—

Perhaps you know what I would have you know—

I wish you for my wife. I fain would prove          410

A father to your children: I do think

They love me as a father: I am sure

That I love them as if they were mine own;

And I believe, if you were fast my wife,

That after all these sad uncertain years,          415

We might be still as happy as God grants

To any of His creatures. Think upon it:

For I am well-to-do—no kin, no care,

No burthen, save my care for you and yours:

And we have known each other all our lives,          420

And I have loved you longer than you know.’


  Then answer’d Annie; tenderly she spoke:

‘You have been as God’s good angel in our house.

God bless you for it, God reward you for it,

Philip, with something happier than myself.          425

Can one love twice? can you be ever loved

As Enoch was? what is it that you ask?’

‘I am content’ he answer’d ‘to be loved

A little after Enoch.’ ‘O’ she cried

Scared as it were ‘dear Philip, wait a while:          430

If Enoch comes—but Enoch will not come—

Yet wait a year, a year is not so long:

Surely I shall be wiser in a year:

O wait a little!’ Philip sadly said

‘Annie, as I have waited all my life          435

I well may wait a little.’ ‘Nay’ she cried

‘I am bound: you have my promise—in a year:

Will you not bide your year as I bide mine?’

And Philip answer’d ‘I will bide my year.’


  Here both were mute, till Philip glancing up          440

Beheld the dead flame of the fallen day

Pass from the Danish barrow overhead;

Then fearing night and chill for Annie, rose

And sent his voice beneath him thro’ the wood.

Up came the children laden with their spoil;          445

Then all descended to the port, and there

At Annie’s door he paused and gave his hand,

Saying gently ‘Annie, when I spoke to you,

That was your hour of weakness. I was wrong.

I am always bound to you, but you are free.’          450

Then Annie weeping answer’d ‘I am bound.’


  She spoke; and in one moment as it were,

While yet she went about her household ways,

Ev’n as she dwelt upon his latest words,

That he had lov’d her longer than she knew,          455

That autumn into autumn flash’d again,

And there he stood once more before her face,

Claiming her promise. ‘Is it a year?’ she ask’d.

‘Yes, if the nuts’ he said ‘be ripe again:

Come out and see.’ But she—she put him off—          460

So much to look to—such a change—a month—

Give her a month—she knew that she was bound—

A month—no more. Then Philip with his eyes

Full of that lifelong hunger, and his voice

Shaking a little like a drunkard’s hand,          465

‘Take your own time, Annie, take your own time.’

And Annie could have wept for pity of him;

And yet she held him on delayingly

With many a scarce-believable excuse,

Trying his truth and his long-sufferance,          470

Till half-another year had slipped away.


  By this the lazy gossips of the port,

Abhorrent of a calculation crost

Began to chafe as at a personal wrong.

Some thought that Philip did but trifle with her;          475

Some that she but held off to draw him on;

And others laugh’d at her and Philip too,

As simple folk that knew not their own minds;

And one, in whom all evil fancies clung

Like serpent eggs together, laughingly          480

Would hint at worse in either. Her own son

Was silent, tho’ he often look’d his wish;

But evermore the daughter prest upon her

To wed the man so dear to all of them

And lift the household out of poverty;          485

And Philip’s rosy face contracting grew

Careworn and wan; and all these things fell on her

Sharp as reproach.


                    At last one night it chanced

That Annie could not sleep, but earnestly          490

Pray’d for a sign ‘my Enoch is he gone?’

Then compass’d round by the blind wall of night

Brook’d not the expectant terror of her heart,

Started from bed, and struck herself a light,

Then desperately seized the holy Book,          495

Suddenly set it wide to find a sign,

Suddenly put her finger on the text,

‘Under a palmtree.’ That was nothing to her:

No meaning there: she closed the Book and slept:

When lo! her Enoch sitting on a height,          500

Under a palmtree, over him the Sun:

‘He is gone,’ she thought, ‘he is happy, he is singing

Hosanna in the highest: yonder shines

The Sun of Righteousness, and these be palms

Whereof the happy people strowing cried          505

“Hosanna in the highest!”’ Here she woke,

Resolved, sent for him and said wildly to him

‘There is no reason why we should not wed.’

‘Then for God’s sake,’ he answer’d, ‘both our sakes,

So you will wed me, let it be at once.’          510


  So these were wed and merrily rang the bells,

Merrily rang the bells and they were wed.

But never merrily beat Annie’s heart.

A footstep seem’d to fall beside her path,

She knew not whence; a whisper on her ear,          515

She knew not what; nor loved she to be left

Alone at home nor ventured out alone.

What ail’d her then, that ere she enter’d, often

Her hand dwelt lingeringly on the latch,

Fearing to enter: Philip thought he knew:          520

Such doubts and fears were common to her state,

Being with child: but when her child was born,

Then her new child was as herself renew’d,

Then the new mother came about her heart,

Then her good Philip was her all-in-all,          525

And that mysterious instinct wholly died.


  And where was Enoch? prosperously sail’d

The ship ‘Good Fortune,’ tho’ at setting forth

The Biscay, roughly ridging eastward, shook

And almost overwhelm’d her, yet unvext          530

She slipt across the summer of the world,

Then after a long tumble about the Cape

And frequent interchange of foul and fair,

She passing thro’ the summer world again,

The breath of heaven came continually          535

And sent her sweetly by the golden isles,

Till silent in her oriental haven.


  There Enoch traded for himself, and bought

Quaint monsters for the market of those times,

A gilded dragon also for the babes.          540


  Less lucky her home-voyage: at first indeed

Thro’ many a fair sea-circle, day by day,

Scarce-rocking, her full-busted figure-head

Stared o’er the ripple feathering from her bows:

Then follow’d calms, and then winds variable,          545

Then baffling, a long course of them; and last

Storm, such as drove her under moonless heavens

Till hard upon the cry of ‘breakers’ came

The crash of ruin, and the loss of all

But Enoch and two others. Half the night,          550

Buoy’d upon floating tackle and broken spars,

These drifted, stranding on an isle at morn

Rich, but the loneliest in a lonely sea.


  No want was there of human sustenance,

Soft fruitage, mighty nuts, and nourishing roots;          555

Nor save for pity was it hard to take

The helpless life so wild that it was tame.

There in a seaward-gazing mountain-gorge

They built, and thatch’d with leaves of palm, a hut,

Half hut, half native cavern. So the three,          560

Set in this Eden of all plenteousness,

Dwelt with eternal summer, ill-content.


  For one, the youngest, hardly more than boy,

Hurt in that night of sudden ruin and wreck,

Lay lingering out a three years’ death-in-life.          565

They could not leave him. After he was gone,

The two remaining found a fallen stem;

And Enoch’s comrade, careless of himself,

Fire-hollowing this in Indian fashion, fell

Sun-stricken, and that other lived alone.          570

In those two deaths he read God’s warning ‘wait.’


  The mountain wooded to the peak, the lawns

And winding glades high up like ways to Heaven,

The slender coco’s drooping crown of plumes,

The lightning flash of insect and of bird,          575

The lustre of the long convolvuluses

That coil’d around the stately stems, and ran

Ev’n to the limit of the land, the glows

And glories of the broad belt of the world,

All these he saw; but what he fain had seen          580

He could not see, the kindly human face,

Nor ever hear a kindly voice, but heard

The myriad shriek of wheeling ocean-fowl,

The league-long roller thundering on the reef,

The moving whisper of huge trees that branch’d          585

And blossom’d in the zenith, or the sweep

Of some precipitous rivulet to the wave,

As down the shore he ranged, or all day long

Sat often in the seaward-gazing gorge,

A shipwreck’d sailor, waiting for a sail:          590

No sail from day to day, but every day

The sunrise broken into scarlet shafts

Among the palms and ferns and precipices;

The blaze upon the waters to the east;

The blaze upon his island overhead;          595

The blaze upon the waters to the west;

Then the great stars that globed themselves in Heaven,

The hollower-bellowing ocean, and again

The scarlet shafts of sunrise—but no sail.


  There often as he watch’d or seem’d to watch,          600

So still, the golden lizard on him paused,

A phantom made of many phantoms moved

Before him haunting him, or he himself

Moved haunting people, things and places, known

Far in a darker isle beyond the line;          605

The babes, their babble, Annie, the small house,

The climbing street, the mill, the leafy lanes,

The peacock-yewtree and the lonely Hall,

The horse he drove, the boat he sold, the chill

November dawns and dewy-glooming downs,          610

The gentle shower, the smell of dying leaves,

And the low moan of leaden-colour’d seas.


  Once likewise, in the ringing of his ears,

Tho’ faintly, merrily—far and far away—

He heard the pealing of his parish bells;          615

Then, tho’ he knew not wherefore, started up

Shuddering, and when the beauteous hateful isle

Return’d upon him, had not his poor heart

Spoken with That, which being everywhere

Lets none, who speaks with Him, seem all alone,          620

Surely the man had died of solitude.


  Thus over Enoch’s early-silvering head

The sunny and rainy seasons came and went

Year after year. His hopes to see his own,

And pace the sacred old familiar fields,          625

Not yet had perished, when his lonely doom

Came suddenly to an end. Another ship

(She wanted water) blown by baffling winds,

Like the Good Fortune, from her destined course,

Stay’d by this isle, not knowing where she lay:          630

For since the mate had seen at early dawn

Across a break on the mist-wreathen isle

The silent water slipping from the hills,

They sent a crew that landing burst away

In search of stream or fount, and fill’d the shores          635

With clamour. Downward from his mountain gorge

Stept the long-hair’d, long-bearded solitary,

Brown, looking hardly human, strangely clad,

Muttering and mumbling, idiotlike it seem’d,

With inarticulate rage, and making signs          640

They knew not what: and yet he led the way

To where the rivulets of sweet water ran;

And ever as he mingled with the crew,

And heard them talking, his long-bounden tongue

Was loosen’d, till he made them understand;          645

Whom, when their casks were fill’d they took aboard:

And there the tale he utter’d brokenly,

Scarce credited at first but more and more,

Amazed and melted all who listen’d to it:

And clothes they gave him and free passage home;          650

But oft he work’d among the rest and shook

His isolation from him. None of these

Came from his county, or could answer him,

If question’d, aught of what he cared to know.

And dull the voyage was with long delays,          655

The vessel scarce sea-worthy; but evermore

His fancy fled before the lazy wind

Returning, till beneath a clouded moon

He like a lover down thro’ all his blood

Drew in the dewy meadowy morning-breath          660

Of England, blown across her ghostly wall:

And that same morning officers and men

Levied a kindly tax upon themselves,

Pitying the lonely man and gave him it:

Then moving up the coast they landed him,          665

Ev’n in that harbour whence he sail’d before.


  There Enoch spoke no word to anyone,

But homeward—home—what home? had he a home?

His home, he walk’d. Bright was that afternoon,

Sunny but chill; till drawn thro’ either chasm,          670

Where either haven open’d on the deeps,

Roll’d a sea-haze and whelm’d the world in gray;

Cut off the length of highway on before,

And left but narrow breadth to left and right

Of wither’d holt or tilth or pasturage.          675

On the nigh-naked tree the robin piped

Disconsolate, and thro’ the dripping haze

The dead weight of the dead leaf bore it down:

Thicker the drizzle grew, deeper the gloom;

Last, as it seem’d, a great mist-blotted light          680

Flared on him, and he came upon the place.


  Then down the long street having slowly stolen,

His heart foreshadowing all calamity,

His eyes upon the stones, he reach’d the home

Where Annie lived and loved him, and his babes          685

In those far-off seven happy years were born;

But finding neither light nor murmur there

(A bill of sale gleam’d thro’ the drizzle) crept

Still downward thinking ‘dead or dead to me!’


  Down to the pool and narrow wharf he went,          690

Seeking a tavern which of old he knew,

A front of timber-crost antiquity,

So propt, worm-eaten, ruinously old,

He thought it must have gone; but he was gone

Who kept it; and his widow, Miriam Lane,          695

With daily-dwindling profits held the house;

A haunt of brawling seamen once, but now

Stiller, with yet a bed for wandering men.

There Enoch rested silent many days.


  But Miriam Lane was good and garrulous,          700

Nor let him be, but often breaking in,

Told him with other annals of the port,

Not knowing—Enoch was so brown, so bow’d

So broken—all the story of his house.

His baby’s death, her growing poverty,          705

How Philip put her little ones to school,

And kept them in it, his long wooing her,

Her slow consent, and marriage, and the birth

Of Philip’s child: and o’er his countenance

No shadow past, nor motion: anyone,          710

Regarding, well had deem’d he felt the tale

Less than the teller: only when she closed

‘Enoch, poor man, was cast away and lost’

He, shaking his gray head pathetically,

Repeated muttering ‘cast away and lost;’          715

Again in deeper inward whispers ‘lost!’


  But Enoch yearn’d to see her face again;

‘If I might look on her sweet face again

And know that she is happy.’ So the thought

Haunted and harass’d him, and drove him forth,          720

At evening when the dull November day

Was growing duller twilight, to the hill.

There he sat down gazing on all below;

There did a thousand memories roll upon him,

Unspeakable for sadness. By and by          725

The ruddy square of comfortable light,

Far-blazing from the rear of Philip’s house,

Allured him, as the beacon-blaze allures

The bird of passage, till he madly strikes

Against it, and beats out his weary life.          730


  For Philip’s dwelling fronted on the street,

The latest house to landward; but behind,

With one small gate that open’d on the waste,

Flourish’d a little garden square and wall’d:

And in it throve an ancient evergreen,          735

A yewtree, and all around it ran a walk

Of shingle, and a walk divided it:

But Enoch shunn’d the middle walk and stole

Up by the wall, behind the yew; and thence

That which he better might have shunn’d, if griefs          740

Like his have worse or better, Enoch saw.


  For cups and silver on the burnish’d board

Sparkled and shone; so genial was the hearth:

And on the right hand of the hearth he saw

Philip, the slighted suitor of old times,          745

Stout, rosy, with his babe across his knees;

And o’er her second father stoopt a girl,

A later but a loftier Annie Lee,

Fair-hair’d and tall, and from her lifted hand

Dangled a length of ribbon and a ring          750

To tempt the babe, who rear’d his creasy arms,

Caught at and ever miss’d it, and they laugh’d:

And on the left hand of the hearth he saw

The mother glancing often toward her babe,

But turning now and then to speak with him,          755

Her son, who stood beside her tall and strong,

And saying that which pleased him, for he smiled.


  Now when the dead man come to life beheld

His wife his wife no more, and saw the babe

Hers, yet not his, upon the father’s knee,          760

And all the warmth, the peace, the happiness,

And his own children tall and beautiful,

And him, that other, reigning in his place,

Lord of his rights and of his children’s love,—

Then he, tho’ Miriam Lane had told him all,          765

Because things seen are mightier than things heard,

Stagger’d and shook, holding the branch, and fear’d

To send abroad a shrill and terrible cry,

Which in one moment, like the blast of doom,

Would shatter all the happiness of the hearth.          770


  He therefore turning softly like a thief,

Lest the harsh shingle should grate underfoot,

And feeling all along the garden-wall,

Lest he should swoon and tumble and be found,

Crept to the gate, and open’d it, and closed,          775

As lightly as a sick man’s chamber-door,

Behind him, and came out upon the waste.


  And there he would have knelt, but that his knees

Were feeble, so that falling prone he dug

His fingers into the wet earth, and pray’d.          780


  ‘Too hard to bear! why did they take me thence?

O God Almighty, blessed Saviour, Thou

That did’st uphold me on my lonely isle,

Uphold me, Father, in my loneliness

A little longer! aid me, give me strength          785

Not to tell her, never to let her know.

Help me not to break in upon her peace.

My children too! must I not speak to these?

They know me not. I should betray myself.

Never: no father’s kiss for me—the girl          790

So like her mother, and the boy, my son.’


  There speech and thought and nature fail’d a little,

And he lay tranced; but when he rose and paced

Back toward his solitary home again,

All down the long and narrow street he went          795

Beating it in upon his weary brain,

As tho’ it were the burthen of a song,

‘Not to tell her, never to let her know.’


  He was not all unhappy. His resolve

Upbore him, and firm faith, and evermore          800

Prayer from the living source within the will,

And beating up thro’ all the bitter world,

Like fountains of sweet water in the sea,

Kept him a living soul. ‘This miller’s wife’

He said to Miriam ‘that you told me of,          805

Has she no fear that her first husband lives?’

‘Ay, ay, poor soul’ said Miriam, ‘fear enow!

If you could tell her you had seen him dead,

Why, that would be her comfort;’ and he thought

‘After the Lord has call’d me she shall know,          810

I wait his time’ and Enoch set himself,

Scorning an alms, to work whereby to live.

Almost to all things could he turn his hand.

Cooper he was and carpenter, and wrought

To make the boatmen fishing-nets, or help’d          815

At lading and unlading the tall barks,

That brought the stinted commerce of those days;

Thus earn’d a scanty living for himself:

Yet since he did but labour for himself,

Work without hope, there was not life in it          820

Whereby the man could live; and as the year

Roll’d itself round again to meet the day

When Enoch had return’d, a languor came

Upon him, gentle sickness, gradually

Weakening the man, till he could do no more,          825

But kept the house, his chair, and last his bed.

And Enoch bore his weakness cheerfully.

For sure no gladlier does the stranded wreck

See thro’ the gray skirts of a lifting squall

The boat that bears the hope of life approach          830

To save the life despair’d of, than he saw

Death dawning on him, and the close of all.


  For thro’ that dawning gleam’d a kindlier hope

On Enoch thinking ‘after I am gone,

Then may she learn I loved her to the last.’          835

He call’d aloud for Miriam Lane and said

‘Woman, I have a secret—only swear,

Before I tell you—swear upon the book

Not to reveal it, till you see me dead.’

‘Dead,’ clamour’d the good woman, ‘hear him talk!          840

I warrant, man, that we shall bring you round.’

‘Swear’ added Enoch sternly ‘on the book.’

And on the book, half-frighted, Miriam swore.

Then Enoch rolling his gray eyes upon her,

‘Did you know Enoch Arden of this town?’          845

‘Know him?’ she said ‘I knew him far away.

Ay, ay, I mind him coming down the street;

Held his head high, and cared for no man, he.’

Slowly and sadly Enoch answer’d her;

‘His head is low, and no man cares for him.          850

I think I have not three days more to live;

I am the man.’ At which the woman gave

A half-incredulous, half-hysterical cry.

‘You Arden, you! nay,—sure he was a foot

Higher than you be.’ Enoch said again          855

‘My God has bow’d me down to what I am;

My grief and solitude have broken me;

Nevertheless, know you that I am he

Who married—but that name has twice been changed—

I married her who married Philip Ray.          860

Sit, listen.’ Then he told her of his voyage,

His wreck, his lonely life, his coming back,

His gazing in on Annie, his resolve,

And how he kept it. As the woman heard,

Fast flow’d the current of her easy tears,          865

While in her heart she yearn’d incessantly

To rush abroad all round the little haven,

Proclaiming Enoch Arden and his woes;

But awed and promise-bounden she forebore,

Saying only ‘See your bairns before you go!          870

Eh, let me fetch ’em, Arden,’ and arose

Eager to bring them down, for Enoch hung

A moment on her words, but then replied:

‘Woman, disturb me not now at the last,

But let me hold my purpose till I die.          875

Sit down again; mark me and understand,

While I have power to speak. I charge you now,

When you shall see her, tell her that I died

Blessing her, praying for her, loving her;

Save for the bar between us, loving her          880

As when she laid her head beside my own.

And tell my daughter Annie, whom I saw

So like her mother, that my latest breath

Was spent in blessing her and praying for her.

And tell my son that I died blessing him.          885

And say to Philip that I blest him too;

He never meant us any thing but good.

But if my children care to see me dead,

Who hardly knew me living, let them come,

I am their father; but she must not come,          890

For my dead face would vex her after-life.

And now there is but one of all my blood,

Who will embrace me in the world-to-be:

This hair is his: she cut it off and gave it,

And I have borne it with me all these years,          895

And thought to bear it with me to my grave;

But now my mind is changed, for I shall see him,

My babe in bliss: wherefore when I am gone,

Take, give her this, for it may comfort her:

It will moreover be a token to her,          900

That I am he.’


                  He ceased; and Miriam Lane

Made such a voluble answer promising all,

That once again he roll’d his eyes upon her

Repeating all he wish’d, and once again          905

She promised.


                Then the third night after this,

While Enoch slumber’d motionless and pale,

And Miriam watch’d and dozed at intervals,

There came so loud a calling of the sea,          910

That all the houses in the haven rang.

He woke, he rose, he spread his arms abroad

Crying with a loud voice ‘a sail! a sail!

I am saved’; and so fell back and spoke no more.


  So past the strong heroic soul away.          915

And when they buried him the little port

Had seldom seen a costlier funeral.



So all day long the noise of battle roll’d

Among the mountains by the winter sea;

Until King Arthur’s table, man by man,

Had fallen in Lyonnesse about their Lord,

King Arthur: then, because his wound was deep,          5

The bold Sir Bedivere uplifted him,

Sir Bedivere, the last of all his knights,

And bore him to a chapel nigh the field,

A broken chancel with a broken cross,

That stood on a dark strait of barren land.          10

On one side lay the Ocean, and on one

Lay a great water, and the moon was full.

  Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedivere:

‘The sequel of to-day unsolders all

The goodliest fellowship of famous knights          15

Whereof this world holds record. Such a sleep

They sleep—the men I loved. I think that we

Shall never more, at any future time,

Delight our souls with talk of knightly deeds,

Walking about the gardens and the halls          20

Of Camelot, as in the days that were.

I perish by this people which I made,—

Tho’ Merlin sware that I should come again

To rule once more—but let what will be, be,

I am so deeply smitten thro’ the helm          25

That without help I cannot last till morn.

Thou therefore take my brand Excalibur,

Which was my pride: for thou rememberest how

In those old days, one summer noon, an arm

Rose up from out the bosom of the lake,          30

Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful,

Holding the sword—and how I row’d across

And took it, and have worn it, like a king:

And, wheresoever I am sung or told

In aftertime, this also shall be known:          35

But now delay not: take Excalibur,

And fling him far into the middle mere:

Watch what thou seëst, and lightly bring me word.’

  To him replied the bold Sir Bedivere:

‘It is not meet, Sir King, to leave thee thus,          40

Aidless, alone, and smitten thro’ the helm.

A little thing may harm a wounded man.

Yet I thy hest will all perform at full,

Watch what I see, and lightly bring thee word.’

  So saying, from the ruin’d shrine he stept          45

And in the moon athwart the place of tombs,

Where lay the mighty bones of ancient men,

Old knights, and over them the sea-wind sang

Shrill, chill, with flakes of foam. He, stepping down

By zig-zag paths, and juts of pointed rock,          50

Came on the shining levels of the lake.

  There drew he forth the brand Excalibur,

And o’er him, drawing it, the winter moon,

Brightening the skirts of a long cloud, ran forth

And sparkled keen with frost against the hilt;          55

For all the haft twinkled with diamond sparks,

Myriads of topaz-lights, and jacinth-work

Of subtlest jewellery. He gazed so long

That both his eyes were dazzled, as he stood,

This way and that dividing the swift mind,          60

In act to throw: but at the last it seem’d

Better to leave Excalibur conceal’d

There in the many-knotted waterflags,

That whistled stiff and dry about the marge.

So strode he back slow to the wounded King.          65

  Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedivere:

‘Hast thou perform’d my mission which I gave?

What is it thou hast seen? or what hast heard?’

  And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere:

‘I heard the ripple washing in the reeds,          70

And the wild water lapping on the crag.’

  To whom replied King Arthur, faint and pale:

‘Thou hast betray’d thy nature and thy name,

Not rendering true answer, as beseem’d

Thy fëalty, nor like a noble knight:          75

For surer sign had follow’d, either hand,

Or voice, or else a motion of the mere.

This is a shameful thing for men to lie.

Yet now, I charge thee, quickly go again

As thou art lief and dear, and do the thing          80

I bad thee, watch, and lightly bring me word.’

  Then went Sir Bedivere the second time

Across the ridge, and paced beside the mere,

Counting the dewy pebbles, fix’d in thought;

But when he saw the wonder of the hilt,          85

How curiously and strangely chased, he smote

His palms together, and he cried aloud,

  ‘And if indeed I cast the brand away,

Surely a precious thing, one worthy note,

Should thus be lost for ever from the earth,          90

Which might have pleased the eyes of many men.

What good should follow this, if this were done?

What harm, undone? deep harm to disobey,

Seeing obedience is the bond of rule.

Were it well to obey then, if a king demand          95

An act unprofitable, against himself?

The King is sick, and knows not what he does.

What record, or what relic of my lord

Should be to aftertime, but empty breath

And rumours of a doubt? but were this kept,          100

Stored in some treasure-house of mighty kings,

Some one might show it at a joust of arms,

Saying, “King Arthur’s sword, Excalibur,

Wrought by the lonely maiden of the Lake

Nine years she wrought it, sitting in the deeps          105

Upon the hidden bases of the hills.”

So might some old man speak in the aftertime

To all the people, winning reverence.

But now much honour and much fame were lost.’

  So spake he, clouded with his own conceit,          110

And hid Excalibur the second time,

And so strode back slow to the wounded King.

  Then spoke King Arthur, breathing heavily:

‘What is it thou hast seen? or what hast heard?’

  And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere:          115

‘I heard the water lapping on the crag,

And the long ripple washing in the reeds.’

  To whom replied King Arthur, much in wrath:

‘Ah, miserable and unkind, untrue,

Unknightly, traitor-hearted! Woe is me!          120

Authority forgets a dying king,

Laid widow’d of the power in his eye

That bow’d the will. I see thee what thou art,

For thou, the latest-left of all my knights,

In whom should meet the offices of all,          125

Thou wouldst betray me for the precious hilt;

Either from lust of gold, or like a girl

Valuing the giddy pleasure of the eyes.

Yet, for a man may fail in duty twice,

And the third time may prosper, get thee hence:          130

But, if thou spare to fling Excalibur,

I will arise and slay thee with my hands.’

  Then quickly rose Sir Bedivere, and ran,

And, leaping down the ridges lightly, plunged

Among the bulrush-beds, and clutch’d the sword,          135

And strongly wheel’d and threw it. The great brand

Made lightnings in the splendour of the moon,

And flashing round and round, and whirl’d in an arch,

Shot like a streamer of the northern morn,

Seen where the moving isles of winter shock          140

By night, with noises of the northern sea.

So flash’d and fell the brand Excalibur:

But ere he dipt the surface, rose an arm

Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful,

And caught him by the hilt, and brandish’d him          145

Three times, and drew him under in the mere.

And lightly went the other to the King.

  Then spoke King Arthur, drawing thicker breath:

‘Now see I by thine eyes that this is done.

Speak out: what is it thou hast heard, or seen?’          150

  And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere:

‘Sir King, I closed mine eyelids, lest the gems

Should blind my purpose, for I never saw,

Nor shall see, here or elsewhere, till I die,

Not tho’ I live three lives of mortal men,          155

So great a miracle as yonder hilt.

Then with both hands I flung him, wheeling him;

But when I look’d again, behold an arm,

Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful,

That caught him by the hilt, and brandish’d him          160

Three times, and drew him under in the mere.’

  And answer made King Arthur, breathing hard:

‘My end draws nigh; ’tis time that I were gone.

Make broad thy shoulders to receive my weight,

And bear me to the margin; yet I fear          165

My wound hath taken cold, and I shall die.’

  So saying, from the pavement he half rose,

Slowly, with pain, reclining on his arm,

And looking wistfully with wide blue eyes

As in a picture. Him Sir Bedivere          170

Remorsefully regarded thro’ his tears,

And would have spoken, but he found not words,

Then took with care, and kneeling on one knee,

O’er both his shoulders drew the languid hands,

And rising bore him thro’ the place of tombs.          175

  But, as he walk’d, King Arthur panted hard,

Like one that feels a nightmare on his bed

When all the house is mute. So sigh’d the King,

Muttering and murmuring at his ear, ‘Quick, quick!

I fear it is too late, and I shall die.’          180

But the other swiftly strode from ridge to ridge,

Clothed with his breath, and looking, as he walk’d,

Larger than human on the frozen hills.

He heard the deep behind him, and a cry

Before. His own thought drove him, like a goad.          185

Dry clash’d his harness in the icy caves

And barren chasms, and all to left and right

The bare black cliff clang’d round him, as he based

His feet on juts of slippery crag that rang

Sharp-smitten with the dint of armed heels—          190

And on a sudden, lo! the level lake,

And the long glories of the winter moon.

  Then saw they how there hove a dusky barge,

Dark as a funeral scarf from stem to stern,

Beneath them; and descending they were ware          195

That all the decks were dense with stately forms

Black-stoled, black-hooded, like a dream—by these

Three Queens with crowns of gold—and from them rose

A cry that shiver’d to the tingling stars,

And, as it were one voice, an agony          200

Of lamentation, like a wind that shrills

All night in a waste land, where no one comes,

Or hath come, since the making of the world.

  Then murmur’d Arthur, ‘Place me in the barge,’

And to the barge they came. There those three Queens          205

Put forth their hands, and took the King, and wept.

But she, that rose the tallest of them all

And fairest, laid his head upon her lap,

And loosed the shatter’d casque, and chafed his hands,

And call’d him by his name, complaining loud,          210

And dropping bitter tears against his brow

Striped with dark blood: for all his face was white

And colourless, and like the wither’d moon

Smote by the fresh beam of the springing east;

And all his greaves and cuisses dash’d with drops          215

Of onset; and the light and lustrous curls—

That made his forehead like a rising sun

High from the daïs-throne—were parch’d with dust,

Or, clotted into points and hanging loose,

Mix’d with the knightly growth that fringed his lips.          220

So like a shatter’d column lay the King;

Not like that Arthur who, with lance in rest,

From spur to plume a star of tournament,

Shot thro’ the lists at Camelot, and charged

Before the eyes of ladies and of kings.          225

  Then loudly cried the bold Sir Bedivere,

‘Ah! my Lord Arthur, whither shall I go?

Where shall I hide my forehead and my eyes?

For now I see the true old times are dead,

When every morning brought a noble chance,          230

And every chance brought out a noble knight.

Such times have been not since the light that led

The holy Elders with the gift of myrrh.

But now the whole ROUND TABLE is dissolved

Which was an image of the mighty world;          235

And I, the last, go forth companionless,

And the days darken round me, and the years,

Among new men, strange faces, other minds.’

  And slowly answered Arthur from the barge:

  The old order changeth, yielding place to new,          240

And God fulfils Himself in many ways,

Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.

Comfort thyself: what comfort is in me?

I have lived my life, and that which I have done

May He within Himself make pure! but thou,          245

If thou shouldst never see my face again,

Pray for my soul. More things are wrought by prayer

Than this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voice

Rise like a fountain for me night and day.

For what are men better than sheep or goats          250

That nourish a blind life within the brain,

If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer

Both for themselves and those who call them friend?

For so the whole round earth is every way

Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.          255

But now farewell. I am going a long way

With these thou seëst—if indeed I go—

(For all my mind is clouded with a doubt)

To the island-valley of Avilion;

Where falls not hail, or rain, or any snow,          260

Nor ever wind blows loudly; but it lies

Deep-meadow’d, happy, fair with orchard-lawns

And bowery hollows crown’d with summer sea,

Where I will heal me of my grievous wound.’

  So said he, and the barge with oar and sail          265

Moved from the brink, like some full-breasted swan

That, fluting a wild carol ere her death,

Ruffles her pure cold plume, and takes the flood

With swarthy webs. Long stood Sir Bedivere

Revolving many memories, till the hull          270

Look’d one black dot against the verge of dawn,

And on the mere the wailing died away.





My hair is gray, but not with years,

          Nor grew it white

          In a single night,

As men’s have grown from sudden fears;

My limbs are bow’d, though not with toil,          5

  But rusted with a vile repose,

For they have been a dungeon’s spoil,

  And mine has been the fate of those

To whom the goodly earth and air

Are bann’d, and barr’d—forbidden fare;          10

But this was for my father’s faith

I suffer’d chains and courted death;

That father perish’d at the stake

For tenets he would not forsake;

And for the same his lineal race          15

In darkness found a dwelling-place;

We were seven—who now are one,

  Six in youth, and one in age,

Finish’d as they had begun,

  Proud of Persecution’s rage;          20

One in fire, and two in field,

Their belief with blood have seal’d;

Dying as their father died,

For the God their foes denied;

Three were in a dungeon cast,          25

Of whom this wreck is left the last.





There are seven pillars of Gothic mould,

In Chillon’s dungeons deep and old,

There are seven columns, massy and gray,

Dim with a dull imprison’d ray,          30

A sunbeam which hath lost its way,

And through the crevice and the cleft

Of the thick wall is fallen and left;

Creeping o’er the floor so damp,

Like a marsh’s meteor lamp;          35

And in each pillar there is a ring,

  And in each ring there is a chain;

That iron is a cankering thing,

For in these limbs its teeth remain,

With marks that will not wear away,          40

Till I have done with this new day,

Which now is painful to these eyes,

Which have not seen the sun so rise

For years—I cannot count them o’er,

I lost their long and heavy score          45

When my last brother droop’d and died

And I lay living by his side.





They chain’d us each to a column stone

And we were three—yet, each alone;

We could not move a single pace,          50

We could not see each other’s face,

But with that pale and livid light

That made us strangers in our sight;

And thus together—yet apart

Fetter’d in hand, but joined in heart;          55

’Twas still some solace in the dearth

Of the pure elements of earth,

To hearken to each other’s speech,

And each turn comforter to each

With some new hope, or legend old,          60

Or song heroically bold;

But even these at length grew cold.

Our voices took a dreary tone,

An echo of the dungeon-stone,

  A grating sound—not full and free          65

  As they of yore were wont to be;

  It might be fancy—but to me

They never sounded like our own.





I was the eldest of the three,

  And to uphold and cheer the rest          70

  I ought to do—and did—my best,

And each did well in his degree.

  The youngest, whom my father loved

Because our mother’s brow was given

To him—with eyes as blue as heaven—          75

  For him my soul was sorely moved;

And truly might it be distrest

To see such bird in such a nest;

For he was beautiful as day—

  (When day was beautiful to me          80

  As to young eagles, being free)—

  A polar day, which will not see

A sunset till its summer’s gone,

  Its sleepless summer of long light,

The snow-clad offspring of the sun;          85

  And thus he was as pure and bright,

And in his natural spirit gay,

With tears for nought but others’ ills,

And then they flowed like mountain rills,

Unless he could assuage the woe          90

Which he abhorr’d to view below.





The other was as pure of mind,

But form’d to combat with his kind;

Strong in his frame, and of a mood

Which ’gainst the world in war had stood,          95

And perish’d in the foremost rank

  With joy:—but not in chains to pine:

His spirit wither’d with their clank,

  I saw it silently decline—

  And so perchance in sooth did mine;          100

But yet I forced it on to cheer

Those relics of a home so dear.

He was a hunter of the hills,

  Had follow’d there the deer and wolf;

  To him this dungeon was a gulf,          105

And fetter’d feet the worst of ills.





  Lake Leman lies by Chillon’s walls:

A thousand feet in depth below

Its massy waters meet and flow;

Thus much the fathom-line was sent          110

From Chillon’s snow-white battlement,

  Which round about the wave inthrals:

A double dungeon wall and wave

Have made and like a living grave.

Below the surface of the lake          115

The dark vault lies wherein we lay,

We heard it ripple night and day;

  Sounding o’er our heads it knock’d;

And I have felt the winter’s spray

Wash through the bars when winds were high,          120

And wanton in the happy sky;

  And then the very rock hath rock’d.

  And I have felt it shake, unshock’d,

Because I could have smiled to see

The death that would have set me free.          125





I said my nearer brother pined,

I said his mighty heart declined,

He loathed and put away his food:

It was not that ’twas coarse and rude,

For we were used to hunter’s fare,          130

And for the like had little care:

The milk drawn from the mountain goat

Was changed for water from the moat,

Our bread was such as captives’ tears

Have moisten’d many a thousand years,          135

Since man first pent his fellow-men

Like brutes within an iron den:

But what were these to us or him?

These wasted not his heart or limb;

My brother’s soul was of that mould          140

Which in a palace had grown cold,

Had his free breathing been denied

The range of the steep mountain’s side;

But why delay the truth?—he died.

I saw, and could not hold his head,          145

Nor reach his dying hand—nor dead—

Though hard I strove, but strove in vain,

To rend and gnash my bonds in twain.

He died—and they unlock’d his chain,

And scoop’d for him a shallow grave          150

Even from the cold earth of our cave.

I begg’d them, as a boon, to lay

His corse in dust whereon the day

Might shine—it was a foolish thought,

But then within my brain it wrought,          155

That even in death his free-born breast

In such a dungeon could not rest.

I might have spared my idle prayer—

They coldly laugh’d—and laid him there:

The flat and turfless earth above          160

The being we so much did love;

His empty chain above it leant,

Such murder’s fitting monument!





But he, the favourite and the flower,

Most cherish’d since his natal hour,          165

His mother’s image in fair face,

The infant love of all his race,

His martyr’d father’s dearest thought

My latest care, for whom I sought

To hoard my life, that his might be          170

Less wretched now, and one day free;

He, too, who yet had held untired

A spirit natural or inspired—

He, too, was struck, and day by day

Was wither’d on the stalk away.          175

O God! it is a fearful thing

To see the human soul take wing

In any shape, in any mood:—

I’ve seen it rushing forth in blood,

I’ve seen it on the breaking ocean          180

Strive with a swoln convulsive motion,

I’ve seen the sick and ghastly bed

Of Sin delirious with its dread:

But these were horrors—this was woe

Unmixed with such—but sure and slow;          185

He faded, and so calm and meek,

So softly worn, so sweetly weak,

So tearless, yet so tender—kind,

And grieved for those he left behind;

With all the while a cheek whose bloom          190

Was as a mockery of the tomb,

Whose tints as gently sunk away

As a departing rainbow’s ray—

An eye of most transparent light,

That almost made the dungeon bright,          195

And not a word of murmur—not

A groan o’er his untimely lot—

A little talk of better days,

A little hope my own to raise,

For I was sunk in silence—lost          200

In this last loss, of all the most;

And then the sighs he would suppress,

Of fainting nature’s feebleness,

More slowly drawn, grew less and less;

I listen’d, but I could not hear—          205

I call’d, for I was wild with fear;

I knew ’twas hopeless, but my dread

Would not be thus admonished;

I call’d, and thought I heard a sound—

I burst my chain with one strong bound,          210

And rush’d to him:—I found him not,

I only stirr’d in this black spot,

I only lived—I only drew

The accursed breath of dungeon-dew;

The last—the sole—the dearest link          215

Between me and the eternal brink,

Which bound me to my failing race,

Was broken in this fatal place.

One on the earth, and one beneath—

My brothers—both had ceased to breathe.          220

I took that hand which lay so still,

Alas! my own was full as chill;

I had not strength to stir, or strive,

But felt that I was still alive—

A frantic feeling, when we know          225

That what we love shall ne’er be so.

        I know not why

        I could not die,

I had no earthly hope—but faith,

And that forbade a selfish death.          230





What next befell me then and there

  I know not well—I never knew—

First came the loss of light, and air,

  And then of darkness too:

I had no thought, no feeling—none—          235

Among the stones I stood a stone,

And was, scarce conscious what I wist,

As shrubless crags within the mist;

For all was blank, and bleak, and gray,

It was not night—it was not day,          240

It was not even the dungeon-light,

So hateful to my heavy sight,

But vacancy absorbing space,

And fixedness—without a place;

There were no stars—no earth—no time—          245

No check—no change—no good—no crime

But silence, and a stirless breath

Which neither was of life nor death;

A sea of stagnant idleness,

Blind, boundless, mute, and motionless!          250





A light broke in upon my brain—

  It was the carol of a bird;

It ceased, and then it came again,

  The sweetest song ear ever heard,

And mine was thankful till my eyes          255

Ran over with the glad surprise,

And they that moment could not see

I was the mate of misery;

But then by dull degrees came back

My senses to their wonted track,          260

I saw the dungeon walls and floor

Close slowly round me as before,

I saw the glimmer of the sun

Creeping as it before had done,

But through the crevice where it came          265

That bird was perch’d, as fond and tame,

  And tamer than upon the tree;

A lovely bird, with azure wings,

And song that said a thousand things,

  And seem’d to say them all for me!          270

I never saw its like before,

I ne’er shall see its likeness more:

It seem’d, like me, to want a mate,

But was not half so desolate,

And it was come to love me when          275

None lived to love me so again,

And cheering from my dungeon’s brink,

Had brought me back to feel and think.

I know not if it late were free,

  Or broke its cage to perch on mine,          280

But knowing well captivity,

  Sweet bird! I could not wish for thine!

Or if it were, in winged guise,

A visitant from Paradise;

For—Heaven forgive that thought! the while          285

Which made me both to weep and smile—

I sometimes deem’d that it might be

My brother’s soul come down to me;

But then at last away it flew,

And then ’twas mortal—well I knew,          290

For he would never thus have flown,

And left me twice so doubly lone—

Lone—as the corse within its shroud,

Lone—as a solitary cloud,

  A single cloud on a sunny day,          295

While all the rest of heaven is clear,

A frown upon the atmosphere,

That hath no business to appear

  When skies are blue, and earth is gay.





A kind of change came in my fate,          300

My keepers grew compassionate,

I know not what had made them so,

They were inured to sights of woe,

But so it was:—my broken chain

With links unfasten’d did remain,          305

And it was liberty to stride

Along my cell from side to side,

And up and down, and then athwart,

And tread it over every part;

And round the pillars one by one,          310

Returning where my walk begun,

Avoiding only, as I trod,

My brothers’ graves without a sod;

For if I thought with heedless tread

My step profaned their lowly bed,          315

My breath came gaspingly and thick,

And my crush’d heart fell blind and sick.





I made a footing in the wall,

  It was not therefrom to escape,

For I had buried one and all,          320

  Who loved me in a human shape;

And the whole earth would henceforth be

A wider prison unto me:

No child—no sire—no kin had I,

No partner in my misery;          325

I thought of this, and I was glad,

For thought of them had made me mad;

But I was curious to ascend

To my barr’d windows, and to bend

Once more, upon the mountains high,          330

The quiet of a loving eye.





I saw them—and they were the same,

They were not changed like me in frame;

I saw their thousand years of snow

On high—their wide long lake below,          335

And the blue Rhone in fullest flow;

I heard the torrents leap and gush

O’er channell’d rock and broken bush;

I saw the white-wall’d distant town,

And whiter sails go skimming down;          340

And then there was a little isle,

Which in my very face did smile,

        The only one in view;

A small green isle, it seem’d no more,

Scarce broader than my dungeon floor;          345

But in it there were three tall trees,

And o’er it blew the mountain breeze,

And by it there were waters flowing,

And on it there were young flowers growing,

          Of gentle breath and hue.          350

The fish swam by the castle wall,

And they seem’d joyous each and all;

The eagle rode the rising blast,

Methought he never flew so fast

As then to me he seem’d to fly,          355

And then new tears came in my eye,

And I felt troubled—and would fain

I had not left my recent chain;

And when I did descend again,

The darkness of my dim abode          360

Fell on me as a heavy load;

It was as is a new-dug grave,

Closing o’er one we sought to save,

And yet my glance, too much opprest,

Had almost need of such a rest.          365





It might be months, or years, or days,

  I kept no count—I took no note,

I had no hope my eyes to raise,

  And clear them of their dreary mote;

At last men came to set me free,          370

  I ask’d not why, and reck’d not where.

It was at length the same to me,

Fetter’d or fetterless to be,

  I learn’d to love despair.

And thus when they appear’d at last,          375

And all my bonds aside were cast,

These heavy walls to me had grown

A hermitage—and all my own!

And half I felt as they were come

To tear me from a second home:          380

With spiders I had friendship made,

And watch’d them in their sullen trade,

Had seen the mice by moonlight play,

And why should I feel less than they?

We were all inmates of one place,          385

And I, the monarch of each race,

Had power to kill—yet, strange to tell!

In quiet we had learn’d to dwell—

My very chains and I grew friends,

So much a long communion tends          390

To make us what we are:—Even I

Regain’d my freedom with a sigh.



The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,

  The lowing herd wind slowly o’er the lea,

The plowman homeward plods his weary way,

  And leaves the world to darkness and to me.


Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,          5

  And all the air a solemn stillness holds,

Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,

  And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds;


Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tow’r,

  The moping owl does to the moon complain          10

Of such as, wand’ring near her secret bow’r,

  Molest her ancient solitary reign.


Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree’s shade,

  Where heaves the turf in many a mould’ring heap,

Each in his narrow cell forever laid,          15

  The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.


The breezy call of incense-breathing Morn,

  The swallow twitt’ring from the straw-built shed,

The cock’s shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,

  No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.          20


For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,

  Or busy housewife ply her evening care;

No children run to lisp their sire’s return,

  Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share.


Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,          25

  Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke;

How jocund did they drive their team afield!

  How bow’d the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!


Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,

  Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;          30

Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile

  The short and simple annals of the poor.


The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow’r,

  And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,

Await alike th’inevitable hour,          35

  The paths of glory lead but to the grave.


Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,

  If Mem’ry o’er their tomb no trophies raise,

Where thro’ the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault

  The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.          40


Can storied urn, or animated bust,

  Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?

Can Honour’s voice provoke the silent dust,

  Or Flatt’ry sooth the dull cold ear of death?


Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid          45

  Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire,

Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway’d,

  Or wak’d to ecstasy the living lyre.


But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page

  Rich with the spoils of time did ne’er unroll;          50

Chill Penury repress’d their noble rage,

  And froze the genial current of the soul.


Full many a gem of purest ray serene

  The dark unfathom’d caves of ocean bear;

Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,          55

  And waste its sweetness on the desert air.


Some village Hampden, that with dauntless breast

  The little Tyrant of his fields withstood,

Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,

  Some Cromwell guiltless of his country’s blood.          60


Th’ applause of list’ning senates to command

  The threats of pain and ruin to despise,

To scatter plenty o’er a smiling land,

  And read their hist’ry in a nation’s eyes.


Their lot forbade: nor circumscrib’d alone          65

  Their growing virtues, but their crimes confin’d;

Forbade to wade thro’ slaughter to a throne,

  And shut the gates of mercy on mankind;


The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,

  To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,          70

Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride

  With incense kindled at the Muse’s flame.


Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife,

  Their sober wishes never learn’d to stray;

Along the cool sequester’d vale of life          75

  They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.


Yet ev’n these bones from insult to protect

  Some frail memorial still erected nigh,

With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck’d

  Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.          80


Their name, their years, spelt by th’ unletter’d Muse,

  The place of fame and elegy supply;

And many a holy text around she strews,

  That teach the rustic moralist to die.


For who, to dumb Forgetfulness a prey,          85

  This pleasing anxious being e’er resign’d,

Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,

  Nor cast one longing, ling’ring look behind?


On some fond breast the parting soul relies,

  Some pious drops the closing eye requires;          90

Ev’n from the tomb the voice of Nature cries,

  Ev’n in our ashes live their wonted fires.


For thee, who, mindful of th’ unhonour’d dead,

  Dost in these lines their artless tale relate;

If chance, by lonely Contemplation led,          95

  Some kindred spirit shall enquire thy fate,—


Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,

  “Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn

Brushing with hasty steps the dews away,

  To meet the sun upon the upland lawn:          100


“There at the foot of yonder nodding beech,

  That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high,

His listless length at noontide would he stretch,

  And pore upon the brook that babbles by.


“Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,          105

  Mutt’ring his wayward fancies he would rove;

Now drooping woeful-wan, like one forlorn,

  Or craz’d with care, or cross’d in hopeless love.


“One morn I miss’d him on the custom’d hill,

  Along the heath, and near his fav’rite tree;          110

Another came; nor yet beside the rill,

  Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he;


“The next, with dirges due in sad array,

  Slow through the church-way path we saw him borne:—

Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay          115

  Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.”




                        THE EPITAPH.



Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth,

  A youth, to Fortune and to Fame unknown:

Fair Science frown’d not on his humble birth,

  And Melancholy mark’d him for her own.          120


Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,

  Heav’n did a recompense as largely send;

He gave to Mis’ry all he had, a tear,

  He gain’d from Heav’n (’twas all he wish’d) a friend.


No farther seek his merits to disclose,          125

  Or draw his frailties from their dread abode,

(There they alike in trembling hope repose,)

  The bosom of his Father and his God.

MY KATE.          




She was not as pretty as women I know,

And yet all your best made of sunshine and snow

Drop to shade, melt to nought in the long-trodden ways,

While she’s still remembered on warm and cold days—

                                   My Kate.          5





Her air had a meaning, her movements a grace;

You turned from the fairest to gaze on her face:

And when you had once seen her forehead and mouth,

You saw as distinctly her soul and her truth—

                                   My Kate.          10





Such a blue inner light from her eyelids outbroke,

You looked at her silence and fancied she spoke:

When she did, so peculiar yet soft was the tone,

Though the loudest spoke also, you heard her alone—

                                   My Kate.          15





I doubt if she said to you much that could act

As a thought or suggestion; she did not attract

In the sense of the brilliant or wise: I infer

’Twas her thinking of others made you think of her—

                                   My Kate.          20






She never found fault with you, never implied

Your wrong by her right; and yet men at her side

Grew nobler, girls purer, as through the whole town

The children were gladder that pulled at her gown—

                                   My Kate.          25






None knelt at her feet confessed lovers in thrall;

They knelt more to God than they used,—that was all;

If you praised her as charming, some asked what you meant,

But the charm of her presence was felt when she went—

                                   My Kate.          30






The weak and the gentle, the ribald and rude,

She took as she found them, and did them all good;

It always was so with her—see what you have!

She has made the grass greener even here with her grave—

                                   My Kate.          35






My dear one!—when thou wast alive with the rest,

I held thee the sweetest and loved thee the best;

And now thou art dead, shall I not take thy part

As thy smiles used to do for thyself, my sweet Heart

                                   My Kate.          40



Oh listen, listen, ladies gay!

  No haughty feat of arms I tell;

Soft is the note and sad the lay

  That mourns the lovely Rosabelle.


“Moor, moor the barge, ye gallant crew!          5

  And, gentle ladye, deign to stay!

Rest thee in Castle Ravensheuch,

  Nor tempt the stormy firth to-day.


“The blackening wave is edged with white;

  To inch and rock the sea-mews fly;          10

The fishers have heard the Water-Sprite,

  Whose screams forbode that wreck is nigh.


“Last night the gifted Seer did view

  A wet shroud swathed round ladye gay;

Then stay thee, Fair, in Ravensheuch;          15

  Why cross the gloomy firth to-day?”—


“’Tis not because Lord Lindesay’s heir

  To-night at Roslin leads the ball,

But that my ladye-mother there

  Sits lonely in her castle-hall.          20


“’Tis not because the ring they ride,

  And Lindesay at the ring rides well,

But that my sire the wine will chide

  If ’tis not fill’d by Rosabelle.”—


O’er Roslin all that dreary night          25

  A wondrous blaze was seen to gleam;

’Twas broader than the watch-fire’s light,

  And redder than the bright moonbeam.


It glared on Roslin’s castled rock,

  It ruddied all the copse-wood glen;          30

’Twas seen from Dryden’s groves of oak,

  And seen from cavern’d Hawthornden.


Seem’d all on fire that chapel proud,

  Where Roslin’s chiefs uncoffin’d lie,

Each Baron, for a sable shroud,          35

  Sheathed in his iron panoply.


Seem’d all on fire, within, around,

  Deep sacristy and altar’s pale;

Shone every pillar foliage-bound,

  And glimmer’d all the dead men’s mail.          40


Blazed battlement and pinnet high,

  Blazed every rose-carved buttress fair—

So still they blaze, when fate is nigh

  The lordly line of high Saint Clair.


There are twenty of Roslin’s barons bold          45

  Lie buried within that proud chapelle;

Each one the holy vault doth hold—

  But the sea holds lovely Rosabelle!


And each Saint Clair was buried there

  With candle, with book, and with knell;          50

But the sea-caves rung, and the wild winds sung

  The dirge of lovely Rosabelle!



O, young Lochinvar is come out of the west,

Through all the wild border his steed was the best;

And, save his good broadsword, he weapons had none,

He rode all unarm’d, and he rode all alone.

So faithful in love, and so dauntless in war,          5

There never was knight like the young Lochinvar.


He staid not for brake, and he stopp’d not for stone,

He swam the Esk river where ford there was none;

But ere he alighted at Netherby gate,

The bride had consented, the gallant came late;          10

For a laggard in love and a dastard in war,

Was to wed the fair Ellen of brave Lochinvar.


So boldly he enter’d the Netherby Hall,

Among bride’s-men, and kinsmen, and brothers, and all:

Then spoke the bride’s father, his hand on his sword,          15

(For the poor craven bridegroom said never a word,)

“O come ye in peace here, or come ye in war,

Or to dance at our bridal, young Lord Lochinvar?”—


“I long wooed your daughter, my suit you denied;—

Love swells like the Solway, but ebbs like its tide—          20

And now am I come, with this lost love of mine

To lead but one measure, drink one cup of wine.

There are maidens in Scotland more lovely by far

That would gladly be bride to the young Lochinvar.”


The bride kiss’d the goblet: the knight took it up,          25

He quaffed off the wine, and he threw down the cup.

She look’d down to blush, and she look’d up to sigh,

With a smile on her lips, and a tear in her eye,

He took her soft hand, ere her mother could bar,—

“Now tread we a measure!” said young Lochinvar.          30


So stately his form, and so lovely her face,

There never a hall such a galliard did grace;

While her mother did fret and her father did fume,

And the bridegroom stood dangling his bonnet and plume;

And the bride-maidens whispered, “’Twere better by far          35

To have match’d our fair cousin with young Lochinvar.”


One touch to her hand, and one word in her ear,

When they reach’d the hall-door, and the charger stood near;

So light to the croupe the fair lady he swung,

So light to the saddle before her he sprung!          40

“She is won! we are gone, over bank, bush, and scaur;

They’ll have fleet steeds that follow,” quoth young Lochinvar.


There was mounting ’mong Græmes of the Netherby clan;

Forsters, Fenwicks, and Musgraves, they rode and they ran;

There was racing and chasing on Cannobie Lee,          45

But the lost bride of Netherby ne’er did they see.

So daring in love, and so dauntless in war,

Have ye e’er heard of gallant like young Lochinvar?



               Hail to thee, blithe spirit!

                 Bird thou never wert,

               That from heaven or near it

                 Pourest thy full heart

In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.          5



               Higher still and higher

                 From the earth thou springest

               Like a cloud of fire;

                 The deep blue thou wingest,

And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.          10


               In the golden lightning

                 Of the sunken sun

               O’er which clouds are brightening,

                 Thou dost float and run,

Like an unbodied joy whose race has just begun.          15


               The pale purple even

                 Melts around thy flight;

               Like a star of heaven

                 In the broad daylight

Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight;          20


               Keen as are the arrows

                 Of that silver sphere,

               Whose intense lamp narrows

                 In the white dawn clear

    Until we hardly see, we feel that it is there.          25


               All the earth and air

                 With thy voice is loud,

               As, when night is bare,

                 From one lonely cloud

The moon rains out her beams, and heaven is overflow’d.          30


               What thou art we know not;

                 What is most like thee?

               From rainbow clouds there flow not

                 Drops so bright to see

As from thy presence showers a rain of melody.          35


               Like a poet hidden

                 In the light of thought,

               Singing hymns unbidden,

                 Till the world is wrought

To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not:          40


               Like a high-born maiden

                 In a palace tower,

               Soothing her love-laden

                 Soul in secret hour

With music sweet as love which overflows her bower:          45


               Like a glow-worm golden

                 In a dell of dew,

               Scattering unbeholden

                  Its aerial hue

Among the flowers and grass which screen it from the view:          50


               Like a rose embowered

                 In its own green leaves,

               By warm winds deflowered,

                 Till the scent it gives

Makes faint with too much sweet these heavy-wingéd thieves.          55


               Sound of vernal showers

                 On the twinkling grass,

               Rain awaken’d flowers,

                 All that ever was

Joyous and clear and fresh thy music doth surpass.          60


               Teach us, sprite or bird,

                 What sweet thoughts are thine;

               I have never heard

                 Praise of love or wine

That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine:          65


               Chorus hymeneal

                 Or triumphant chaunt

               Match’d with thine, would be all

                 But an empty vaunt,

A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want.          70


               What objects are the fountains

                 Of thy happy strain?

               What fields or waves or mountains?

                 What shapes of sky or plain?

What love of thine own kind? what ignorance of pain?          75


               With thy clear keen joyance

                 Languor cannot be:

               Shadow of annoyance

                 Never came near thee:

Thou lovest; but ne’er knew love’s sad satiety.          80


               Waking or asleep

                 Thou of death must deem

               Things more true and deep

                 Than we mortals dream,

Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream?          85


               We look before and after,

                 And pine for what is not.

               Our sincerest laughter

                 With some pain is fraught;

Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.          90


               Yet if we could scorn

                 Hate and pride and fear;

               If we were things born

                 Not to shed a tear,

I know not how thy joy we ever should come near.          95


               Better than all measures

                 Of delightful sound,

               Better than all treasures

                 That in books are found,

Thy skill to poets were, thou scorner of the ground!          100


               Teach me half the gladness

                 That thy brain must know,

               Such harmonious madness

                 From my lips would flow,

The world should listen then, as I am listening now!          105



The brave Geraint, a knight of Arthur’s court,

A tributary prince of Devon, one

Of that great Order of the Table Round,

Had wedded Enid, Yniol’s only child,

And loved her, as he loved the light of Heaven.          5

And as the light of Heaven varies, now

At sunrise, now at sunset, now by night

With moon and trembling stars, so loved Geraint

To make her beauty vary day by day,

In crimsons and in purples and in gems.          10

And Enid, but to please her husband’s eye,

Who first had found and loved her in a state

Of broken fortunes, daily fronted him

In some fresh splendour; and the Queen herself,

Grateful to Prince Geraint for service done,          15

Lov’d her, and often with her own white hands

Array’d and deck’d her, as the loveliest,

Next after her own self, in all the court.

And Enid loved the Queen, and with true heart

Adored her, as the stateliest and the best          20

And loveliest of all women upon earth.

And seeing them so tender and so close

Long in their common love rejoiced Geraint.

But when a rumour rose about the Queen,

Touching her guilty love for Lancelot,          25

Though yet there lived no proof, nor yet was heard

The world’s loud whisper breaking into storm,

Not less Geraint believed it; and there fell

A horror on him, lest his gentle wife,

Through that great tenderness for Guinevere,          30

Had suffer’d, or should suffer any taint

In nature: wherefore going to the King,

He made this pretext, that his princedom lay

Close on the borders of a territory,

Wherein were bandit earls, and caitiff knights,          35

Assassins, and all fliers from the hand

Of Justice, and whatever loathes a law:

And therefore, till the King himself should please

To cleanse this common sewer of all his realm,

He craved a fair permission to depart,          40

And there defend his marches; and the King

Mused for a little on his plea, but, last,

Allowing it, the Prince and Enid rode,

And fifty knights rode with them, to the shores

Of Severn, and they pass’d to their own land;          45

Where, thinking, that if ever yet was wife

True to her lord, mine shall be so to me,

He compass’d her with sweet observances

And worship, never leaving her, and grew

Forgetful of his promise to the King,          50

Forgetful of the falcon and the hunt,

Forgetful of the tilt and tournament,

Forgetful of his glory and his name,

Forgetful of his princedom and its cares.

And this forgetfulness was hateful to her.          55

And by and by the people, when they met

In twos and threes, or fuller companies,

Began to scoff and jeer and babble of him

As of a prince whose manhood was all gone,

And molten down in mere uxoriousness.          60

And this she gather’d from the people’s eyes;

This too the women who attired her head,

To please her, dwelling on his boundless love,

Told Enid, and they sadden’d her the more:

And day by day she thought to tell Geraint,          65

But could not out of bashful delicacy;

While he that watch’d her sadden, was the more

Suspicious that her nature had a taint.


  At last it chanced that on a summer morn

(They sleeping each by other) the new sun          70

Beat through the blindless casement of the room,

And heated the strong warrior in his dreams;

Who, moving, cast the coverlet aside,

And bared the knotted column of his throat,

The massive square of his heroic breast,          75

And arms on which the standing muscle sloped,

As slopes a wild brook o’er a little stone,

Running too vehemently to break upon it.

And Enid woke and sat beside the couch,

Admiring him, and thought within herself,          80

Was ever man so grandly made as he?

Then, like a shadow, pass’d the people’s talk

And accusation of uxoriousness

Across her mind, and bowing over him,

Low to her own heart piteously she said:          85


  “O noble breast and all-puissant arms,

Am I the cause, I the poor cause that men

Reproach you, saying all your force is gone?

I am the cause, because I dare not speak

And tell him what I think and what they say.          90

And yet I hate that he should linger here;

I cannot love my lord and not his name.

Far liefer had I gird his harness on him,

And ride with him to battle and stand by,

And watch his mightful hand striking great blows          95

At caitiffs and at wrongers of the world.

Far better were I laid in the dark earth,

Not hearing any more his noble voice,

Not to be folded more in these dear arms,

And darken’d from the high light in his eyes,          100

Than that my lord through me should suffer shame.

Am I so bold, and could I so stand by,

And see my dear lord wounded in the strife,

Or maybe pierc’d to death before mine eyes,

And yet not dare to tell him what I think,          105

And how men slur him, saying all his force

Is melted into mere effeminacy?

O me, I feel that I am no true wife.”


  Half inwardly, half audibly she spoke,

And the strong passion in her made her weep          110

True tears upon his broad and naked breast,

And these awoke him, and by great mischance

He heard but fragments of her later words,

And that she fear’d she was not a true wife.

And then he thought, “In spite of all my care,          115

For all my pains, poor man, for all my pains,

She is not faithful to me, and I see her

Weeping for some gay knight in Arthur’s hall.”

Then, though he lov’d and reverenc’d her too much

To dream she could be guilty of foul act,          120

Right through his manful breast darted the pang

That makes a man, in the sweet face of her

Whom he loves most, lonely and miserable.

At this he hurl’d his huge limbs out of bed,

And shook his drowsy squire awake and cried,          125

“My charger and her palfrey;” then to her,

“I will ride forth into the wilderness;

For though it seems my spurs are yet to win,

I have not fall’n so low as some would wish.

And you put on your worst and meanest dress          130

And ride with me.” And Enid ask’d, amaz’d,

“If Enid errs, let Enid learn her fault.”

But he, “I charge you, ask not, but obey.”

Then she bethought her of a faded silk,

A faded mantle and a faded veil,          135

And moving toward a cedarn cabinet,

Wherein she kept them folded reverently

With sprigs of summer laid between the folds,

She took them, and array’d herself therein,

Remembering when first he came on her          140

Drest in that dress, and how he lov’d her in it,

And all her foolish fears about the dress,

And all his journey to her, as himself

Had told her, and their coming to the court.


  For Arthur on the Whitsuntide before          145

Held court at old Caerleon upon Usk.

There on a day, he sitting high in hall,

Before him came a forester of Dean,

Wet from the woods, with notice of a hart

Taller than all his fellows, milky white,          150

First seen that day: these things he told the King.

Then the good King gave order to let blow

His horns for hunting on the morrow morn.

And when the Queen petition’d for his leave

To see the hunt, allow’d it easily.          155

So with the morning all the court were gone.

But Guinevere lay late into the morn,

Lost in sweet dreams, and dreaming of her love

For Lancelot, and forgetful of the hunt;

But rose at last, a single maiden with her,          160

Took horse, and forded Usk, and gain’d the wood;

There, on a little knoll beside it, stay’d

Waiting to hear the hounds; but heard instead

A sudden sound of hoofs, for Prince Geraint,

Late also, wearing neither hunting-dress          165

Nor weapon, save a golden-hilted brand,

Came quickly flashing through the shallow ford

Behind them, and so gallop’d up the knoll.

A purple scarf, at either end whereof

There swung an apple of the purest gold,          170

Sway’d round about him, as he gallop’d up

To join them, glancing like a dragon-fly

In summer suit and silks of holiday.

Low bow’d the tributary Prince, and she,

Sweetly and statelily, and with all grace          175

Of womanhood and queenhood, answer’d him:

“Late, late, Sir Prince,” she said, “later than we!”

“Yea, noble Queen,” he answer’d, “and so late

That I but come like you to see the hunt,

Not join it.” “Therefore wait with me,” she said;          180

“For on this little knoll, if anywhere,

There is good chance that we shall hear the hounds:

Here often they break covert at our feet.”


  And while they listen’d for the distant hunt,

And chiefly for the baying of Cavall,          185

King Arthur’s hound of deepest mouth, there rode

Full slowly by a knight, lady, and dwarf;

Whereof the dwarf lagg’d latest, and the knight

Had vizor up, and show’d a youthful face,

Imperious, and of haughtiest lineaments.          190

And Guinevere, not mindful of his face

In the King’s hall, desired his name, and sent

Her maiden to demand it of the dwarf;

Who being vicious, old and irritable,

And doubling all his master’s vice of pride,          195

Made answer sharply that she should not know.

“Then will I ask it of himself,” she said.

“Nay, by my faith, thou shalt not,” cried the dwarf;

“Thou art not worthy ev’n to speak of him;”

And when she put her horse toward the knight,          200

Struck at her with his whip, and she return’d

Indignant to the Queen; at which Geraint

Exclaiming, “Surely I will learn the name,”

Made sharply to the dwarf, and ask’d it of him,

Who answer’d as before; and when the Prince          205

Had put his horse in motion toward the knight,

Struck at him with his whip, and cut his cheek.

The Prince’s blood spirted upon the scarf,

Dyeing it; and his quick, instinctive hand

Caught at the hilt, as to abolish him:          210

But he from his exceeding manfulness

And pure nobility of temperament,

Wroth to be wroth at such a worm, refrain’d

From ev’n a word, and so returning said:


  “I will avenge this insult, noble Queen,          215

Done in your maiden’s person to yourself:

And I will track this vermin to their earths;

For though I ride unarmed, I do not doubt

To find, at some place I shall come at, arms

On loan, or else for pledge; and, being found,          220

Then will I fight him, and will break his pride,

And on the third day will again be here,

So that I be not fall’n in fight. Farewell.”


  “Farewell, fair Prince,” answered the stately Queen,

“Be prosperous in this journey, as in all;          225

And may you light on all things that you love,

And live to wed with her whom first you love.

But ere you wed with any, bring your bride,

And I, were she the daughter of a king,

Yea, though she were a beggar from the hedge,          230

Will clothe her for her bridals like the sun.”


  And Prince Geraint, now thinking that he heard

The noble hart at bay, now the far horn,

A little vex’d at losing of the hunt,

A little at the vile occasion, rode,          235

By ups and downs, through many a grassy glade

And valley, with fix’d eye following the three.

At last they issued from the world of wood,

And climb’d upon a fair and even ridge,

And show’d themselves against the sky, and sank.          240

And thither came Geraint, and underneath

Beheld the long street of a little town

In a long valley, on one side of which,

White from the mason’s hand, a fortress rose;

And on one side a castle in decay,          245

Beyond a bridge that spann’d a dry ravine:

And out of town and valley came a noise

As of a broad brook o’er a shingly bed

Brawling, or like a clamour of the rooks

At distance, ere they settle for the night.          250


  And onward to the fortress rode the three

And enter’d, and were lost behind the walls.

“So,” thought Geraint, “I have track’d him to his earth.”

And down the long street riding wearily,

Found every hostel full, and everywhere          255

Was hammer laid to hoof, and the hot hiss

And bustling whistle of the youth who scour’d

His master’s armour; and of such a one

He ask’d, “What means the tumult in the town?”

Who told him, scouring still, “The sparrow-hawk!”          260

Then riding close behind an ancient churl,

Who, smitten by the dusty sloping beam,

Went sweating underneath a sack of corn,

Ask’d yet once more what meant the hubbub here?

Who answer’d gruffly, “Ugh! the sparrow-hawk,”          265

Then riding farther past an armourer’s,

Who, with back turn’d, and bow’d above his work,

Sat riveting a helmet on his knee,

He put the self-same query; but the man

Not turning round, nor looking at him, said:          270

“Friend, he that labours for the sparrow-hawk

Has little time for idle questioners.”

Whereat Geraint flash’d into sudden spleen:

“A thousand pips eat up your sparrow-hawk!

Tits, wrens, and all wing’d nothings peck him dead!          275

Ye think the rustic cackle of your bourg

The murmur of the world! What is it to me?

O wretched set of sparrows, one and all,

Who pipe of nothing but of sparrow-hawks!

Speak, if you be not like the rest, hawk-mad,          280

Where can I get me harbourage for the night?

And arms, arms, arms to fight my enemy? Speak!”

At this the armourer, turning all amazed

And seeing one so gay in purple silks,

Came forward with the helmet yet in hand,          285

And answer’d, “Pardon me, O stranger knight;

We hold a tourney here to-morrow morn,

And there is scantly time for half the work.

Arms? truth! I know not: all are wanted here.

Harbourage? truth, good truth, I know not, save,          290

It may be, at Earl Yniol’s, o’er the bridge

Yonder.” He spoke and fell to work again.


  Then rode Geraint, a little spleenful yet,

Across the bridge that spann’d the dry ravine.

There musing sat the hoary-headed Earl          295

(His dress a suit of fray’d magnificence,

Once fit for feasts of ceremony), and said:

“Whither, fair son?” to whom Geraint replied,

“O friend, I seek a harbourage for the night.”

Then Yniol, “Enter, therefore, and partake          300

The slender entertainment of a house

Once rich, now poor, but ever open-door’d.”

“Thanks, venerable friend,” replied Geraint;

“So that you do not serve me sparrow-hawks

For supper, I will enter, I will eat          305

With all the passion of a twelve hours’ fast.”

Then sigh’d and smil’d the hoary-headed Earl,

And answer’d, “Graver cause than yours is mine

To curse this hedgerow thief, the sparrow-hawk.

But in, go in; for save yourself desire it,          310

We will not touch upon him ev’n in jest.”


  Then rode Geraint into the castle court,

His charger trampling many a prickly star

Of sprouted thistle on the broken stones.

He look’d, and saw that all was ruinous.          315

Here stood a shatter’d archway plumed with fern;

And here had fall’n a great part of a tower,

Whole, like a crag that tumbles from the cliff,

And like a crag was gay with wilding flowers:

And high above a piece of turret stair,          320

Worn by the feet that now were silent, wound

Bare to the sun, and monstrous ivy-stems

Claspt the gray walls with hairy-fibred arms,

And suck’d the joining of the stones, and look’d

A knot, beneath, of snakes, aloft, a grove.          325


  And while he waited in the castle court,

The voice of Enid, Yniol’s daughter, rang

Clear through the open casement of the hall,

Singing; and as the sweet voice of a bird,

Heard by the lander in a lonely isle,          330

Moves him to think what kind of bird it is

That sings so delicately clear, and make

Conjecture of the plumage and the form,—

So the sweet voice of Enid moved Geraint;

And made him like a man abroad at morn          335

When first the liquid note beloved of men

Comes flying over many a windy wave

To Britain, and in April suddenly

Breaks from a coppice gemm’d with green and red,

And he suspends his converse with a friend,          340

Or it may be the labour of his hands,

To think or say, “There is the nightingale,”—

So fared it with Geraint, who thought and said,

“Here, by God’s grace, is the one voice for me.”


  It chanced the song that Enid sang was one          345

Of Fortune and her wheel, and Enid sang:


  “Turn, Fortune, turn thy wheel and lower the proud;

Turn thy wild wheel through sunshine, storm, and cloud;

Thy wheel and thee we neither love nor hate.


  “Turn, Fortune, turn thy wheel with smile or frown;          350

With that wild wheel we go not up or down;

Our hoard is little, but our hearts are great.


  “Smile and we smile, the lords of many lands;

Frown and we smile, the lords of our own hands;

For man is man and master of his fate.          355


  “Turn, turn thy wheel above the staring crowd;

Thy wheel and thou are shadows in the cloud;

Thy wheel and thee we neither love nor hate.”


  “Hark, by the bird’s song you may learn the nest,”

Said Yniol; “enter quickly.” Entering then,          360

Right o’er a mount of newly-fallen stones,

The dusky-rafter’d many-cobwebb’d hall,

He found an ancient dame in dim brocade;

And near her, like a blossom vermeil-white,

That lightly breaks a faded flower-sheath,          365

Moved the fair Enid, all in faded silk,

Her daughter. In a moment thought Geraint,

“Here by God’s rood is the one maid for me.”

But none spake word except the hoary Earl:

“Enid, the good knight’s horse stands in the court;          370

Take him to stall, and give him corn, and then

Go to the town and buy us flesh and wine;

And we will make us merry as we may.

Our hoard is little, but our hearts are great.”


  He spake: the Prince, as Enid pass’d him, fain          375

To follow, strode a stride; but Yniol caught

His purple scarf, and held, and said, “Forbear!

Rest! the good house, though ruin’d, O my son,

Endures not that her guest should serve himself.”

And reverencing the custom of the house,          380

Geraint, from utter courtesy, forbore.


  So Enid took his charger to the stall;

And after went her way across the bridge,

And reach’d the town, and while the Prince and Earl

Yet spoke together, came again with one,          385

A youth, that following with a costrel bore

The means of goodly welcome, flesh and wine.

And Enid brought sweet cakes to make them cheer,

And in her veil enfolded, manchet bread.

And then, because their hall must also serve          390

For kitchen, boil’d the flesh and spread the board,

And stood behind, and waited on the three.

And seeing her so sweet and serviceable,

Geraint had a longing in him evermore

To stoop and kiss the tender little thumb,          395

That crost the trencher as she laid it down:

But after all had eaten, then Geraint,

For now the wine made summer in his veins,

Let his eye rove in following, or rest

On Enid at her lowly handmaid-work,          400

Now here, now there, about the dusky hall;

Then suddenly addrest the hoary Earl:


  “Fair Host and Earl, I pray your courtesy;

This sparrow-hawk, what is he? tell me of him.

His name? but no, good faith, I will not have it;          405

For if he be the knight whom late I saw

Ride into that new fortress by your town,

White from the mason’s hand, then have I sworn

From his own lips to have it—I am Geraint

Of Devon—for this morning when the Queen          410

Sent her own maiden to demand the name,

His dwarf, a vicious under-shapen thing,

Struck at her with his whip, and she return’d

Indignant to the Queen; and then I swore

That I would track this caitiff to his hold,          415

And fight and break his pride, and have it of him.

And all unarm’d I rode, and thought to find

Arms in your town, where all the men are mad;

They take the rustic murmur of their bourg

For the great wave that echoes round the world;          420

They would not hear me speak; but if you know

Where I can light on arms, or if yourself

Should have them, tell me, seeing I have sworn

That I will break his pride and learn his name,

Avenging this great insult done the Queen.”          425


  Then cried Earl Yniol, “Art thou he indeed,

Geraint, a name far sounded among men

For noble deeds? and truly I, when first

I saw you moving by me on the bridge,

Felt you were somewhat, yea, and by your state          430

And presence might have guess’d you one of those

That eat in Arthur’s hall at Camelot.

Nor speak I now from foolish flattery;

For this dear child hath often heard me praise

Your feats of arms, and often when I paused          435

Had ask’d again, and ever loved to hear;

So grateful is the noise of noble deeds

To noble hearts who see but acts of wrong:

Oh, never yet had woman such a pair

Of suitors as this maiden; first Limours,          440

A creature wholly given to brawls and wine,

Drunk even when he woo’d; and be he dead

I know not, but he pass’d to the wild land.

The second was your foe, the sparrow-hawk,

My curse, my nephew—I will not let his name          445

Slip from my lips if I can help it—he,

When I that knew him fierce and turbulent

Refused her to him, then his pride awoke

And since the proud man often is the mean,

He sow’d a slander in the common ear          450

Affirming that his father left him gold,

And in my charge, which was not render’d to him;

Bribed with large promises the men who serv’d

About my person, the more easily

Because my means were somewhat broken into          455

Through open doors and hospitality;

Rais’d my own town against me in the night

Before my Enid’s birthday, sack’d my house;

From mine own earldom foully ousted me;

Built that new fort to overawe my friends,          460

For truly there are those who love me yet;

And keeps me in this ruinous castle here,

Where doubtless he would put me soon to death,

But that his pride too much despises me:

And I myself sometimes despise myself;          465

For I have let men be, and have their way;

Am much too gentle, have not used my power:

Nor know I whether I be very base

Or very manful, whether very wise

Or very foolish; only this I know,          470

That whatsoever evil happen to me,

I seem to suffer nothing heart or limb,

But can endure it all most patiently.”


  “Well said, true heart,” replied Geraint, “but arms,

That if, as I suppose, your nephew fights          475

In next day’s tourney I may break his pride.”


  And Yniol answer’d, “Arms, indeed, but old

And rusty, old and rusty, Prince Geraint,

Are mine, and therefore at your asking, yours.

But in this tournament can no man tilt,          480

Except the lady he loves best be there.

Two forks are fix’d into the meadow ground,

And over these is laid a silver wand,

And over that is placed a sparrow-hawk,

The prize of beauty for the fairest there.          485

And this, what knight soever be in field

Lays claim to for the lady at his side,

And tilts with my good nephew thereupon,

Who being apt at arms and big of bone

Has ever won it for the lady with him,          490

And toppling over all antagonism

Has earn’d himself the name of sparrow-hawk.

But you, that have no lady, cannot fight.”


  To whom Geraint with eyes all bright replied,

Leaning a little toward him, “Your leave!          495

Let me lay lance in rest, O noble host,

For this dear child, because I never saw,

Though having seen all beauties of our time,

Nor can see elsewhere, anything so fair.

And if I fall her name will yet remain          500

Untarnish’d as before; but if I live,

So aid me Heaven when at mine uttermost,

As I will make her truly my true wife.”


  Then, howsoever patient, Yniol’s heart

Danced in his bosom, seeing better days.          505

And looking round he saw not Enid there

(Who hearing her own name had slipt away),

But that old dame, to whom full tenderly

And fondling all her hand in his he said,

“Mother, a maiden is a tender thing,          510

And best by her that bore her understood.

Go thou to rest, but ere thou go to rest

Tell her, and prove her heart toward the Prince.”


  So spake the kindly-hearted Earl, and she

With frequent smile and nod departing found,          515

Half-disarray’d as to her rest, the girl;

Whom first she kiss’d on either cheek, and then

On either shining shoulder laid a hand,

And kept her off and gazed upon her face,

And told her all their converse in the hall,          520

Proving her heart: but never light and shade

Coursed one another more on open ground

Beneath a troubled heaven, than red and pale

Across the face of Enid hearing her;

While slowly falling as a scale that falls,          525

When weight is added only grain by grain,

Sank her sweet head upon her gentle breast;

Nor did she lift an eye nor speak a word,

Rapt in the fear and in the wonder of it.

So moving without answer to her rest          530

She found no rest, and ever fail’d to draw

The quiet night into her blood, but lay

Contemplating her own unworthiness;

And when the pale and bloodless east began

To quicken to the sun, arose, and raised          535

Her mother too, and hand in hand they moved

Down to the meadow where the jousts were held,

And waited there for Yniol and Geraint.


  And thither came the twain, and when Geraint

Beheld her first in field awaiting him,          540

He felt, were she the prize of bodily force,

Himself beyond the rest pushing could move

The chair of Idris. Yniol’s rusted arms

Were on his princely person, but through these

Princelike his bearing shone; and errant knights          545

And ladies came, and by and by the town

Flow’d in, and settling circled all the lists.

And there they fix’d the forks into the ground,

And over these they placed a silver wand,

And over that a golden sparrow-hawk.          550

Then Yniol’s nephew, after trumpet blown,

Spake to the lady with him and proclaim’d,

“Advance and take as fairest of the fair,

For I these two years past have won it for thee,

The prize of beauty.” Loudly spake the Prince,          555

“Forbear; there is a worthier,” and the knight,

With some surprise and thrice as much disdain,

Turn’d, and beheld the four, and all his face

Glow’d like the heart of a great fire at Yule,

So burnt he was with passion, crying out,          560

“Do battle for it then,” no more; and thrice

They clash’d together, and thrice they brake their spears.

Then each, dishorsed and drawing, lash’d at each

So often and with such blows, that all the crowd

Wonder’d, and now and then from distant walls          565

There came a clapping as of phantom hands.

So twice they fought, and twice they breathed, and still

The dew of their great labour, and the blood

Of their strong bodies, flowing, drain’d their force.

But either’s force was match’d till Yniol’s cry,          570

“Remember that great insult done the Queen,”

Increased Geraint’s, who heaved his blade aloft,

And crack’d the helmet through, and bit the bone,

And fell’d him, and set foot upon his breast,

And said, “Thy name?” To whom the fallen man          575

Made answer, groaning, “Edyrn, son of Nudd!

Ashamed am I that I should tell it thee.

My pride is broken: men have seen my fall.”

“Then, Edyrn, son of Nudd,” replied Geraint,

“These two things shalt thou do, or else thou diest.          580

First, thou thyself, thy lady, and thy dwarf,

Shalt ride to Arthur’s court, and being there,

Crave pardon for that insult done the Queen,

And shalt abide her judgment on it; next,

Thou shalt give back their earldom to thy kin.          585

These two things shalt thou do, or thou shalt die.”

And Edyrn answer’d, “These things will I do,

For I have never yet been overthrown,

And thou hast overthrown me, and my pride

Is broken down, for Enid sees my fall!”          590

And rising up, he rode to Arthur’s court,

And there the Queen forgave him easily.

And being young, he changed himself, and grew

To hate the sin that seem’d so like his own

Of Modred, Arthur’s nephew, and fell at last          595

In the great battle fighting for the King.


  But when the third day from the hunting-morn

Made a low splendour in the world, and wings

Moved in her ivy, Enid, for she lay

With her fair head in the dim yellow light,          600

Among the dancing shadows of the birds,

Woke and bethought her of her promise given

No later than last eve to Prince Geraint—

So bent he seem’d on going the third day,

He would not leave her, till her promise given—          605

To ride with him this morning to the court,

And there be made known to the stately Queen,

And there be wedded with all ceremony.

At this she cast her eyes upon her dress,

And thought it never yet had look’d so mean.          610

For as a leaf in mid-November is

To what it was in mid-October, seem’d

The dress that now she look’d on to the dress

She look’d on ere the coming of Geraint.

And still she look’d, and still the terror grew          615

Of that strange bright and dreadful thing, a court,

All staring at her in her faded silk;

And softly to her own sweet heart she said;


  “This noble prince who won our earldom back,

So splendid in his acts and his attire,          620

Sweet heaven, how much I shall discredit him!

Would he could tarry with us here awhile,

But being so beholden to the Prince,

It were but little grace in any of us,

Bent as he seem’d on going this third day,          625

To seek a second favour at his hands.

Yet if he could but tarry a day or two,

Myself would work eye dim, and finger lame,

Far liefer than so much discredit him.”


  And Enid fell in longing for a dress          630

All branch’d and flower’d with gold, a costly gift

Of her good mother, given her on the night

Before her birthday, three sad years ago,

That night of fire, when Edyrn sack’d their house,

And scatter’d all they had to all the winds:          635

For while the mother show’d it, and the two

Were turning and admiring it, the work

To both appear’d so costly, rose a cry

That Edyrn’s men were on them, and they fled

With little save the jewels they had on,          640

Which being sold and sold had bought them bread:

And Edyrn’s men had caught them in their flight,

And placed them in this ruin; and she wish’d

The Prince had found her in her ancient home;

Then let her fancy flit across the past,          645

And roam the goodly places that she knew;

And last bethought her how she used to watch,

Near that old home, a pool of golden carp;

And one was patch’d and blurr’d and lustreless

Among his burnish’d brethren of the pool;          650

And half asleep she made comparison

Of that and these to her own faded self

And the gay court, and fell asleep again;

And dreamt herself was such a faded form

Among her burnish’d sisters of the pool;          655

But this was in the garden of a king;

And though she lay dark in the pool, she knew

That all was bright; that all about were birds

Of sunny plume in gilded trellis-work;

That all the turf was rich in plots that look’d          660

Each like a garnet or a turkis in it;

And lords and ladies of the high court went

In silver tissue talking things of state;

And children of the King in cloth of gold

Glanced at the doors or gamboll’d down the walks;          665

And while she thought, “They will not see me,” came

A stately queen whose name was Guinevere,

And all the children in their cloth of gold

Ran to her, crying, “If we have fish at all

Let them be gold; and charge the gardeners now          670

To pick the faded creature from the pool.

And cast it on the mixen that it die.”

And therewithal one came and seized on her,

And Enid started, waking, with her heart

All overshadow’d by the foolish dream,          675

And lo! it was her mother grasping her

To get her well awake: and in her hand

A suit of bright apparel, which she laid

Flat on the couch, and spoke exultingly:


  “See here, my child, how fresh the colours look,          680

How fast they hold like colours of a shell

That keeps the wear and polish of the wave!

Why not? It never yet was worn, I trow:

Look on it, child, and tell me if you know it.”


  And Enid look’d, but all confus’d at first,          685

Could scarce divide it from her foolish dream;

Then suddenly she knew it and rejoiced,

And answer’d, “Yea, I know it; your good gift,

So sadly lost on that unhappy night;

Your own good gift!” “Yea, surely,” said the dame,          690

“And gladly given again this happy morn.

For when the jousts were ended yesterday,

Went Yniol through the town, and everywhere

He found the sack and plunder of our house

All scatter’d through the houses of the town;          695

And gave command that all which once was ours

Should now be ours again: and yester-eve,

While you were talking sweetly with your Prince,

Came one with this and laid it in my hand,

For love or fear, or seeking favour of us,          700

Because we have our Earldom back again.

And yester-eve I would not tell you of it,

But kept it for a sweet surprise at morn.

Yea, truly is it not a sweet surprise?

For I myself unwillingly have worn          705

My faded suit, as you, my child, have yours,

And howsoever patient, Yniol his.

Ah, dear, he took me from a goodly house,

With store of rich apparel, sumptuous fare,

And page, and maid, and squire, and seneschal,          710

And pastime both of hawk and hound, and all

That appertains to noble maintenance.

Yea, and he brought me to a goodly house;

But since our fortune slipt from sun to shade,

And all through that young traitor, cruel need          715

Constrain’d us, but a better time has come;

So clothe yourself in this, that better fits

Our mended fortunes and a Prince’s bride:

For though you won the prize of fairest fair,

And though I heard him call you fairest fair,          720

Let never maiden think, however fair,

She is not fairer in new clothes than old.

And should some great court-lady say, the Prince

Hath pick’d a ragged-robin from the hedge,

And like a madman brought her to the court,          725

Then were you shamed, and, worse, might shame the Prince

To whom we are beholden; but I know,

When my dear child is set forth at her best,

That neither court nor country, though they sought

Through all the provinces like those of old          730

That lighted on Queen Esther, has her match.”


  Here ceased the kindly mother out of breath;

And Enid listen’d brightening as she lay;

Then, as the white and glittering star of morn

Parts from a bank of snow, and by and by          735

Slips into golden cloud, the maiden rose,

And left her maiden couch, and robed herself,

Help’d by the mother’s careful hand and eye,

Without a mirror, in the gorgeous gown;

Who, after, turn’d her daughter round and said,          740

She never yet had seen her half so fair;

And call’d her like that maiden in the tale,

Whom Gwydion made by glamour out of flowers,

And sweeter than the bride of Cassivelaun,

Flur, for whose love the Roman Cæsar first          745

Invaded Britain, “But we beat him back,

As this great Prince invaded us, and we,

Not beat him back, but welcomed him with joy.

And I can scarcely ride with you to court,

For old am I, and rough the ways and wild;          750

But Yniol goes, and I full oft shall dream

I see my princess as I see her now,

Clothed with my gift, and gay among the gay.”


  But while the women thus rejoiced, Geraint

Woke where he slept in the high hall, and call’d          755

For Enid; and when Yniol made report

Of that good mother making Enid gay

In such apparel as might well beseem

His princess, or indeed the stately Queen,

He answer’d: “Earl, entreat her by my love,          760

Albeit I give no reason but my wish,

That she ride with me in her faded silk.”

Yniol with that hard message went; it fell

Like flaws in summer laying lusty corn:

For Enid, all abash’d she knew not why,          765

Dared not to glance at her good mother’s face,

But silently, in all obedience,

Her mother silent too, nor helping her,

Laid from her limbs the costly-broider’d gift,

And robed them in her ancient suit again,          770

And so descended. Never man rejoiced

More than Geraint to greet her thus attired;

And glancing all at once as keenly at her

As careful robins eye the delver’s toil,

Made her cheek burn and either eyelid fall,          775

But rested with her sweet face satisfied;

Then seeing cloud upon the mother’s brow,

Her by both hands he caught, and sweetly said:


  “O my new mother, be not wroth or grieved

At your new son, for my petition to her.          780

When late I left Caerleon, our great Queen,

In words whose echo lasts, they were so sweet,

Made promise, that whatever bride I brought,

Herself would clothe her like the sun in Heaven.

Thereafter, when I reach’d this ruin’d hold,          785

Beholding one so bright in dark estate,

I vow’d that could I gain her, our kind Queen,

No hand but hers, should make your Enid burst

Sunlike from cloud—and likewise thought, perhaps,

That service done so graciously would bind          790

The two together; for I wish the two

To love each other: how should Enid find

A nobler friend? Another thought I had;

I came among you here so suddenly,

That though her gentle presence at the lists          795

Might well have served for proof that I was loved,

I doubted whether filial tenderness,

Or easy nature, did not let itself

Be moulded by your wishes for her weal;

Or whether some false sense in her own self          800

Of my contrasting brightness, overbore

Her fancy dwelling in this dusky hall;

And such a sense might make her long for court

And all its dangerous glories: and I thought,

That could I someway prove such force in her          805

Link’d with such love for me, that at a word

(No reason given her) she could cast aside

A splendour dear to women, new to her,

And therefore dearer; or if not so new,

Yet therefore tenfold dearer by the power          810

Of intermitted custom; then I felt

That I could rest, a rock in ebbs and flows,

Fix’d on her faith. Now, therefore, I do rest,

A prophet certain of my prophecy,

That never shadow of mistrust can cross          815

Between us. Grant me pardon for my thoughts;

And for my strange petition I will make

Amends hereafter by some gaudy-day,

When your fair child shall wear your costly gift

Beside your own warm hearth, with, on her knees,          820

Who knows? another gift of the high God,

Which, maybe, shall have learn’d to lisp you thanks.”


  He spoke: the mother smil’d, but half in tears,

Then brought a mantle down and wrapt her in it,

And claspt and kiss’d her, and they rode away.          825


  Now thrice that morning Guinevere had climb’d

The giant tower, from whose high crest, they say,

Men saw the goodly hills of Somerset,

And white sails flying on the yellow sea;

But not to goodly hill or yellow sea          830

Look’d the fair Queen, but up the vale of Usk,

By the flat meadow, till she saw them come;

And then descending met them at the gates,

Embrac’d her with all welcome as a friend,

And did her honour as the Prince’s bride,          835

And cloth’d her for her bridals like the sun;

And all that week was old Caerleon gay,

For by the hands of Dubric, the high saint,

They twain were wedded with all ceremony.


  And this was on the last year’s Whitsuntide.          840

But Enid ever kept the faded silk,

Remembering how first he came on her,

Drest in that dress, and how he loved her in it,

And all her foolish fears about the dress,

And all his journey toward her, as himself          845

Had told her, and their coming to the court.


  And now this morning when he said to her,

“Put on your worst and meanest dress,” she found

And took it, and array’d herself therein.






Bury the Great Duke

  With an empire’s lamentation,

Let us bury the Great Duke

  To the noise of the mourning of a mighty nation,

Mourning when their leaders fall,          5

Warriors carry the warrior’s pall,

And sorrow darkens hamlet and hall.





Where shall we lay the man whom we deplore?

Here, in streaming London’s central roar.

Let the sound of those he wrought for,          10

And the feet of those he fought for,

Echo round his bones for evermore.





Lead out the pageant: sad and slow,

As fits an universal woe,

Let the long long procession go,          15

And let the sorrowing crowd about it grow,

And let the mournful martial music blow;

The last great Englishman is low.





Mourn, for to us he seems the last,

Remembering all his greatness in the Past.          20

No more in soldier fashion will he greet

With lifted hand the gazer in the street.

O friends, our chief state-oracle is mute:

Mourn for the man of long-enduring blood,

The statesman-warrior, moderate, resolute,          25

Whole in himself, a common good.

Mourn for the man of amplest influence,

Yet clearest of ambitious crime,

Our greatest yet with least pretence,

Great in council and great in war,          30

Foremost captain of his time,

Rich in saving common-sense,

And, as the greatest only are,

In his simplicity sublime.

O good gray head which all men knew,          35

O voice from which their omens all men drew,

O iron nerve to true occasion true,

O fall’n at length that tower of strength

Which stood four-square to all the winds that blew!

Such was he whom we deplore.          40

The long self-sacrifice of life is o’er.

The great World-victor’s victor will be seen no more.





All is over and done:

Render thanks to the Giver,

England, for thy son.          45

Let the bell be toll’d.

Render thanks to the Giver,

And render him to the mould.

Under the cross of gold

That shines over city and river,          50

There he shall rest for ever

Among the wise and the bold.

Let the bell be toll’d:

And a reverent people behold

The towering car, the sable steeds:          55

Bright let it be with its blazon’d deeds,

Dark in its funeral fold.

Let the bell be toll’d:

And a deeper knell in the heart be knoll’d;

And the sound of the sorrowing anthem roll’d          60

Thro’ the dome of the golden cross;

And the volleying cannon thunder his loss;

He knew their voices of old.

For many a time in many a clime

His captain’s-ear has heard them boom          65

Bellowing victory, bellowing doom:

When he with those deep voices wrought,

Guarding realms and kings from shame;

With those deep voices our dead captain taught

The tyrant, and asserts his claim          70

In that dread sound to the great name,

Which he has worn so pure of blame,

In praise and in dispraise the same,

A man of well-attemper’d frame.

O civic muse, to such a name,          75

To such a name for ages long,

To such a name,

Preserve a broad approach of fame,

And ever-ringing[1] avenues of song.





Who is he that cometh, like an honour’d guest,          80

With banner and with music, with soldier and with priest,

With a nation weeping, and breaking on my rest?

Mighty Seaman, this is he

Was great by land as thou by sea.

Thine island loves thee well, thou famous man,          85

The greatest sailor since our world began.

Now, to the roll of muffled drums,

To thee the greatest soldier comes;

For this is he

Was great by land as thou by sea;          90

His foes were thine; he kept us free;

O give him welcome, this is he

Worthy of our gorgeous rites,

And worthy to be laid by thee;

For this is England’s greatest son,          95

He that gain’d a hundred fights,

Nor ever lost an English gun;

This is he that far away

Against the myriads of Assaye

Clash’d with his fiery few and won;          100

And underneath another sun,

Warring on a later day,

Round affrighted Lisbon drew

The treble works, the vast designs

Of his labour’d rampart-lines,          105

Where he greatly stood at bay,

Whence he issued forth anew,

And ever great and greater grew

Beating from the wasted vines

Back to France her banded swarms,          110

Back to France with countless blows,

Till o’er the hills her eagles flew

Beyond the Pyrenean pines,

Follow’d up in valley and glen

With blare of bugle, clamour of men,          115

Roll of cannon and clash of arms,

And England pouring on her foes.

Such a war had such a close.

Again their ravening eagle rose

In anger, wheel’d on Europe-shadowing wings,          120

And barking for the thrones of kings;

Till one that sought but Duty’s iron crown

On that loud sabbath shook the spoiler down;

A day of onsets of despair!

Dash’d on every rocky square          125

Their surging charges foam’d themselves away;

Last, the Prussian trumpet blew;

Thro’ the long-tormented air

Heaven flash’d a sudden jubilant ray,

And down we swept and charged and overthrew.          130

So great a soldier taught us there,

What long-enduring hearts could do

In that world-earthquake, Waterloo!

Mighty Seaman, tender and true,

And pure as he from taint of craven guile,          135

O saviour of the silver-coasted isle,

O shaker of the Baltic and the Nile,

If aught of things that here befall

Touch a spirit among things divine,

If love of country move thee there at all,          140

Be glad, because his bones are laid by thine!

And thro’ the centuries let a people’s voice

In full acclaim,

A people’s voice,

The proof and echo of all human fame,          145

A people’s voice, when they rejoice

At civic revel and pomp and game,

Attest their great commander’s claim

With honour, honour, honour, honour to him,

Eternal honour to his name.          150





A people’s voice! we are a people yet.

Tho’ all men else their nobler dreams forget,

Confused by brainless mobs and lawless powers;

Thank Him who isled us here, and roughly set

His Saxon[2] in blown seas and storming showers,          155

We have a voice, with which to pay the debt

Of boundless love and reverence and regret

To those great men who fought, and kept it ours.

And keep it ours, O God, from brute control;

O Statesmen, guard us, guard the eye, the soul          160

Of Europe, keep our noble England whole,

And save the one true seed of freedom sown

Betwixt a people and their ancient throne,

That sober freedom out of which there springs

Our loyal passion for our temperate kings;          165

For, saving that, ye help to save mankind

Till public wrong be crumbled into dust,

And drill the raw world for the march of mind,

Till crowds at length be sane and crowns be just.

But wink no more in slothful overtrust.          170

Remember him who led your hosts;

He bad you guard the sacred coasts.

Your cannons moulder on the seaward wall;

His voice is silent in your council-hall

For ever; and whatever tempests lour          175

For ever silent; even if they broke

In thunder, silent; yet remember all

He spoke among you, and the Man who spoke;

Who never sold the truth to serve the hour,

Nor palter’d with Eternal God for power;          180

Who let the turbid streams of rumour flow

Thro’ either babbling world of high and low;

Whose life was work, whose language rife

With rugged maxims hewn from life;

Who never spoke against a foe;          185

Whose eighty winters freeze with one rebuke

All great self-seekers trampling on the right:

Truth-teller was our England’s Alfred named;

Truth-lover was our English Duke;

Whatever record leap to light          190

He never shall be shamed.





Lo, the leader in these glorious wars

Now to glorious burial slowly borne,

Follow’d by the brave of other lands,

He, on whom from both her open hands          195

Lavish Honour shower’d all her stars,

And affluent Fortune emptied all her horn.

Yea, let all good things await

Him who cares not to be great,

But as he saves or serves the state.          200

Not once or twice in our rough island-story,

The path of duty was the way to glory:

He that walks it, only thirsting

For the right, and learns to deaden

Love of self, before his journey closes,          205

He shall find the stubborn thistle bursting

Into glossy purples, which outredden

All voluptuous garden-roses.

Not once or twice in our fair island-story,

The path of duty was the way to glory:          210

He, that ever following her commands,

On with toil of heart and knees and hands,

Thro’ the long gorge to the far light has won

His path upward, and prevail’d,

Shall find the toppling crags of Duty scaled          215

Are close upon the shining table-lands

To which our God Himself is moon and sun.

Such was he: his work is done.

But while the races of mankind endure,

Let his great example stand          220

Colossal, seen of every land,

And keep the soldier firm, the statesman pure:

Till in all lands and thro’ all human story

The path of duty be the way to glory:

And let the land whose hearths he saved from shame

For many and many an age proclaim          226

At civic revel and pomp and game,

And when the long-illumined cities flame,

Their ever-loyal iron leader’s fame,

With honour, honour, honour, honour to him,          230

Eternal honour to his name.





Peace, his triumph will be sung

By some yet unmoulded tongue

Far on in summers that we shall not see:

Peace, it is a day of pain          235

For one about whose patriarchal knee

Late the little children clung:

O peace, it is a day of pain

For one, upon whose hand and heart and brain

Once the weight and fate of Europe hung.          240

Ours the pain, be his the gain!

More than is of man’s degree

Must be with us, watching here

At this, our great solemnity.

Whom we see not we revere;          245

We revere, and we refrain

From talk of battles loud and vain,

And brawling memories all too free

For such a wise humility

As befits a solemn fane:          250

We revere, and while we hear

The tides of Music’s golden sea

Setting toward eternity,

Uplifted high in heart and hope are we,

Until we doubt not that for one so true          255

There must be other nobler work to do

Than when he fought at Waterloo,

And Victor he must ever be.

For tho’ the Giant Ages heave the hill

And break the shore, and evermore          260

Make and break, and work their will;

Tho’ world on world in myriad myriads roll

Round us, each with different powers,

And other forms of life than ours,

What know we greater than the soul?          265

On God and Godlike men we build our trust.

Hush, the Dead March wails in the people’s ears:

The dark crowd moves, and there are sobs and tears:

The black earth yawns: the mortal disappears;

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust;          270

He is gone who seem’d so great,—

Gone; but nothing can bereave him

Of the force he made his own

Being here, and we believe him

Something far advanced in State,          275

And that he wears a truer crown

Than any wreath that man can weave him.

Speak no more of his renown,

Lay your earthly fancies down,

And in the vast cathedral leave him,          280

God accept him, Christ receive him.

 See note on this line.

 See note on this line.



      The Sleeping Palace.




The varying year with blade and sheaf

  Clothes and reclothes the happy plains;

Here rests the sap within the leaf,

  Here stays the blood along the veins.

Faint shadows, vapours lightly curl’d,          5

  Faint murmurs from the meadows come,

Like hints and echoes of the world

  To spirits folded in the womb.




Soft lustre bathes the range of urns

  On every slanting terrace-lawn.          10

The fountain to his place returns

  Deep in the garden lake withdrawn.

Here droops the banner on the tower,

  On the hall-hearths the festal fires,

The peacock in his laurel bower,          15

  The parrot in his gilded wires.




Roof-haunting martins warm their eggs:

  In these, in those the life is stay’d.

The mantles from the golden pegs

  Droop sleepily: no sound is made,—          20

Not even of a gnat that sings.

  More like a picture seemeth all

Than those old portraits of old kings,

  That watch the sleepers from the wall.




Here sits the Butler with a flask          25

  Between his knees, half-drain’d; and there

The wrinkled steward at his task,

  The maid-of-honour blooming fair:

The page has caught her hand in his:

  Her lips are sever’d as to speak:          30

His own were pouted to a kiss:

  The blush is fix’d upon her cheek.




Till all the hundred summers pass,

  The beams that thro’ the Oriel shine,

Make prisms in every carven glass,          35

  And beaker brimm’d with noble wine.

Each baron at the banquet sleeps,

  Grave faces gather’d in a ring.

His state the king reposing keeps,

  He must have been a jovial king.          40




All round a hedge upshoots, and shows

  At distance like a little wood;

Thorns, ivies, woodbine, mistletoes,

  And grapes with bunches red as blood;

All creeping plants, a wall of green          45

  Close-matted, bur and brake and briar,

And glimpsing over these, just seen,

  High up, the topmost palace-spire.




When will the hundred summers die,

  And thought and time be born again,          50

And newer knowledge, drawing nigh,

  Bring truth that sways the soul of men?

Here all things in their place remain,

  As all were order’d, ages since.

Come, Care and Pleasure, Hope and Pain,          55

  And bring the fated fairy Prince.



      The Sleeping Beauty.




Year after year unto her feet,

  She lying on her couch alone

Across the purpled coverlet,

  The maiden’s jet-black hair has grown,          60

On either side her tranced form

  Forth streaming from a braid of pearl:

The slumbrous light is rich and warm,

  And moves not on the rounded curl.




The silk star-broidered coverlid          65

  Unto her limbs itself doth mould

Languidly ever; and, amid

  Her full black ringlets downward roll’d,

Glows forth each softly-shadow’d arm

  With bracelets of the diamond bright:          70

Her constant beauty doth inform

  Stillness with love, and day with light.




She sleeps: her breathings are not heard

  In palace chambers far apart.

The fragrant tresses are not stirr’d          75

  That lie upon her charmed heart.

She sleeps: on either hand upswells

  The gold-fringed pillow lightly prest:

She sleeps, nor dreams, but ever dwells

  A perfect form in perfect rest.          80



         The Arrival.




All precious things, discover’d late,

  To those who seek them issue forth;

For love in sequel works with fate,

  And draws the veil from hidden worth.

He travels far from other skies—          85

  His mantle glitters on the rocks—

A fairy Prince, with joyful eyes,

  And lighter-footed than the fox.




The bodies and the bones of those

  That strove in other days to pass,          90

Are wither’d in the thorny close,

  Or scatter’d blanching on the grass.

He gazes on the silent dead:

  ‘They perish’d in their daring deeds.’

This proverb flashes thro’ his head,          95

  ‘The many fail: the one succeeds.’




He comes, scarce knowing what he seeks:

  He breaks the hedge: he enters there:

The colour flies into his cheeks:

  He trusts to light on something fair;          100

For all his life the charm did talk

  About his path, and hover near

With words of promise in his walk,

  And whisper’d voices in his ear.




More close and close his footsteps wind;          105

  The Magic Music in his heart

Beats quick and quicker, till he find

  The quiet chamber far apart.

His spirit flatters like a lark,

  He stoops—to kiss her—on his knee.          110

‘Love, if thy tresses be so dark,

  How dark those hidden eyes must be!’



         The Revival.




A touch, a kiss! the charm was snapt.

  There rose a noise of striking clocks;

And feet that ran, and doors that clapt,          115

  And barking dogs, and crowing cocks;

A fuller light illumined all,

  A breeze thro’ all the garden swept,

A sudden hubbub shook the hall,

  And sixty feet the fountain leapt.          120




The hedge broke in, the banner blew,

  The butler drank, the steward scrawl’d,

The fire shot up, the martin flew,

  The parrot scream’d, the peacock squall’d,

The maid and page renew’d their strife,          125

  The palace bang’d, and buzz’d and clackt,

And all the long pent stream of life

  Dash’d downward in a cataract.




And last with these the king awoke,

  And in his chair himself uprear’d,          130

And yawn’d, and rubb’d his face, and spoke,

  ‘By holy rood, a royal beard!

How say you? we have slept, my lords.

  My beard has grown into my lap.’

The barons swore, with many words,          135

  ’Twas but an after-dinner’s nap.




‘Pardy,’ return’d the king, ‘but still

  My joints are something stiff or so.

My lord, and shall we pass the bill

  I mention’d half an hour ago?’          140

The chancellor, sedate and vain,

  In courteous words return’d reply:

But dallied with his golden chain,

  And, smiling, put the question by.



       The Departure.




And on her lover’s arm she leant,          145

  And round her waist she felt it fold,

And far across the hills they went

  In that new world which is the old:

Across the hills, and far away

  Beyond their utmost purple rim,          150

And deep into the dying day

  The happy princess follow’d him.




‘I’d sleep another hundred years,

  O love, for such another kiss;’

‘O wake for ever, love,’ she hears,          155

  ‘O love, ’twas such as this and this.’

And o’er them many a sliding star,

  And many a merry wind was borne,

And stream’d thro’ many a golden bar,

  The twilight melted into morn.          160




‘O eyes long laid in happy sleep!’

  ‘O happy sleep, that lightly fled!’

‘O happy kiss, that woke thy sleep!’

  ‘O love, thy kiss would wake the dead!’

And o’er them many a flowing range          165

  Of vapour buoy’d the crescent-bark,

And, rapt thro’ many a rosy change,

  The twilight died into the dark.




‘A hundred summers! can it be?

  And whither goest thou, tell me where?’          170

‘O seek my father’s court with me,

  For there are greater wonders there.’

And o’er the hills, and far away

  Beyond their utmost purple rim,

Beyond the night, across the day,          175

  Thro’ all the world she follow’d him.







So, Lady Flora, take my lay,

  And if you find no moral there,

Go, look in any glass and say,

  What moral is in being fair.          180

Oh, to what uses shall we put

  The wildweed-flower that simply blows?

And is there any moral shut

  Within the bosom of the rose?




But any man that walks the mead,          185

  In bud or blade, or bloom, may find,

According as his humours lead,

  A meaning suited to his mind.

And liberal applications lie

  In Art like Nature, dearest friend;          190

So ’twere to cramp its use, if I

  Should hook it to some useful end.



You ask me, why, tho’ ill at ease,

    Within this region I subsist,

    Whose spirits falter in the mist,

And languish for the purple seas.


It is the land that freemen till,          5

    That sober-suited Freedom chose,

    The land, where girt with friends or foes

A man may speak the thing he will;


A land of settled government,

    A land of just and old renown,          10

    Where freedom slowly broadens down

From precedent to precedent:


Where faction seldom gathers head,

    But by degrees to fullness wrought,

    The strength of some diffusive thought          15

Hath time and space to work and spread.


Should banded unions persecute

    Opinion, and induce a time

    When single thought is civil crime,

And individual freedom mute;          20


Tho’ Power should make from land to land

    The name of Britain trebly great—

    Tho’ every channel of the State

Should fill and choke with golden sand—


Yet waft me from the harbour-mouth,          25

    Wild wind! I seek a warmer sky,

    And I will see before I die

The palms and temples of the South.



Remote, unfriended, melancholy, slow,—

Or by the lazy Scheldt or wandering Po;

Or onward, where the rude Carinthian boor

Against the houseless stranger shuts the door;

Or where Campania’s plain forsaken lies,          5

A weary waste expanding to the skies;—

Where’er I roam, whatever realms to see,

My heart untravell’d fondly turns to thee;

Still to my brother turns, with ceaseless pain,

And drags at each remove a lengthening chain.          10


  Eternal blessings crown my earliest friend,

And round his dwelling guardian saints attend:

Blest be that spot, where cheerful guests retire

To pause from toil, and trim their evening fire;

Blest that abode, where want and pain repair,          15

And every stranger finds a ready chair;

Blest be those feasts with simple plenty crown’d,

Where all the ruddy family around

Laugh at the jests or pranks that never fail,

Or sigh with pity at some mournful tale,          20

Or press the bashful stranger to his food,

And learn the luxury of doing good.


  But me, not destin’d such delights to share,

My prime of life in wandering spent and care—

Impell’d, with steps unceasing, to pursue          25

Some fleeting good, that mocks me with the view,—

That, like the circle bounding earth and skies,

Allures from far, yet, as I follow, flies,—

My fortune leads to traverse realms alone,

And find no spot of all the world my own.          30

Ev’n now, where Alpine solitudes ascend,

I sit me down a pensive hour to spend;

And, plac’d on high above the storm’s career,

Look downward where an hundred realms appear:

Lakes, forests, cities, plains, extending wide,          35

The pomp of kings, the shepherd’s humbler pride.


  When thus creation’s charms around combine,

Amidst the store should thankless pride repine?

Say, should the philosophic mind disdain

That good which makes each humbler bosom vain?          40

Let school-taught pride dissemble all it can,

These little things are great to little man;

And wiser he, whose sympathetic mind

Exults in all the good of all mankind.

Ye glittering towns, with wealth and splendor crown’d,          45

Ye fields, where summer spreads profusion round,

Ye lakes, whose vessels catch the busy gale,

Ye bending swains, that dress the flowery vale;

For me your tributary stores combine;

Creation’s heir, the world—the world is mine!          50


  As some lone miser, visiting his store,

Bends at his treasure, counts, recounts it o’er;

Hoards after hoards his rising raptures fill,

Yet still he sighs, for hoards are wanting still:

Thus to my breast alternate passions rise,          55

Pleas’d with each good that Heaven to man supplies:

Yet oft a sigh prevails, and sorrows fall,

To see the hoard of human bliss so small;

And oft I wish, amidst the scene, to find

Some spot to real happiness consign’d,          60

Where my worn soul, each wandering hope at rest,

May gather bliss to see my fellows blest.


  But where to find that happiest spot below,

Who can direct, when all pretend to know?

The shuddering tenant of the frigid zone          65

Boldly proclaims that happiest spot his own;

Extols the treasures of his stormy seas,

And his long nights of revelry and ease;

The naked negro, panting at the line,

Boasts of his golden sands and palmy wine,          70

Basks in the glare, or stems the tepid wave,

And thanks his gods for all the good they gave.

Such is the patriot’s boast, where’er we roam;

His first, best country ever is at home.

And yet, perhaps, if countries we compare,          75

And estimate the blessings which they share,

Though patriots flatter, still shall wisdom find

An equal portion dealt to all mankind;

As different good, by art or nature given,

To different nations makes their blessings even.          80


  Nature, a mother kind alike to all,

Still grants her bliss at labour’s earnest call;

With food as well the peasant is supplied

On Idra’s cliffs as Arno’s shelvy side;

And, though the rocky-crested summits frown,          85

These rocks by custom turn to beds of down.

From art more various are the blessings sent:

Wealth, commerce, honour, liberty, content.

Yet these each other’s power so strong contest,

That either seems destructive of the rest.          90

Where wealth and freedom reign, contentment fails,

And honour sinks where commerce long prevails.

Hence every state, to one lov’d blessing prone,

Conforms and models life to that alone;

Each to the favourite happiness attends,          95

And spurns the plan that aims at other ends;

Till, carried to excess in each domain,

This favourite good begets peculiar pain.


  But let us try these truths with closer eyes,

And trace them through the prospect as it lies.          100

Here for a while, my proper cares resign’d,

Here let me sit in sorrow for mankind;

Like yon neglected shrub, at random cast,

That shades the steep, and sighs at every blast.


  Far to the right, where Apennine ascends,          105

Bright as the summer, Italy extends;

Its uplands sloping deck the mountain’s side,

Woods over woods in gay theatric pride;

While oft some temple’s mouldering tops between

With venerable grandeur mark the scene.          110


  Could nature’s bounty satisfy the breast,

The sons of Italy were surely blest.

Whatever fruits in different climes are found,

That proudly rise, or humbly court the ground;

Whatever blooms in torrid tracts appear,          115

Whose bright succession decks the varied year;

Whatever sweets salute the northern sky

With vernal lives, that blossom but to die;

These, here disporting, own the kindred soil,

Nor ask luxuriance from the planter’s toil;          120

While sea-born gales their gelid wings expand

To winnow fragrance round the smiling land.


  But small the bliss that sense alone bestows,

And sensual bliss is all this nation knows.

In florid beauty groves and fields appear,          125

Man seems the only growth that dwindles here.

Contrasted faults through all his manners reign:

Though poor, luxurious; though submissive, vain;

Though grave, yet trifling; zealous, yet untrue;

And even in penance planning sins anew.          130

All evils here contaminate the mind,

That opulence departed leaves behind;

For wealth was theirs, not far remov’d the date,

When commerce proudly flourished through the state.

At her command the palace learnt to rise,          135

Again the long-fallen column sought the skies;

The canvas glow’d beyond ev’n nature warm,

The pregnant quarry teem’d with human form;

Till, more unsteady than the southern gale,

Commerce on other shores display’d her sail;          140

While nought remain’d of all that riches gave,

But towns unmann’d, and lords without a slave:

And late the nation found, with fruitless skill,

Its former strength was but plethoric ill.


  Yet still the loss of wealth is here supplied          145

By arts, the splendid wrecks of former pride;

From these the feeble heart and long-fallen mind

An easy compensation seem to find.

Here may be seen, in bloodless pomp array’d,

The pasteboard triumph and the cavalcade;          150

Processions form’d for piety and love,

A mistress or a saint in every grove.

By sports like these are all their cares beguil’d,

The sports of children satisfy the child;

Each nobler aim, represt by long control,          155

Now sinks at last, or feebly mans the soul;

While low delights, succeeding fast behind,

In happier meanness occupy the mind.

As in those domes where Cæsars once bore sway,

Defac’d by time and tottering in decay,          160

There in the ruin, heedless of the dead,

The shelter-seeking peasant builds his shed;

And, wondering man could want the larger pile,

Exults, and owns his cottage with a smile.


  My soul, turn from them; turn we to survey          165

Where rougher climes a nobler race display;

Where the bleak Swiss their stormy mansion tread,

And force a churlish soil for scanty bread.

No product here the barren hills afford,

But man and steel, the soldier and his sword;          170

No vernal blooms their torpid rocks array,

But winter lingering chills the lap of May;

No zephyr fondly sues the mountain’s breast,

But meteors glare, and stormy glooms invest.


  Yet still, even here, content can spread a charm,          175

Redress the clime, and all its rage disarm.

Though poor the peasant’s hut, his feasts though small,

He sees his little lot the lot of all;

Sees no contiguous palace rear its head

To shame the meanness of his humble shed;          180

No costly lord the sumptuous banquet deal

To make him loathe his vegetable meal;

But calm, and bred in ignorance and toil,

Each wish contracting, fits him to the soil.

Cheerful, at morn, he wakes from short repose,          185

Breasts the keen air, and carols as he goes;

With patient angle trolls the finny deep,

Or drives his venturous plowshare to the steep;

Or seeks the den where snow-tracks mark the way,

And drags the struggling savage into day.          190

At night returning, every labour sped,

He sits him down, the monarch of a shed;

Smiles by his cheerful fire, and round surveys

His children’s looks, that brighten at the blaze,

While his lov’d partner, boastful of her hoard,          195

Displays her cleanly platter on the board;

And haply too some pilgrim, thither led,

With many a tale repays the nightly bed.


  Thus every good his native wilds impart,

Imprints the patriot passion on his heart;          200

And ev’n those hills that round his mansion rise

Enhance the bliss his scanty fund supplies.

Dear is that shed to which his soul conforms,

And dear that hill which lifts him to the storms:

And as a child, when scaring sounds molest,          205

Clings close and closer to the mother’s breast,

So the loud torrent and the whirlwind’s roar

But bind him to his native mountains more.


  Such are the charms to barren states assign’d:

Their wants but few, their wishes all confin’d.          210

Yet let them only share the praises due;

If few their wants, their pleasures are but few;

For every want that stimulates the breast

Becomes a source of pleasure when redrest.

Whence from such lands each pleasing science flies,          215

That first excites desire, and then supplies;

Unknown to them, when sensual pleasures cloy,

To fill the languid pause with finer joy;

Unknown those powers that raise the soul to flame

Catch every nerve, and vibrate through the frame:          220

Their level life is but a smouldering fire,

Unquench’d by want, unfann’d by strong desire;

Unfit for raptures, or, if raptures cheer

On some high festival of once a year,

In wild excess the vulgar breast takes fire,          225

Till, buried in debauch, the bliss expire.


  But not their joys alone thus coarsely flow;

Their morals, like their pleasures, are but low.

For, as refinement stops, from sire to son,

Unalter’d, unimprov’d, the manners run;          230

And love’s and friendship’s finely pointed dart

Fall blunted from each indurated heart.

Some sterner virtues o’er the mountain’s breast

May sit, like falcons cowering on the nest;

But all the gentler morals, such as play          235

Through life’s more cultur’d walks, and charm the way,—

These, far dispers’d, on timorous pinions fly,

To sport and flutter in a kinder sky.


  To kinder skies, where gentler manners reign,

I turn; and France displays her bright domain.          240

Gay, sprightly land of mirth and social ease,

Pleas’d with thyself, whom all the world can please,

How often have I led thy sportive choir,

With tuneless pipe, beside the murmuring Loire!

Where shading elms along the margin grew,          245

And freshen’d from the wave the zephyr flew;

And haply, though my harsh touch, faltering still,

But mock’d all tune, and marr’d the dancer’s skill,

Yet would the village praise my wondrous power,

And dance, forgetful of the noontide hour.          250

Alike all ages: dames of ancient days

Have led their children through the mirthful maze;

And the gay grandsire, skill’d in gestic lore,

Has frisk’d beneath the burthen of threescore.


  So blest a life these thoughtless realms display;          255

Thus idly busy rolls their world away.

Theirs are those arts that mind to mind endear,

For honour forms the social temper here:

Honour, that praise which real merit gains,

Or even imaginary worth obtains,          260

Here passes current; paid from hand to hand,

It shifts in splendid traffic round the land;

From courts, to camps, to cottages it strays,

And all are taught an avarice of praise.

They please, are pleas’d; they give to get esteem,          265

Till, seeming blest, they grow to what they seem.


  But while this softer art their bliss supplies,

It gives their follies also room to rise;

For praise too dearly lov’d, or warmly sought

Enfeebles all internal strength of thought:          270

And the weak soul, within itself unblest,

Leans for all pleasure on another’s breast.

Hence ostentation here, with tawdry art,

Pants for the vulgar praise which fools impart;

Here vanity assumes her pert grimace,          275

And trims her robes of frieze with copper lace;

Here beggar pride defrauds her daily cheer,

To boast one splendid banquet once a year:

The mind still turns where shifting fashion draws,

Nor weighs the solid worth of self-applause.          280


  To men of other minds my fancy flies,

Embosom’d in the deep where Holland lies.

Methinks her patient sons before me stand,

Where the broad ocean leans against the land,

And, sedulous to stop the coming tide,          285

Lift the tall rampire’s artificial pride.

Onward methinks, and diligently slow,

The firm connected bulwark seems to grow,

Spreads its long arms amidst the watery roar,

Scoops out an empire, and usurps the shore.          290

While the pent ocean, rising o’er the pile,

Sees an amphibious world beneath him smile:

The slow canal, the yellow-blossom’d vale,

The willow-tufted bank, the gliding sail,

The crowded mart, the cultivated plain,—          295

A new creation rescued from his reign.


  Thus, while around the wave-subjected soil

Impels the native to repeated toil,

Industrious habits in each bosom reign,

And industry begets a love of gain.          300

Hence all the good from opulence that springs,

With all those ills superfluous treasure brings,

Are here display’d. Their much lov’d wealth imparts

Convenience, plenty, elegance, and arts;

But, view them closer, craft and fraud appear;          305

Even liberty itself is bartered here.

At gold’s superior charms all freedom flies;

The needy sell it, and the rich man buys.

A land of tyrants, and a den of slaves,

Here wretches seek dishonorable graves,          310

And calmly bent, to servitude conform,

Dull as their lakes that slumber in the storm.


  Heavens! how unlike their Belgic sires of old—

Rough, poor, content, ungovernably bold;

War in each breast, and freedom on each brow;          315

How much unlike the sons of Britain now!


  Fir’d at the sound, my genius spreads her wing,

And flies where Britain courts the western spring,

Where lawns extend that scorn Arcadian pride,

And brighter streams than fam’d Hydaspes glide.          320

There all around the gentlest breezes stray,

There gentle music melts on every spray;

Creation’s mildest charms are there combin’d:

Extremes are only in the master’s mind!

Stern o’er each bosom reason holds her state,          325

With daring aims irregularly great;

Pride in their port, defiance in their eye,

I see the lords of human kind pass by;

Intent on high designs, a thoughtful band,

By forms unfashion’d, fresh from Nature’s hand,          330

Fierce in their native hardiness of soul,

True to imagin’d right, above control;

While e’en the peasant boasts these rights to scan,

And learns to venerate himself as man.


  Thine, Freedom, thine the blessings pictur’d here,          335

Thine are those charms that dazzle and endear;

Too blest, indeed, were such without alloy;

But, foster’d e’en by freedom, ills annoy.

That independence Britons prize too high

Keeps man from man, and breaks the social tie;          340

The self-dependent lordlings stand alone,

All claims that bind and sweeten life unknown.

Here, by the bonds of nature feebly held,

Minds combat minds, repelling and repell’d;

Ferments arise, imprison’d factions roar,          345

Represt ambition struggles round her shore;

Till, over-wrought, the general system feels

Its motions stop, or frenzy fire the wheels.


  Nor this the worst. As nature’s ties decay,

As duty, love, and honour fail to sway,          350

Fictitious bonds, the bonds of wealth and law,

Still gather strength, and force unwilling awe.

Hence all obedience bows to these alone,

And talent sinks, and merit weeps unknown;

Till time may come, when, stript of all her charms,          355

The land of scholars, and the nurse of arms,

Where noble stems transmit the patriot flame,

Where kings have toil’d and poets wrote for fame,

One sink of level avarice shall lie,

And scholars, soldiers, kings, unhonour’d die.          360


  Yet think not, thus when Freedom’s ills I state,

I mean to flatter kings, or court the great:

Ye powers of truth, that bid my soul aspire,

Far from my bosom drive the low desire;

And thou, fair Freedom, taught alike to feel          365

The rabble’s rage, and tyrant’s angry steel;

Thou transitory flower, alike undone

By proud contempt, or favour’s fostering sun,

Still may thy blooms the changeful clime endure!

I only would repress them to secure:          370

For just experience tells in every soil,

That those who think must govern those who toil;

And all that Freedom’s highest aims can reach,

Is but to lay proportion’d loads on each.

Hence, should one order disproportioned grow,          375

Its double weight must ruin all below.


  Oh, then how blind to all that truth requires,

Who think it freedom when a part aspires!

Calm is my soul, nor apt to rise in arms,

Except when fast approaching danger warms:          380

But when contending chiefs blockade the throne,

Contracting regal power to stretch their own;

When I behold a factious band agree

To call it freedom when themselves are free;

Each wanton judge new penal statutes draw,          385

Laws grind the poor, and rich men rule the law;

The wealth of climes where savage nations roam,

Pillag’d from slaves to purchase slaves at home;

Fear, pity, justice, indignation, start,

Tear off reserve, and bare my swelling heart;          390

Till, half a patriot, half a coward grown,

I fly from petty tyrants to the throne.


  Yes, brother, curse with me that baleful hour,

When first ambition struck at regal power,

And thus polluting honour in its source,          395

Gave wealth to sway the mind with double force.

Have we not seen, round Britain’s peopled shore,

Her useful sons exchang’d for useless ore?

Seen all her triumphs but destruction haste,

Like flaring tapers brightening as they waste,          400

Seen opulence, her grandeur to maintain,

Lead stern depopulation in her train,

And over fields where scatter’d hamlets rose,

In barren, solitary pomp repose?

Have we not seen, at pleasure’s lordly call,          405

The smiling, long frequented village fall?

Behold the duteous son, the sire decay’d,

The modest matron, and the blushing maid,

Forc’d from their homes, a melancholy train,

To traverse climes beyond the western main;          410

Where wild Oswego spreads her swamps around,

And Niagara stuns with thundering sound?


  Even now, perhaps, as there some pilgrim strays

Through tangled forests, and through dangerous ways,

Where beasts with man divided empire claim,          415

And the brown Indian marks with murderous aim;

There, while above the giddy tempest flies,

And all around distressful yells arise,

The pensive exile, bending with his woe,

To stop too fearful, and too faint to go,          420

Casts a long look where England’s glories shine,

And bids his bosom sympathize with mine.


  Vain, very vain, my weary search to find

That bliss which only centres in the mind:

Why have I stray’d from pleasure and repose,          425

To seek a good each government bestows?

In every government, though terrors reign,

Though tyrant kings or tyrant laws restrain,

How small, of all that human hearts endure,

That part which laws or kings can cause or cure?          430

Still to ourselves in every place consign’d,

Our own felicity we make or find:

With secret course, which no loud storms annoy

Glides the smooth current of domestic joy.

The lifted axe, the agonizing wheel,          435

Luke’s iron crown, and Damiens’ bed of steel,

To men remote from power but rarely known,

Leave reason, faith, and conscience, all our own.



Nobly, nobly Cape Saint Vincent to the north-west died away;

Sunset ran, one glorious blood-red, reeking into Cadiz Bay;

Bluish mid the burning water, full in face Trafalgar lay;

In the dimmest north-east distance, dawned Gibraltar grand and gray;

“Here and here did England help me—how can I help England?”—say,          5

Whoso turns as I, this evening, turn to God to praise and pray,

While Jove’s planet rises yonder, silent over Africa.





It was roses, roses, all the way,

  With myrtle mixed in my path like mad,

The house-roofs seemed to heave and sway,

  The church-spires flamed, such flags they had,

A year ago on this very day!          5





The air broke into a mist with bells,

  The old walls rocked with the crowds and cries,

Had I said, “Good folk, mere noise repels—

  But give me your sun from yonder skies!”

They had answered, “And afterward, what else?”          10





Alack, it was I who leaped at the sun,

  To give it my loving friends to keep.

Nought man could do have I left undone,

  And you see my harvest, what I reap

This very day, now a year is run.          15





There’s nobody on the house-tops now—

  Just a palsied few at the windows set—

For the best of the sight is, all allow,

  At the Shambles’ Gate—or, better yet,

By the very scaffold’s foot, I trow.          20





I go in the rain, and, more than needs,

  A rope cuts both my wrists behind,

And I think, by the feel, my forehead bleeds,

  For they fling, whoever has a mind,

Stones at me for my year’s misdeeds.          25





Thus I entered, and thus I go!

  In triumphs, people have dropped down dead;

“Thou, paid by the world,—what dost thou owe

  Me?” God might question: now instead

’Tis God shall repay! I am safer so.          30



Where the quiet-coloured end of evening smiles

        Miles and miles

On the solitary pastures where our sheep


Tinkle homeward through the twilight, stray or stop          5

        As they crop—

Was the site once of a city great and gay,

        (So they say)

Of our country’s very capital, its prince

        Ages since          10

Held his court in, gathered councils, wielding far

        Peace or war.


Now—the country does not even boast a tree,

        As you see,

To distinguish slopes of verdure, certain rills          15

        From the hills

Intersect and give a name to, (else they run

        Into one,)

Where the domed and daring palace shot its spires

        Up like fires          20

O’er the hundred-gated circuit of a wall

        Bounding all,

Made of marble, men might march on nor be pressed

        Twelve abreast.


And such plenty and perfection, see, of grass          25

        Never was!

Such a carpet as, this summer-time, o’erspreads

        And embeds

Every vestige of the city, guessed alone,

        Stock or stone—          30

Where a multitude of men breathed joy and woe

        Long ago;

Lust of glory pricked their hearts up, dread of shame

        Struck them tame;

And that glory and that shame alike, the gold          35

        Bought and sold.


Now,—the single little turret that remains

        On the plains,

By the caper overrooted, by the gourd

        Overscored,          40

While the patching houseleek’s head of blossom winks

        Through the chinks—

Marks the basement whence a tower in ancient time

        Sprang sublime,

And a burning ring, all around, the chariots traced          45

        As they raced,

And the monarch and his minions and his dames

        Viewed the games.


And I know, while thus the quiet-coloured eve

        Smiles to leave          50

To their folding, all our many-tinkling fleece

        In such peace,

And the slopes and rills in undistinguished gray

        Melt away—

That a girl with eager eyes and yellow hair          55

        Waits me there

In the turret whence the charioteers caught soul

        For the goal,

When the king looked, where she looks now, breathless, dumb

        Till I come.          60


But he looked upon the city, every side,

        Far and wide,

All the mountains topped with temples, all the glades’


All the causeys, bridges, aqueducts,—and then,          65

        All the men!

When I do come she will speak not, she will stand,

        Either hand

On my shoulder, give her eyes the first embrace

        Of my face,          70

Ere we rush, ere we extinguish sight and speech

        Each on each.


In one year they sent a million fighters forth

        South and North,

And they built their gods a brazen pillar high          75

        As the sky,

Yet reserved a thousand chariots in full force—

        Gold, of course.

Oh heart! oh blood that freezes, blood that burns!

        Earth’s returns          80

For whole centuries of folly, noise and sin!

        Shut them in,

With their triumphs and their glories and the rest!

        Love is best.





The isles of Greece, the isles of Greece!

  Where burning Sappho loved and sung,

Where grew the arts of war and peace,—

  Where Delos rose and Phœbus sprung!

Eternal summer gilds them yet,          5

But all, except their sun, is set.





The Scian and the Teian muse,

  The hero’s harp, the lover’s lute,

Have found the fame your shores refuse;

  Their place of birth alone is mute          10

To sounds which echo further west

Than your sires’ “Islands of the Blest.”





The mountains look on Marathon—

  And Marathon looks on the sea;

And musing there an hour alone,          15

  I dream’d that Greece might still be free;

For standing on the Persians’ grave,

I could not deem myself a slave.





A king sate on the rocky brow

  Which looks o’er sea-born Salamis;          20

And ships, by thousands, lay below,

  And men in nations;—all were his!

He counted them at break of day—

And when the sun set, where were they?





And where are they? and where art thou          25

  My country? On thy voiceless shore

The heroic lay is tuneless now—

  The heroic bosom beats no more!

And must thy lyre, so long divine,

Degenerate into hands like mine?          30





’Tis something, in the dearth of fame,

  Though link’d among a fetter’d race,

To feel at least a patriot’s shame,

  Even as I sing, suffuse my face;

For what is left the poet here?          35

For Greeks a blush—for Greece a tear.





Must we but weep o’er days more blest?

  Must we but blush?—Our fathers bled.

Earth! render back from out thy breast

  A remnant of our Spartan dead!          40

Of the three hundred grant but three,

To make a new Thermopylæ!





What, silent still? and silent all?

  Ah! no;—the voices of the dead

Sound like a distant torrent’s fall,          45

  And answer, “Let one living head,

But one arise—we come, we come!”

’Tis but the living who are dumb.





In vain—in vain; strike other chords;

  Fill high the cup with Samian wine!          50

Leave battles to the Turkish hordes,

  And shed the blood of Scio’s vine!

Hark! rising to the ignoble call—

How answers each bold Bacchanal!





You have the Pyrrhic dance as yet,          55

  Where is the Pyrrhic phalanx gone?

Of two such lessons why forget

  The nobler and the manlier one?

You have the letters Cadmus gave—

Think ye he meant them for a slave?          60





Fill high the bowl with Samian wine!

  We will not think of themes like these!

It made Anacreon’s song divine:

  He served—but served Polycrates—

A tyrant; but our masters then          65

Were still, at least, our countrymen.





The tyrant of the Cheronese

  Was freedom’s best and bravest friend;

That tyrant was Miltiades!

  Oh! that the present hour would lend          70

Another despot of the kind!

Such chains as his were sure to bind.





Fill high the bowl with Samian wine!

  On Suli’s rock, and Parga’s shore

Exists the remnant of a line          75

  Such as the Doric mothers bore;

And there, perhaps, some seed is sown,

The Heracleidan blood might own.





Trust not for freedom to the Franks—

  They have a king who buys and sells;          80

In native swords, and native ranks,

  The only hope of courage dwells;

But Turkish force, and Latin fraud,

Would break your shield, however broad.





Fill high the bowl with Samian wine!          85

  Our virgins dance beneath the shade—

I see their glorious black eyes shine;

  But gazing on each glowing maid,

Mine own the burning tear-drop laves,

To think such breasts must suckle slaves.          90





Place me on Sunium’s marbled steep,

  Where nothing, save the waves and I,

May hear our mutual murmurs sweep;

  There, swan-like, let me sing and die:

A land of slaves shall ne’er be mine—          95

Dash down yon cup of Samian wine!



As ships, becalm’d at eve, that lay

  With canvas drooping, side by side,

Two towers of sail at dawn of day

  Are scarce long leagues apart descried;


When fell the night, upsprung the breeze,          5

  And all the darkling hours they plied,

Nor dreamt but each the self-same seas

  By each was cleaving, side by side:


E’en so—but why the tale reveal

  Of those, whom year by year unchanged,          10

Brief absence join’d anew to feel,

  Astounded, soul from soul estranged?


At dead of night their sails were fill’d,

  And onward each rejoicing steer’d—

Ah, neither blame, for neither will’d,          15

  Or wist, what first with dawn appear’d!


To veer, how vain! On, onward strain,

  Brave barks! In light, in darkness too,

Through winds and tides one compass guides

  To that, and your own selves, be true.          20


But O blithe breeze! and O great seas,

  Though ne’er, that earliest parting past,

On your wide plain they join again,

  Together lead them home at last.


One port, methought, alike they sought,          25

  One purpose hold where’er they fare,—

O bounding breeze, O rushing seas!

  At last, at last, unite them there.



This is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign,

            Sails the unshadowed main,—

            The venturous bark that flings

On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings

In gulfs enchanted, where the Siren sings,          5

            And coral reefs lie bare,

Where the cold sea-maids rise to sun their streaming hair.


Its webs of living gauze no more unfurl;

            Wrecked is the ship of pearl!

            And every chambered cell,          10

Where its dim dreaming life was wont to dwell,

As the frail tenant shaped his growing shell,

            Before thee lies revealed—

Its irised ceiling rent, its sunless crypt unsealed!


Year after year beheld the silent toil          15

            That spread his lustrous coil;

            Still, as the spiral grew,

He left the past year’s dwelling for the new,

Stole with soft step its shining archway through,

            Built up its idle door,          20

Stretched in his last-found home and knew the old no more.


Thanks for the heavenly message brought by thee,

            Child of the wandering sea,

            Cast from her lap forlorn!

From thy dead lips a clearer note is born          25

Than ever Triton blew from wreathèd horn!

            While on mine ear it rings,

Through the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that sings:—


Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul.

            As the swift seasons roll!          30

            Leave thy low-vaulted past!

Let each new temple, nobler than the last,

Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,

            Till thou at length art free,

Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea!          35


Prescribed by the Department of Education, in the Province of Ontario.


(Extract from Circular 58).


Junior Public School Diploma.


The High School Reader.

   The Knights’ Chorus, p. 70; The Evening Wind, p. 93; The Return of the Swallows, p. 111; The Eternal Goodness, p. 118; Sir Galahad, p. 182; On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer, p. 189; A Wood Lyric, p. 191.


Narrative and Lyric Poems.

   Gray: Elegy, written in a Country Churchyard; Mrs. Browning: My Kate; Tennyson: Morte d’Arthur, ll. 113-142, “Then spoke King Arthur breathing heavily. . . so flashed and fell the brand Excalibur,” ll. 240-255, “The old order changeth. . . about the feet of God.”


Senior Public School Diploma, Senior High School Entrance,

and Entrance into the Model Schools.


Narrative and Lyric Poems.

   Home-Thoughts, from the Sea; “As Ships, Becalm’d—”; The Chambered Nautilus; “You Ask me, Why—”; Enid’s song, “Turn, Fortune, turn thy Wheel”—four stanzas; Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington, Parts VII and VIII; The Traveller, ll. 63-98, “But where to find. . . peculiar pain” and ll. 423-438, “Vain, very vain. . . all our own.”

The Merchant of Venice.

Act I, Sc. 1, ll. 79-99.Gratiano:Let me play . . . their brothers fools.
Act I, Sc. 2, ll. 13-22.Portia:If to do . . . the cripple.
Act II, Sc. 9, ll. 21-49.Arragon:Who chooseth me . . . new-varnished.
Act IV, Sc. 1, ll. 184-202.Portia:The quality of mercy . . . deeds of mercy.
Act V, Sc. 1, ll. 54-65.Lorenzo:How sweet . . . cannot hear it.
Act V, Sc. 1, ll. 83-88.Lorenzo:The man that hath no music . . . trusted.



   Published in 1864.

2. Evidently a stream comes down through the chasm and the wide mouth of the stream forms a harbour. See line 690.

3. Beyond. At one side of the harbour.

red roofs. Roofs covered with red tile.

6. down. A bare sandy hill.

7. Danish barrows. Burial mounds supposed to date back to the time of the Danes.

16. lumber. Waste material; clumsy, useless articles.

17. swarthy. Black or brown in colour.

18. fluke. The hook or wing of the anchor.

25-6. A suggestion of what is to take place later in the lives of these three.

38. The stronger passions of youth.

63. great and small. Old and young.

67. prone. Sloping down precipitously.

68. To feather. The wood was denser in the hollow (see line 444), than along the upper edges of the slope.

84-8. Enoch Arden was “a rough sailor lad” without education; and Tennyson throughout the poem tries to soften down the prosaic features of his life and to picture him as a man with nobler impulses and resolves.

92-100. An effort to dress up in more attractive form the prosaic fact that Enoch made his living by peddling fish.

93. ocean-spoil. Fish.

94. ocean-smelling osier. Willow baskets having an odour of the sea.

96. market-cross. In old days crosses were frequently erected in market places.

98. portal-warding lion-whelp. The carved figure of a lion placed over the gateway as if to guard the entrance.

99. peacock-yewtree. A yewtree trimmed in the form of a peacock. The yewtree is an evergreen.

100. Enoch provided the fish which were used on Friday.

110. He had competition in his trade.

128-31. A little cloud sometimes throws the sea into shadow around you, but away on the horizon you see a bright spot (an isle of light) on the water, which shows that the sun is shining there. So with Enoch. His misfortune was a shadow on his life, but the future was bright and he knew that the little cloud would pass away.

the offing. The part of the sea that lies some distance off the shore.

154. Appraised. Judged.

168. his old sea-friend. His boat.

172-81. Analyse grammatically.

184. Save as his Annie’s. He laughed at the fears themselves, but was grieved that she should be troubled by fears.

186-7. that mystery, etc. In prayer the divine side of man’s nature comes into communion with the human sympathy of God’s nature.

196. Nay. He sees that Annie does not like his words of seeming disparagement.

212-3. Are these prophecies fulfilled?

222-6. Most of these phrases are taken from the Bible.

235-6. See lines 892-901.

248. chime with. Agree with; to carry out his wishes.

253. still. Always.

266. who best could tell. The physician.

286. passion. What is the predicate?

329. garth. Garden.

340. conies. Rabbits.

342. the offence of charitable. The offence of appearing to give charity.

379. whitening. Showing the light underside of the leaves as the children plunged through the bushes.

382. tawny. Yellowish-brown in colour.

414. fast my wife. Bound to me as my wife.

441. dead flame. The sun was no longer shining brightly on the barrow.

473. Annoyed that their calculations as to the marriage of Philip and Annie had not come true.

493. She had prayed for a sign, but the expectation that some sign might be sent filled her with terror and she could not endure it.

498. “And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah.”—Judges iv., 5.

504. Malachi iv., 2.

505-6. Mark xi., 8-10.

510. So. If.

529. the Biscay. The Bay of Biscay.

531. the summer of the world. The tropics.

532. the Cape. The Cape of Good Hope.

536. the golden isles. The East Indies.

542. sea-circle. The circle of which the horizon formed the boundary. This circle was constantly changing with the progress of the vessel.

543. full-busted figurehead. It was the custom to have a carved figure or bust, generally the image of the Virgin, at the prow of the vessel.

557. so wild that it was tame. Never having seen human beings, they had not learned to fear them.

569. Fire-hollowing. Burning out the centre with fire.

571. God’s warning. God’s warning that he could not help himself, that he could only wait for help to come.

572. lawns. Open grassy spaces in the woods.

573. glades. Narrower spaces than lawns.

579. broad belt. The torrid zone.

586. zenith. The point in the heavens which is directly overhead.

597. globed. Suggests larger and more brilliant stars.

598. hollower. Because of the silence of the night.

602-605. Either the spirit of the old friends and scenes came to him, or his spirit went out to them. Two ways of saying the same thing—that there came before his mind the vague images of former scenes.

many phantoms. Many images went to make up the day dream.

610. dewy-glooming. Looking darker in the early morning because covered with dew.

615. A suggestion that in some mysterious way the sound of the marriage bells of Annie and Philip was borne to him.

633. silent. They were so far from the island that they could not hear the sound of the waterfall.

640. rage. Because he could not make himself understood.

642. sweet water. Fresh water.

653. county. This word was changed to “country” in a later edition.

659. down thro’ all his blood. He breathed deeply of the air he loved.

661. ghostly wall. The white chalk cliffs of southern England.

670-2. Through both gorges there came up a mist from the sea. See lines 102-3.

675. holt. Woodland.

tilth. Tilled ground.

679. Why does the poet represent Enoch as returning in the thick mist rather than in the bright sunshine?

688. A bill of sale. A notice that the house was for sale.

690. pool. Harbour.

692. timber-crost antiquity. Built in the old style, with the timbers showing on the outside,—the spaces between being filled in with plaster.

737. shingle. Gravel.

793. tranced. A trance is any state in which the bodily functions are for the time suspended. Here Enoch is in a half-swoon.

797. burthen. A refrain or chorus. Strictly speaking, the word signifies the bass accompaniment or undersong.

801-4. Just as fresh water from a spring in the ocean rises through the salt water and keeps alive the mariner who drinks of it; so prayer springing out of his resolve (will) never to let her know came up through the bitterness of his life and “kept him a living soul.”

807. enow. Enough.

829. The lower edges of the cloud or mist which the wind lifts.

910. “The calling of the sea is a term used, I believe, chiefly in the western parts of England, to signify a ground swell. When this occurs on a windless night, the echo of it rings through the timbers of the old houses in a haven.” (Tennyson.) A ground-swell is a heavy swell due to a violent gale. It is often felt for some days afterwards and on shores which are far distant from the scene of the storm.


   Published in 1842.

   Morte D’Arthur (The Death of Arthur) is a story of King Arthur and The Round Table, based on the legend entitled Morte D’Arthur, which was written by Malory, an English writer of the sixteenth century. King Arthur was a mythical king of the Britons who was supposed to have lived and reigned in the sixth century, and to have united the Britons against the Saxon invaders. According to legend he established a famous order of knighthood known as The Order of The Round Table, so called because of the famous round table, presented to King Arthur by a British king, and capable of seating one hundred and fifty knights. In the course of time the knights of the Round Table became corrupt and forgot their vows, and, led by Modred, the king’s nephew, a number of them rose in rebellion against the king. King Arthur with those knights who remained loyal to him, drove the army of Modred step by step back into Cornwall and beyond it into the land of Lyonnesse, which was said to have extended from Cornwall to the Scilly Isles, but which has since been submerged by the sea. Here in this waste land a great battle was fought, in which the knights on both sides were killed, until at last only King Arthur and his faithful knight Sir Bedivere remained.

5. In his fight with Modred, whom he slew, King Arthur had himself received his death wound.

9. chancel. The part of the church set apart for the altar and the choir.

12. water. Lake.

14. The sequel of to-day. The outcome of to-day’s fight.

21. Camelot. The mythical capital of King Arthur’s kingdom, situated somewhere in the west of England. Malory identifies it with the city of Winchester.

23. Merlin. A magician and seer of King Arthur’s court.

27. Excalibur. The name signifies “cut-steel.”

31. samite. A rich silk stuff, interwoven with threads of gold and silver.

mystic. Having a secret religious significance.

37. middle mere. Middle of the lake.

38. lightly. Quickly, nimbly.

43. hest. Behest, command.

45. shrine. See lines 8 and 9.

46. athwart. Across.

56. haft. Handle.

57. topaz. A rich gem, generally of a yellowish colour.

jacinth. Another form of the word “hyacinth”; a gem of a red colour.

58. subtlest jewellery. Most cunning workmanship.

60. Looking swiftly now on one side of the question, now on the other.

63. many-knotted water-flags. The common iris, growing in tangled confusion. Or “many-knotted” may refer to the joints in the stalk.

74-5. as beseem’d thy fealty. As became thy loyalty.

80. lief. Beloved.

86. chased. Engraved with an inlaid pattern.

94. Obedience is what binds the subject to the ruler.

99. empty breath. Idle words.

102. joust (pronounced just). A tilt-at-arms, a tournament.

104. the lonely maiden of the Lake. A mystical being who dwelt in a wonderful cave in a rock within a lake. In the story of the Round Table she symbolizes religion.

110. clouded with his own conceit. His idea that the sword should be preserved as a relic prevented him from clearly seeing his duty.

conceit. A quaint fancy.

121-3. The dying king loses his authority because he has lost the ability to control the will of his subjects by “the power in his eye.”

125. In whom the services of all my knights should be combined.

128. giddy. Light, frivolous.

139. a streamer of the northern morn. A trail of light from the Aurora Borealis (literally “The Northern Dawn”).

140. the moving isles of winter. Icebergs.

170. As in a picture. With no change in the expression.

171. Remorsefully. With pity.

177. nightmare. A dream accompanied by a sensation of stifling. Mare is derived from a verb meaning to crush, to bruise.

182. Clothed with his breath. Enveloped in the vapour from his breath which condensed and congealed.

185. His own thought. His remorse for having deceived the king.

186. Dry clashed his harness. The echo of the sound of his armour was harsh.

193. hove. Past tense of heave, to rise. A vessel heaves in sight when it rises over the horizon.

194. scarf. Drapery.

197. Black-stoled. With long black robes reaching to the feet.

like a dream. The scene had an appearance of unreality.

198. Three Queens. Malory speaks of the three Queens as being King Arthur’s sister, Morgan le Fay; the Queen of Northgales (Wales); and the Lady of the Lake. On the symbolic side, however, they represent Faith, Hope and Charity.

199. that shivered to the tingling stars. So shrill that even the stars tingled at the sound.

207. she. Charity.

209. casque. Helmet.

213-4. The waning moon which looks pale in the bright morning sunshine.

215-6. greaves and cuisses. Armour for the shins and thighs.

dash’d with drops of onset. Splash’d with stains of the battle.

218. daïs-throne. The daïs was the raised part of the hall; a platform.

222. in rest. On the right side of the coat of mail was a projection to support the lance when not in use.

224. lists. The enclosed ground in which the combats took place.

230. a noble chance. A chance to do some noble deed.

232-3. The star that led the Wise Men to Bethlehem. (See Matthew ii., 7-11.)

240. If old customs and institutions are changing it is only because new and better ones are taking their place.

241-2. It is in accordance with God’s purpose and his nature that the world should grow better. Changes are necessary, since even a good custom will at length degenerate and become corrupt.

243. what comfort is in me? I cannot comfort you.

251. a blind life. A life without the power of reason.

255. gold chains. There existed an old fancy that the earth was suspended from Heaven by a golden chain. Here, each prayer is a chain binding earth to Heaven.

259. Avilion. A mythical island in the western ocean, in Celtic legend the abode of the blessed after death.

263. crown’d with summer sea. Surrounded by the sea, as the head is encircled by a crown.

267. The belief existed that the swan sang sweetly before her death.

268. Ruffles. Spreads out her feathers.

269. swarthy web. Dark webbed feet.

271. Note that even when the barge bearing King Arthur, who represented “the old order” of things, was disappearing, a new day, with a new order of things, was already dawning.


   The story of The Prisoner of Chillon is founded on certain events in the life of Francis Bonnivard, a Swiss patriot, who was imprisoned in the Fortress of Chillon for six years. Bonnivard was born in 1496. He belonged to a noble family, and inherited a rich priory near Geneva. When the republic was attacked in 1519 by Charles III Duke of Savoy, Bonnivard came to its defence. After many adventures he was taken prisoner by the Duke in 1530, and consigned to the dungeon of Chillon. He was liberated in 1536 when the castle fell into the hands of the Swiss patriots. From this time until his death in 1571 he was prominent in the affairs of the republic.

   Byron wrote this poem in 1816, a few days after visiting Chillon. At that time he was not familiar with the true facts in the life of Bonnivard and his story contains numerous details which have no foundation in reality.

   The castle of Chillon is situated on a rock in Lake Geneva, and is connected with the mainland by a bridge. It was built in 1218, and served both as a fortress and a prison.

11. Bonnivard was imprisoned for political reasons, not on account of his religion.

14. tenets. Beliefs.

25. Not historically true. Francis Bonnivard was the only one of his family who was imprisoned in Chillon.

27. seven pillars. In reality there are eight, one of which is partly built into the wall.

Gothic. A style of architecture introduced during the Middle Ages. Among other characteristics it was marked by high pointed windows and clustered pillars.

35. a marsh’s meteor lamp. The Will o’ the Wisp,—luminous gases rising from the marsh.

38. cankering. Corroding.

52. But. Except.

livid. Leaden coloured; literally, black and blue.

57. the pure elements of earth. Such as pure water and sunlight.

84. sleepless summer. With no night to mark the hours for sleep.

85. The light shining on the snow is personified as the child of the sun, clad in white.

95. had stood. Past subjunctive.

105. a gulf. An abyss.

107. Lake Leman. The Roman name for Lake Geneva.

108. The greatest depth of the lake is 1056 ft.

112. enthrals. Encompasses; holds captive.

121. wanton. Literally, without restraint; hence, playful.

131. had little care. Did not mind it.

138. these. The water and the bread.

141. had grown cold. Past subjunctive.

148. gnash. Literally, to strike or grind together. Does Byron mean this?

153. corse. Corpse; a poetical form of the word.

172-3. He had shown thus far a high spirit, whether natural to him, or something seemingly inspired.

181. The face swollen and working convulsively in the struggle for life.

208. admonished. Reproved. The knowledge that it was hopeless did not prevent his fear.

214. dungeon-dew. The dampness of the dungeon.

230. a selfish death. Suicide.

237. scarce conscious what I wist. Scarcely conscious of what I knew. Conscious is an appositive, not a predicate adjective. The line following is the completion of was.

wist. See High School Grammar, page 176.

238. Quite shut off from everything else.

243. He saw nothing. Vacancy absorbed all space.

244. fixedness, without a place. His attention was not fixed on any definite thing; but yet his mind stood still, was inactive.

247-8. His breath was almost motionless. He seemed to have no life, yet was not dead.

249-50. He compares his mind in this state of trance to a stagnant sea, without light, limit, sound or movement.

256. Ran over. Shed tears.

257-8. Because filled with tears.

281. thine. Thy captivity.

284. Distinguish visitant and visitor.

317. fell blind. Became suddenly blind.

327. had made. Past subjunctive.

330. the mountains. The Alps.

335. wide long lake. Lake Geneva is about forty-five miles long and its greatest width is about nine miles.

336. Rhone. Where it enters Lake Geneva.

339. town. Vevay or Villeneuve, about six miles distant.

341. a little isle. Byron in a note speaks of this small island as between the entrances of the Rhone and the Villeneuve.

354. Methought. See High School Grammar, page 272.

364. too much oppressed. By the brightness of the world outside at which he had been looking.

368. no hope my eyes to raise. No hope, which would make me raise my eyes.

369. their dreary mote. Their dulness. A mote is a particle of dust.

378. a hermitage. A hermit’s cave or cell; a retreat.

382. sullen. Gloomy.

390. communion. Association with our surroundings.


   First published in 1751.

   An Elegy is a poem or song expressing the writer’s feelings of sorrow or mourning. The churchyard referred to in the poem is that of Stoke Pogis in Buckinghamshire, where Gray’s mother lived during the latter part of her life. Gray is buried in this churchyard.

9. yonder ivy-mantled tower. The tower of the village church at Stoke Poges.

13. that yew-tree’s shade. It has been suggested that this should read, “that yew-trees shade,” because the yew is not a large tree. In that case the meaning would be “those rugged elms that shade the yew-trees of the churchyard.”

16. rude. Lacking refinement, unpolished.

17. incense-breathing. Breathing fragrance.

26. glebe. Sod, turf.

29. Ambition. Ambitious people. Such personification is frequent throughout the poem.

33. The boast of heraldry. The pride of lineage or family descent. Heraldry was the science that dealt with armorial bearings; and a family who were versed in heraldry and knew the meaning and history of their coat-of-arms might be in a position to boast of their lineage.

38. trophies. Memorials to commemorate their great deeds.

39. fretted vault. The arched ceiling ornamented with fretwork.

41. storied urn. A vessel containing the ashes of the dead, and inscribed with a record of his virtues.

animated bust. A life-like image.

43. provoke. Call forth.

41-44. What is the use of such trophies? they cannot bring the dead back to life, and neither honour nor flattery can appeal to those who are dead.

46. pregnant with celestial fire. Filled with the poetic spirit.

48. the living lyre. The musical instrument seeming almost as if it had life.

51. Their poetic fervour (rage) was repressed by poverty.

52. the genial current of their soul. The flow of their finer feelings and emotions.

58. The little tyrant of his fields. The landowner who attempted to tyrannize over him.

60. guiltless of his country’s blood. The general opinion held of Cromwell in the eighteenth century was that he was a cruel tyrant who was “guilty of his country’s blood.” The village Cromwell is guiltless because he has had no opportunity to act the part of a real Cromwell.

61. senates. Assemblies.

64. In the gratitude of the nation they saw the results of their own efforts.

65-72. If their humble lot prevented the development of their best qualities, it also limited their opportunity for doing wrong. It prevented them from becoming tyrannical, from telling what is false, from having to conceal their feelings of shame, and from accepting the flattery which poets too often bestow upon their proud and wealthy patrons.

70. ingenuous. Without artifice, frank, open-hearted.

73. This line is adjectival to the pronoun they implied in their.

madding. Maddening, distracting.

76. tenour. Course.

78. still. Always, in all cases.

81. unlettered. Uneducated.

87. the warm precincts of the cheerful day. The warm bright earth.

precincts. Limits, boundaries.

88. nor cast. Without casting.

90. pious drops. Tears which are due to the dying (Lat. pius, dutiful). It soothes the dying to know that some-one is weeping for their loss.

91. Even the dead seem to cry out for remembrance.

93. thee. The poet is addressing himself.

94. artless. Simple, without deceit.

97. Haply. Perhaps. Swain. Country man, rustic.

105. smiling. Modifies he, l. 106.

108. Or . . or. Either . . or, a poetical form.

123. Science. Knowledge, in the wide sense of the word.

126-8. His merits and his weaknesses are both alike left in the hands of God.

dread abode. Explained by the last line, which is in apposition.

trembling. With fear or anxiety.


2-3. These women having nothing but their beauty to commend them are forgotten in the long course of life.

sunshine and snow. With complexion rosy and white. Notice how this metaphor is continued through lines 3 and 4.

12. Her face was so expressive that it conveyed almost as much as words.

18. infer. Judge, conclude.

23. as. And in the same way.

26. in thrall. Under her spell.

27. that was all. This was a great deal, but worldly people might not think it much.

29. “And when she had passed it seemed like the ceasing of exquisite music.”—Evangeline.

31. ribald. Coarse in speech and action.

33. see what you have! See the result!


   The ballad of Rosabelle is taken from The Lay of the Last Minstrel. It is sung at a wedding feast by the bard of the St. Clairs, to whom belonged the castle of Roslin mentioned in the story.

1. The words of the bard in addressing the ladies at the wedding feast.

5. Note the directness with which the story begins. The reader is left to supply his own details as to the speaker and the circumstances.

6. ladye. Lady, a poetical form.

7. Ravensheuch. Literally, Raven’s Crag. A strong castle now in ruins, situated on the Firth of Forth. It was for a long time occupied by the barons of Roslin.

8. Firth. The wide mouth of a river into which the tide enters.

10. inch. Island. sea-mews. Seagulls.

11. Water-sprite. Water-spirit.

18. Roslin. A castle and chapel on the Firth of Forth.

21. the ring. As a test of skill the knights, when riding at full speed, attempted to carry off on the end of the lance a ring suspended from a beam.

25. Roslin Chapel was said to appear on fire previous to the death of one of the family of St. Clair.

31-2. Dryden and Hawthornden are places in the neighbourhood of Roslin.

36. panoply. A full suit of armour.

38. Deep sacristy. The vestry, said to be deep because it extended far back.

altar’s pale. The space enclosed by the altar railing.

39. foliage-bound. Carved with leaves and flowers.

41. pinnet. Pinnacle.

42. “Among the profuse carvings on the pillars and buttresses, the rose is frequently introduced, in allusion to the name (Roslin), with which, however, the flower has no connection.” (Scott.)

44. St. Clair. The St. Clairs were a noble family who ruled over the earldom of Orkney and who held, besides, possessions in the Lowlands.

50. In allusion to the Roman Catholic burial service.


   This song is taken from Marmion.

20. He means to say that although he was once in love with the fair Ellen, he is so no longer. Love comes very quickly but goes away just as quickly.

the Solway. Solway Firth, an arm of the sea, on the south-west coast of Scotland.

32. galliard. A lively dance.

39. croupe. The place on the horse’s back, behind the saddle.

41. scaur. A precipitous bank or rock.

42. They’ll have fleet steeds that follow. They that succeed in following us will have to have fleet steeds.


   Written and published in 1820.

   The skylark is a European bird, and is not found in America. It makes its nest on the ground but rises high in the air, sometimes beyond the point of vision, to sing. The Canadian Horned Lark, which is common in our fields in early spring, sometimes also sings high in the air above its nest.

12. sunken sun. The sun is still below the horizon.

15. unbodied joy. The lark is so high in the air that it no longer appears to him as a bird; but hearing its song he thinks of it only as an ethereal source of joy.

22-25. The rays of light from the morning star are so keen that even when it has almost vanished in the light of the clear dawn we feel that the star is there. So even after the bird has vanished from sight, we know from the “arrows” of song that it is there.

36-7. He represents the poet as absorbed in his own bright fancies, and in this way hidden from the rest of the world.

47. a dell of dew. A little dewy valley or hollow.

49. aerial hue. Literally, the colour of the air. The glowworm of Britain is said to emit a bluish light.

55. heavy-wingéd thieves. The winds made heavy by the perfume.

56. vernal. Belonging to the Spring.

57. twinkling. Sparkling with the rain upon it.

61. sprite. Spirit.

66. Chorus hymeneal. A marriage song. Hymen was the God of marriage.

77. Languor. A feeling of weakness or exhaustion.

80. sad satiety. Just as one may become satiated with an excess of sweet things, so the poet speaks of even Love, when enjoyed to the full, as bringing with it a feeling of sadness.

82-5. Death is always bringing sorrow into our lives, so that under its shadow we can never be quite happy. But perhaps the skylark knows more about what Death really is, and sees that it is a good thing.

91-5. But even if we had no sadness of any kind in our lives, we could not feel as keen a joy as the song of the skylark expresses.

103. harmonious madness. His rapture would find expression in an ecstasy of song.


   First published in 1859. When the Idylls of the King appeared in their final form, in 1888, the story of Enid was divided into two parts, the first part being entitled The Marriage of Geraint, the second, Geraint and Enid. The poem here given includes only the part of Enid which is now known as The Marriage of Geraint. Tennyson’s story of Enid is based upon the prose version of the story, as it appears in the Mabinogion, a famous collection of Welsh fairy stories and legends.

   Before beginning the study of the poem read the introductory note to Morte D’Arthur.

24-5. The Queen, Guinevere, was the daughter of Leodogran, a tributary king. When Leodogran had given his consent to the marriage of his daughter Guinevere to Arthur, the king sent Lancelot, his truest and bravest knight, to bring Guinevere to the court. Guinevere, not having yet seen the king, fell in love with Lancelot, and her love was returned. This secret love was continued, and under its influence, little by little, the ideals of the knights were lowered. The incidents in the story of Enid are supposed to have taken place shortly after the marriage of Arthur and Guinevere.

35. caitiff. Base, mean.

39. common sewer. This territory in which the bandits and caitiff knights were gathered is compared to a public drain or sewer which carries off the impurities of the city.

41. marches. Border country, frontiers.

45. Severn. A river of England and Wales, flowing south-west into Bristol Channel.

48. compass’d her with sweet observances. Surrounded her with tokens of his regard.

60. uxoriousness. Fondness for his wife.

78. If the current were less strong the water would break in striking against the stone.

86. all-puissant. All powerful.

93. liefer. More gladly.

100. high. Bright.

145. Whitsuntide. A Church festival which falls on the seventh Sunday after Easter.

146. Caerleon upon Usk. A town in Monmouth. The Usk is a tributary of the Severn.

148. Dean. A tract of country west of the Severn.

172. glancing. Shining.

183. break covert. Come out into the open.

189. vizor. That part of the helmet which covers the face.

210. abolish. Destroy. Generally used of institutions, customs, etc.

213. Wroth to be wroth. Angry with himself for being angry.

217. earths. Holes in the earth.

220. for pledge. Which may be had if security is given for their return.

223. So that. Provided that.

235. at the vile occasion. Because the cause of this delay was so contemptible.

260. The Sparrow-hawk. A term of contempt. The sparrow-hawk is despised as a bird of prey; but it was the emblem of the knight whom Geraint was pursuing.

261. an ancient churl. An old peasant.

262. sloping beam. The slanting rays of the sun.

273. sudden spleen. A burst of anger.

274. pips. Diseases. A disease of fowls.

275. Tits. The titmouse, or tomtit, a small bird.

296. frayed. Worn by rubbing.

319. wilding. Wild; a poetical form.

325. beneath. Near the ground. aloft. Higher up on the wall.

337. When it first returns to Britain in the spring.

346. Fortune and her wheel. The wheel, which Fortune is represented as turning, denotes instability. The substance of the song is that the singer is indifferent to Fortune and will be content whatever she may bring.

354. Even if fortune seems against us, yet we will smile, for we are still able to use our hands to work.

363. dim brocade. Faded silk, woven with gold and silver thread or with ornamental designs.

364. vermeil-white. Reddish-white.

368. rood. Cross.

386. costrel. A wooden or earthenware bottle.

389. manchet. Fine white bread.

396. trencher. A large wooden plate.

432. Camelot. See Morte D’Arthur line 21, and note.

438. who see but acts of wrong. The Earl means to say that in this little village they saw no good deeds. They themselves had suffered from wrong-doing.

491. toppling over all antagonism. Overcoming all opponents.

496. lay lance in rest. See Morte D’Arthur, line 222, and note.

502. when at mine uttermost. In direst need.

513. prove her heart. Test her feelings.

519. kept her off. Held her at arm’s length so that she could see Enid’s face.

535. To quicken to the sun. To become alive under the influence of the sun.

537. jousts. See Morte D’Arthur, line 102, and note.

542. beyond the rest. More strongly than the rest.

543. The chair of Idris. Cader Idris, the highest mountain in Wales.

547. lists. The enclosed ground where tournaments were held.

559. Yule. Christmas.

566. as of phantom hands. The sound of the echo.

568. The dew of their great labour. Their perspiration.

595-6. See introductory note to Morte D’Arthur.

641. sold and sold. Sold one after another.

661. turkis. Turquoise. A garnet is red; a turquoise, blue.

663. tissue. Woven cloth.

672. mixen. Dunghill.

710. seneschal. Chief steward, who superintends the feasts and ceremonies.

724. ragged-robin. A British wild flower.

730-1. Esther. ii., 2-17.

743. Gwydion. In one of the legends of Welsh mythology, Gwydion, the nephew of the king, helps his uncle, Math, to create a beautiful maiden by magic (glamour) out of flowers in order to provide a wife for the young prince Llew.

744-5. the Bride of Cassivelaun, Flur. Cassivelaun was king of Britain at the time of Cæsar’s second invasion (54 B.C.). The poem suggests that Cæsar was in love with Flur, the betrothed bride of Cassivelaun.

764. flaws. A flaw is a sudden burst of wind.

774. careful robins. Watching to see whether there are worms for food in the ground that is delved.

797-804. Geraint suspected that Enid had allowed herself to be influenced by her mother’s wishes, or that she had been carried away by his brightness in contrast with the dimness of her own surroundings.

810-1. Dearer because she was resuming a splendour to which she had formerly been accustomed, but which she had been forced to give up for a time.

838. Dubric. The Archbishop.


   Published on the morning of November 18th, 1852, the day of the funeral of the Duke of Wellington.

9. The Duke is buried in St. Paul’s cathedral, which stands in the busiest part of London.

23. state-oracle. The wise adviser of the nation.

36. The Duke’s words were taken as an indication of the probable course of events in the future.

42. World-victor’s victor. Victor over Napoleon, who was the World victor.

49. cross of gold. St. Paul’s cathedral is surmounted by a golden cross.

56. its blazon’d deeds. The record of his victories engraved on the funeral car.

75-9. He calls upon the poets who celebrate the virtues of the British people to continue to give due honour to the Duke. In lines 77-9 the figure is that of broad avenues leading up to a great hall or castle.

civic muse. The muse (spirit of poetry) presiding over public affairs.

80-2. Nelson is also buried in St. Paul’s. In these lines he is represented as speaking.

99. Assaye. A village in Hindostan. Here in 1803 Wellington (then Arthur Wellesley) with only 5,000 men defeated an army of over 30,000 Mahrattas.

104-5. Referring to the lines of Torres Vedras, which were constructed by Wellington as defences in the Peninsular war, during the years 1810-11.

112. After the battle of Vittoria in 1813, the French armies crossed the Pyrenees and withdrew from Spain.

her eagles. Napoleon took the eagle as his standard.

119. Refers to the renewal of the war after the escape of Napoleon from Elba.

ravening. Rapacious, devouring ravenously.

123. that loud Sabbath. The battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday, June 18, 1815.

129. The sun is said to have shone through the breaking clouds just as the Allies made their final charge against the French.

136. silver-coasted. Referring to the white chalk cliffs of southern England.

137. the Baltic and the Nile. The battle of the Baltic was fought at Copenhagen in 1801. The battle of the Nile was fought in Aboukir Bay in 1798.

145. The real proof of a man’s fame is seen in the fact that a nation continues to honour him and echo his praises from century to century.

152. During the few years preceding the publication of this poem, revolutions had taken place in several countries of Europe.

155. Saxon. Changed to “Briton” in a later edition.

160-1. the eye, the soul of Europe. He speaks of England as the country that not only sees what is best but is most anxious for true progress.

162. the one true seed of freedom. British freedom representing the only true freedom of Europe.

168. Note the figure of speech.

170. wink. Close the eyes.

179-80. He never did wrong for the sake of some immediate advantage, nor trifled with what is right, for the sake of gaining power.

182. People of either high or low rank who were given to talking idly.

184. hewn from life. Growing out of his experience.

188. our England’s Alfred. King Alfred the Great.

196. stars. Marks of distinction.

197. The Goddess of Fortune is represented as carrying a cornucopia (horn of plenty).

202. was. “Turned out to be.”

206-8. He shall find that in facing hard and disagreeable duties his reward will be greater than that which comes from a life of selfish ease.

215-8. He shall find that though the performance of difficult tasks sometimes threatens to overwhelm him, yet in the end it will bring with it the peace and happiness of a character which has the approbation of God himself.

In line 215 the conjunction that is omitted.

236. For one. On account of the death of one.

242. More than is of man’s degree. Spiritual presences.

250. fane. Temple.

252-3. Note the metaphor. The poet suggests that music appeals to our higher nature,—to what is spiritual and hence eternal in man.

259. Giant Ages. In Greek mythology the Giants were a race of fabulous monsters who made war on Zeus. They were subdued, and great mountains were piled on top of them, beneath which they still struggle. Tennyson here personifies the long ages of time as giants shaking the hills and breaking the shore.

274. Being here. While he was here.

275. Something. An adverb, as here used.


   In The Day Dream Tennyson has elaborated in poetical form a series of scenes from the well-known fairy tale of The Sleeping Beauty or Briar Rose. In the fairy story, Briar Rose is a beautiful princess who was fated to fall asleep in her fifteenth year and remain sleeping for a hundred years. When the princess is overtaken by her long sleep, everything in the castle falls under the same spell. An impenetrable hedge of briars grows up about the castle grounds, and all who strive to force an entrance perish in the attempt. At length, when the hundred years have passed, comes a splendid prince, who hears from an old man the story of the mysterious castle and the sleeping princess. When he reaches the hedge he passes easily through, for the briars have turned to flowers. At the very moment when he finds the princess, the hundred years are completed, and as he kisses her she opens her eyes once more. When the princess wakes, the whole castle revives, and life goes on again as it did a hundred years before. The story ends with the marriage of Briar Rose and the prince.

   The fairy tale in its original form was probably suggested by the changing seasons. In Winter the earth, the fairy princess, begins her long sleep. In the Springtime comes the sun, the fairy prince, and at the touch of his kiss the earth awakes to new life and beauty.

   From the poem as here given, The Prologue, L’Envoi and The Epilogue are omitted. In The Prologue the poet tells his companion, Lady Flora, that the sight of her beauty as she lay asleep had called to his mind an image of The Sleeping Beauty, and that in his “day dream” he had recalled the old legend. And so as she works at her embroidery he bids her listen to the story. L’Envoi and The Epilogue, written also in a light and fanciful vein, contain the poet’s comments on the story.

1. blade and sheaf. Spring and Autumn, seed time and harvest.

3. Here. In the Sleeping Palace, in contrast with the outside world.

9. range. Rows.

10. terrace-lawn. The sloping lawn built up in the form of terraces.

11-2. The fountain is not flowing, but the water has withdrawn, or drawn back, to the garden lake from which it used to flow.

13. droops. The predicate also for the fires, peacock and parrot.

15. laurel bower. His retreat among the laurel bushes (evergreens).

16. wires. Cage.

18. these, those. Both the eggs and the birds.

22-3. The real things in and around the Sleeping Palace seem more like a picture than even the portraits on the walls.

34. Oriel. An ornamental projecting window.

40. Judging from his appearance and his surroundings.

43. woodbine. Any climbing plant such as clematis or honeysuckle, which binds, or twines around, the wood.

50. For these sleeping people.

51-2. When they wake to think once more, they will learn new things and will see things in a truer light and will be moved to act accordingly.

The Sleeping Beauty.

61. tranced. See Enoch Arden, line 793, and note.

71-2. Her beauty never changes, and the silent chamber seems to be filled with love, and the day seems to be brighter because of her beauty.

76. charmed. Under a spell.

The Arrival.

81-4. It seems as if when precious things have remained long hidden, they come forth of their own accord to greet those who seek them; for when Fate has decreed that some hidden work shall be revealed, Love follows up the decree and makes the discovery.

in sequel. Following.

86. on the rocks. Against the dull rocks.

90. to pass. To penetrate the hedge.

91. close. Enclosure, applied here to the hedge.

92. blanching. Whitening.

101-4. During all his past life a magic voice seemed to whisper to him that he would be fortunate.

106-7. The Magic Music. The sound of his heartbeats is spoken of as music which helped to tell him, as if by magic, that he was near the sleeping princess.

The Revival.

129. these. These noises.

137. Pardy. Fr. par-dieu, a form of oath.

144. put the question by. Did not reply to the king’s question. He had forgotten what the bill was about.

The Departure.

148. The world of love which was new to them but which was old to others.

156. this and this. He kisses her again.

157. sliding. Softly moving.

159. The light of dawn streamed through the openings in the clouds. Stream’d is a participle modifying twilight.

165-6. Evening is approaching. The lines of flowing clouds, rosy in the light of sunset, are compared to waves upon which the crescent moon is floating like a boat upon the sea.

167. rapt. Carried along, moved forward.


177-84. A thing that is beautiful in itself, as this story is, needs no moral. “Beauty is its own excuse for being.”

185-92. In all things in Nature we can find a meaning if we choose. So with this story, as with other forms of art, it is possible to read into it different meanings.


2-4. England, whose misty climate depresses the spirits and makes men long for the warmth and colour of the South.

6. sober-suited. Not showy.

10. of just and old renown. England has long been renowned for her free institutions, and justly so.

11-2. British freedom has been gained gradually, each new step growing out of events that have gone before. The Magna Charta, for example, was a precedent for the Petition of Right.

13. Those who seek to create dissension seldom succeed in bringing about an actual struggle.

15. A diffusive thought is one which readily spreads or circulates from mind to mind.

16. Hath time and space. Because Great Britain in itself is a small country.

17-26. If the time should ever come when any body of men should band themselves together to persecute those who do not agree with them, and when a man may not “speak the thing he will,” then, no matter how powerful or wealthy Britain may become, I will leave this country.

23-4. Note the metaphor in these two lines. Though the country should be overflowing with wealth from all its various sources—its mines, its fisheries, etc.

28. Read line 4.


   Published in 1764.

   Goldsmith dedicated The Traveller to his brother Henry, who was a country curate in Lissoy, a village in Ireland. The substance of the poem is briefly summed up by Macaulay as follows:—

   “No philosophical poem, ancient or modern, has a plan so noble and at the same time so simple. An English wanderer, seated on a crag among the Alps, near the point where three great countries meet, looks down on the boundless prospect, reviews his long pilgrimage, recalls the variety of scenery, of climate, of government, of religion, of national character, which he has observed, and comes to the conclusion, just or unjust, that our happiness depends little on political institutions, and much on the temper and regulation of the mind.”

1. Remote, etc. These adjectives modify I in line 7.

slow. Wandering slowly because heavy of heart.

2. Scheldt. A river flowing into the North Sea. lazy. Having a slow current.

Po. A river in northern Italy. wandering. Winding.

3. Carinthian. Carinthia is a province of Austria.

4. Campania. The Campagna—a plain adjacent to the city of Rome.

8. My heart untravell’d. His affections are still with his early home.

11. crown. Subjunctive mood, expressing a wish.

friend. His brother.

15. where want and pain repair. (Personification.) To which the needy and the troubled go (repair) for help.

23. me. Object of leads.

27-8. These two lines explain how the fleeting good mocks him. His idea of what will bring him happiness is always changing. When one thing is attained he finds no real satisfaction in it, but is constantly looking forward to some new thing which he thinks may bring him happiness.

32. pensive. Meditative.

34. a hundred realms. Exaggeration for effect.

38. Should the proud man remain ungrateful and dissatisfied?

39-40. Should the scholar, puffed up with his knowledge, look with scorn on the petty pleasures of these humble people?

41-2. The scholar may try to pretend that he takes no pleasure in these things, but man is petty and enjoys these petty pleasures.

48. dress. Cultivate.

50. Creation’s heir. In apposition with the pronoun value of mine.

51-8. Note the points of comparison involved in the simile. What are the alternate possessions of the miser? Of the poet?

64. pretend. Claim.

69. the line. The Equator.

70. palmy. Made from palms.

71. tepid. Lukewarm.

75-80. This idea is elaborated and illustrated in the remainder of the poem.

82. No matter where one lives, Nature gives returns to those who labour.

84. Idra. Probably Lake Idro in Switzerland.

Arno. A river in Italy.

90. either. Here means any one of the things mentioned.

93. prone. Disposed, inclined, favourable to.

98. peculiar pain. Pain which follows this particular good.

101. proper. Own, belonging to me.

108. Woods over woods. Like tiers of seats in theatres.

114. Growing on trees or on trailing vines.

117-8. The flowers of northern countries, which last only through the spring.

119. kindred. The soil is said to be kindred because it produces all these varieties naturally as if this was their common home.

121. gelid. Cool, refreshing.

122. winnow fragrance. Carry perfume.

123. sense. The senses.

125. florid. Bright with flowers.

127. manners. Actions, habits of living.

129. zealous. Full of religious zeal.

133-8. Referring to the commercial prosperity of Italian cities during the fifteenth century.

136. long-fallen. Since the days of ancient Rome.

138. The quarry was filled with marble from which statues of human forms were chiselled.

142. unmann’d. Without men.

143-4. Certain diseases were supposed to arise from a superabundance (plethora) of blood. So ills arose out of the prosperity of Italy.

with fruitless skill. All the skill mentioned in lines 134-8 brought no real results. It could not save Italy.

149-50. The modern processions are bloodless, that is, they do not celebrate real victories. The chariots are made of pasteboard for mere show.

151. piety and love. Religious processions, which were often made the means of furthering love intrigues.

157. succeeding. Following.

158. happier meanness. The people, because of their degraded condition, are happier in the enjoyment of these mean pleasures than they would be in pursuit of nobler aims.

160. Bring out the points of comparison in the simile.

167. bleak. Cheerless. mansion. Here, country.

168. churlish. Generally applied to people in the sense of rude in manner. Here, stubborn, unwilling to yield a harvest.

171. torpid. Sleepy, lifeless.

174. invest. Take possession.

176. Redress. Compensate for.

187. patient angle. An example of Transferred Epithet.

198. nightly. For the night; not “night after night.”

199. Supply that or which.

203. conforms. The rudeness and smallness of his home, a mere shed, is in keeping with his mind which is lacking in finer qualities.

214. redrest. Satisfied, provided for.

215. science. Branch of learning.

216. excites desire. Awakens the desire for the pleasure to be derived from the study, and then supplies that pleasure.

217-8. Line 218 tells what is unknown to them. When they are satiated with sensual pleasures they do not know how to seek the higher pleasures of the mind.

219. those powers. Music, poetry, painting, etc.

230-1. Love and friendship belong to the finer feelings, but they find no place in the heart of the mountaineer.

indurated. Hardened, unfeeling.

234. Cower. Generally means to shrink with fear. Here it simply means to sit, to bend low.

242. whom all the world can please. They are easily pleased with the attentions and the flattery of others.

244. tuneless. Because he lacked the skill to play.

253. gestic lore. The knowledge of dancing.

258. honour. Note that the word honour is used here in the sense of adulation or praise.

264. an avarice of praise. They are greedy for flattery.

265. they give to get esteem. They flatter others in order that others may flatter them in return.

266. Flatterers credit them with qualities which should make them blest, and being credited with these qualities they naturally try to live up to them.

267. this softer art. Flattery or adulation.

271. within itself unblest. finding no happiness in its own thoughts.

273. They attempt to win praise by an external show of shabby finery.

276. frieze. A kind of coarse woollen cloth.

copper lace. Gold lace was commonly used in eighteenth century fashions. Copper lace would be a poor imitation.

277. People who were poor but proud lived sparingly from day to day in order to have one feast in the year to make a show of wealth before the world.

279-80. They continue to follow the changing fashions and do not stop to consider how much better it would be to have the approval of their own better selves.

282. Holland is in parts below the level of the sea, and hence ‘embosomed in the deep.’

284. leans against the land. Presses against the dykes or embankments.

285. sedulous. Industrious, diligent. Both the adjective sedulous and the verb lift relate to sons l. 283.

286. rampire. Rampart; here, the bank or dyke which has been made by man (hence ‘artificial’) and which rises proudly above the sea.

291. pent. Confined, limited, shut out.

rising o’er the pile. Rising up along the sides of the dyke.

292. amphibious. Generally applied to animals which are able to live both on land and in water. Holland is said to be amphibious because it naturally belongs to the sea but has been reclaimed as part of the land.

297. wave-subjected soil. This soil in its natural condition is under control of the sea.

305-6. These lines probably refer to the political struggles and intrigues which long disturbed the Netherlands.

313. Belgic sires. The tribes known as the Belgae who inhabited the Netherlands in the time of Caesar.

317. the sound. The sound of the name ‘Britain.’

genius. The poetic muse.

318. Britain receives the warm winds from the west, and Spring is earlier here than in other European countries.

319. lawns. Stretches of meadow land.

Arcadian. Arcadia was a division of Greece. Because of the simple pastoral life of its people the name Arcadia came to stand in poetry for any imaginary country of ideal beauty and simplicity.

320. Hydaspes. A river of India (now called Jelum) flowing into the Indus. It was the eastern boundary of the kingdom of Alexander the Great.

323-4. Extremes are not found in the climate, but only in the minds of the people.

325. They are controlled by reason; but their aims are daring, and hence great in an unusual way. The aims of men in other countries may be great, but they follow the regular lines of thought and there is nothing daring or irregular about them.

330. By forms unfashion’d. They do not follow fixed or conventional lines of conduct. They are not artificial, but natural, in conduct.

331. native hardiness. Natural vigour.

332. They are true to what they conceive, or imagine, to be right, and they cannot be held in check.

333. Even the humblest peasant boasts that he examines these rights.

337. Such blessings would be too great if they were unmixed with some evils.

alloy. The base metal which is sometimes mixed with precious metals.

342. The nominative absolute construction.

343. The natural ties uniting members of the family or the community are not strong.

345. imprison’d. Held in control by the law.

346. round her shore. Throughout the country.

347-8. Note the metaphor in these lines.

   The idea is that when the wheels of a carriage are subjected to too great friction they either refuse to turn, or else catch fire from the over-heating of the axle. So in society, this internal struggle and ferment (ll. 344-6) must result in a breakdown in the machinery of government or in political disturbances. The Traveller was written about the time of the Wilkes’ agitations in Britain.

351. Fictitious. Artificial.

357. noble stems. The heads of noble families.

359. sink. A drain to carry off impure water. By speaking of England as a sink he suggests that her ideals have become base and impure.

level avarice. Greed for money among all classes of people.

369. the changeful clime. Of Britain.

370. Just as plants are pruned to make them better and stronger, so if the freedom of the British people is repressed when it tends to go to extremes, it will bring greater security.

373-6. He means to say that if any class of people is to be allowed too great privileges it will affect the rights of others.

381-8. The lines are subordinate, grammatically, to line 389.

381-2. These and the following lines express Goldsmith’s opinion of the Whig government then in power.

383. a factious band. A group of politicians seeking to further their personal interests by agitation and dissension.

385. There was nothing to restrain the judge from drawing up new laws for punishment of offences (penal statutes).

wanton. Without restraint.

387-8. He means to say that money was extorted from people in the colonies, such as India, to corrupt the electors in Great Britain.

to purchase slaves. To bribe the voters, to make them subservient.

391-2. Partly from motives of patriotism, partly from fear of the evils threatening my country, I appeal to the sovereign to protect it against these petty political tyrants.

393. baleful. Evil, pernicious.

395. The sovereign is here regarded as the fountain-head or source of honour.

396. Gave wealth to sway. Gave wealth the power to sway.

398. The wealth (useless ore) of the landowners was used to buy up the small holdings, and the labourers (useful sons) were turned adrift and forced to emigrate.

399. Britain’s successes in war have only helped to hasten destruction by bringing into existence a wealthy class of men.

401-2. See note on line 398 above.

403-4. The rich man lives at his ease on estates where villages once stood.

407. decayed. Worn out, on the decline.

411. Oswego. A river in the State of New York, flowing into Lake Erie.

412. Niagara. Note the pronunciation.

417. giddy. Whirling.

418. distressful. Causing distress.

421. Looks towards England.

422. The feelings of the exile are the same as those of the poet.

423-38. Lines 361-422 have been in the nature of a digression, and the poet now returns to his original subject as presented in the first hundred lines of the poem. He has come to the conclusion that happiness does not depend upon external conditions, but upon the individual himself; and this conclusion is summed up in lines 431-2.

425. Why have I tried to find the source of happiness in the government rather than in the mind, which is the centre of pleasure and repose?

431. Consigned modifies felicity. We are entrusted with the making of our own happiness.

433-4. The joy which any man feels in his life from day to day comes from his own innermost feelings, and external events cannot disturb it.

435-8. Even though a man be put to torture, it cannot rob him of the truest sources of happiness in his life—reason, faith and conscience.

434. The lifted axe. The executioner’s axe.

the agonizing wheel. An instrument of torture causing extreme agony. The victim was fastened to a wheel or a cross, and his legs were broken with an iron bar.

436. Luke’s iron crown. In 1513 two brothers, George and Luke Dosa, were taken prisoners in a rebellion. George (not Luke) Dosa was put to death by having a red hot crown placed on his head, in mockery of his desire to become king.

Damiens’ bed of steel. In 1757 Damiens, an insane fanatic, attempted to kill Louis XV, King of France. He was bound upon an iron bed and subjected to terrible tortures.

437. These tortures are rarely known to men who are not engaged in public affairs.


   Written on the occasion of a voyage from England to Italy in 1838. As the vessel passes the south-west coast of Portugal and Spain, Cape St. Vincent, Cadiz and Trafalgar are seen in turn, and as darkness is coming on, Gibraltar rises dimly in the distance. The poem expresses Browning’s feelings as he calls to memory the great victories of England that are connected with these historic scenes.

1. Cape St. Vincent. A cape at the south-east extremity of Portugal. In 1709 Admiral Jervis with a British fleet of fifteen vessels, defeated a Spanish fleet of twenty-seven vessels.

2. reeking. We often speak of blood as reeking, that is, steaming (Ger. rauchen, to smoke). So here the sunset is spoken of also as reeking because it is red like blood.

Cadiz Bay. Off the south-west coast of Spain. Cadiz was sacked by the English fleet under Essex in 1596.

3. Bluish. The land was bluish when seen in the distance.

full in face. Directly ahead of the vessel.

Trafalgar. Cape Trafalgar, on the south-west coast of Spain. At Trafalgar in 1805 Nelson defeated the combined fleets of France and Spain.

4. dimmest north-east distance. After the vessel passed Trafalgar and turned to enter the straits, the rock of Gibraltar was seen dimly to the north-east. Consult a good map or atlas.

dawned. Appeared dimly on the horizon.

Gibraltar. The fortress of Gibraltar came into the hands of the English in 1704. It was, later in the century, successfully defended against a number of attacks.

5. Here and here. In the battles he has mentioned.

say. The subject of say is the noun clause following.

5-6. Anyone who turns as I do to praise God for England’s victories and to pray for her continued greatness, cannot but ask himself the question, “How can I help England in return for what she has done for me?”

7. Jove’s planet. The planet Jupiter. Perhaps the sight of “Jove’s planet” suggests to the poet England’s continued strength and glory.

over Africa. To the south-east. Possibly the vessel has not yet passed Gibraltar which he had only seen dimly in the distance as night came on.


   The Patriot tells the story of a man who has come into power amid the acclamations of the crowd as the hero of the people. But popular favour is fickle, and in one short year he is reviled and led to execution. He suffers, not because he has failed in his duty, but simply because he has failed to please the fickle crowd. To those who have read history the sub-title An Old Story will need no further explanation.

2. myrtle. The leaves of the myrtle were used to make wreaths for those who won triumphs in the arts of peace. It is an emblem of peace and joy.

6. a mist. Of course this is not to be taken literally. It is a poetic way of saying that the air is filled with the sound of bells.

8-10. If I had objected that I did not like noise but that I wished them to give me the sun from out the sky they would have been quite willing to give me not only the sun but anything else they had.

17. a palsied few. Too feeble to follow the crowd.

20. Shambles’ Gate. A fictitious name for the place of execution. Shambles are the places where animals are slaughtered or where butchers’ meat is sold. Hence, as here, a place of butchery.

25. my year’s misdeeds. What the rabble consider as misdeeds.

27. The man who has been honoured by the world, even if he drops dead in the midst of his triumph, has been paid, and perhaps more than paid, for his good deeds, and if men’s rewards and punishments are balanced up, in the next world, such a man may find that he is in God’s debt. But the speaker, “The Patriot,” is suffering so much injustice and wrong that he is sure that some balance of reward will be due him in the next world.


1. The quiet-coloured end of evening. The late twilight when the bright colours have faded from the sky.

7. a city. The poet had in mind probably the Campagna,—the level stretch of country outside the city of Rome. This district was once very thickly populated.

9. Supply the conjunctive pronoun, that or which.

13. Notice that throughout the poem, the description of the scenery as it now appears, is alternated with the pictures of its former splendour.

15-8. If there had been trees it would have been an easy matter to distinguish certain slopes from others by the single trees or groups of trees growing on them. Now these slopes are separated only by streams and they take their names from the names of these streams which flow through the valleys.

19. daring. Because it rose so high.

20. like fires. Glittering in the sunlight.

23. nor be pressed. Without being crowded.

29-30. guessed alone, stock or stone. You can only guess that the sticks and stones are there; the grass covers them.

39. caper. A low prickly shrub.

gourd. A trailing or climbing plant, such for example, as our wild cucumber. overscored. By the stems of the vines, which form lines on the wall.

41-2. houseleek. A plant commonly found on old walls and ruins. patching. covering up the holes; or, perhaps, forming patches on the walls. winks. When moved by the breeze.

45. burning. Because they were made of gold.

47. minions. Favourites.

50-2. Smiles because she is leaving the flocks to return in peace to their folds.

55. yellow hair. A suggestion that she belonged to a northern race.

57. caught soul. They were inspired to do their best by seeing the king and courtiers watching from the tower.

63-4. the glades’ colonnades. The rows of columns in the valleys.

65. causeys. Causeways. A causeway is a raised road passing over wet or marshy ground.

79. He appeals to the feelings of his readers, who are moved by the same passions now as in the past.

80-4. These ruins are Earth’s returns, the only result of centuries of folly, noise and sin. In contrast with this is Love, which endures.


   This poem appears in Byron’s Don Juan. It is supposed to be sung by a wandering Greek minstrel during the marriage feast of the hero and heroine of the story; but it is a direct expression of Byron’s own feelings on the subject of Greek freedom.

2. Sappho. A lyric poetess who was born on the island of Lesbos about 625 B.C.

burning. In reference to the passion in her poems and songs.

4. According to myth, Leda, who had supplanted Juno in the affections of Jupiter, was forced to flee from heaven to escape the wrath of Juno. Neptune took pity on her and raised the Island of Delos out of the sea in order to afford her a shelter. Here Phoebus and Diana, the twin children of Jupiter and Leda, were born.

7. The Scian and the Teian muse. The island of Chios (Scio) was said to be the birthplace of Homer, and the town of Teos, in Asia Minor, was the birthplace of the poet Anacreon.

11. farther west. In America.

12. In Greek mythology the “Islands of the Blest” were situated somewhere far in the western ocean.

13. Mount Pentelicus and Mount Parnes overlook the plain of Marathon, where in 490 B.C. a great battle was fought between the Persians under Darius, and the Greeks, led by Miltiades.

21. Ten years after the battle of Marathon, Xerxes, the son of Darius, invaded Greece with a vast army. The Persian fleet was defeated at Salamis, by the Greeks under Themistocles. Xerxes watched the progress of the fight from the mainland.

31. in the dearth of fame. Though the Greeks are no longer famed for their poets.

32. a fetter’d race. Since 1715 Greece had been in the hands of the Turks. The War of Independence which began in 1821, resulted in the establishment of the Greek kingdom in 1832.

37-8. we. Italicized to bring out the contrast with fathers.

40-2. A reference to the battle of Thermopylae (470, B.C.) in which Leonidas with 300 Spartans and several hundred auxiliaries held the whole Persian army in check.

43. He has called upon the dead heroes of Greece to return (ll. 39-42); and now he listens for a reply.

49. In vain. It is in vain that we look for even one living hero to arise to lead the Greeks.

50-2. Samos, Chios, and other islands were famous for their wines.

53-4. Bacchanal. A follower of Bacchus, the god of wine.

55-6. The Pyrrhic dance was so named from Pyrrhichus, who invented it. The Pyrrhic phalanx derives its name from Pyrrhus, king of Epirus. A phalanx is a serried formation of troops.

59. The alphabet is said to have been introduced into Greece by Cadmus, a Phœnician, who lived about 1450, B.C.

63-5. Polycrates, who ruled over the Island of Samos, was the patron of Anacreon. Tyrant in the Greek sense meant simply “ruler” or “master,” and as here used the word does not imply harshness or cruelty.

68. Chersonese. The word literally means a peninsula. Here it refers to the Tauric Chersonnesus, the modern Crimea.

72. That is, he bound the Greeks together to resist their enemies.

74. Suli. A mountainous district inhabited by a mixed Greek and Albanian people.

Parga. A fortified town on the coast of Albania.

76. Doric mothers. Spartan mothers. The Spartans belonged to the Dorian race.

78. Heracleidan blood. The descendants of Heracles (Hercules).

might own. Might not be ashamed of. Supply that or which at the beginning of the line.

79. the Franks. The French.

80. Louis XVIII was at this time king of France. Perhaps Byron is referring to Napoleon, who entered into alliance with the Turks.

89. mine own. Mine own eyes.

91. Sunium. The southern promontory of Attica.

marbled steep. The temple of Athena stood on this promontory.

94. swan-like. See Morte D’Arthur, line 267, and note.


1. As. The word so in line 9 is correlative with as, introducing the other member in the comparison.

ships. Subject of are descried.

3. towers of sail. Filled with the breeze, which has sprung up in the night. This line forms a predicate completion of are descried (line 4).

6. darkling. Dark, a poetical form.

7. but. Except, that—not. Did not dream but that, each, etc.

9. E’en so. Just in the same way differences in opinion arise between friends.

13. Unknown to each other, both came under different influences that changed the course of their opinions and beliefs.

16. dawn. When their beliefs were made known.

17. To veer, how vain. When people have drifted apart in their points of view it is vain for them to try to change their course to come together again.

19. one compass. Conscience.

22. parting. Nominative absolute.

25-6. Both were searching for truth.

27-8. Clough hopes that wherever the course of events may carry the human race, sometime, somewhere, all differences in thought may be reconciled.


1-7. The nautilus is a species of shell-fish. The shell is spiral, and is divided into chambers or cavities. The animal occupies only the outer cavity. The others are filled with gas. The belief once existed that the nautilus was furnished with a membrane which served as a sail. The root meaning of the word nautilus is “a ship.” This old belief is, however, only a poetic fancy. The nautilus creeps along the bottom of the sea, and does not come to the surface to swim or sail.

5. the Siren. The Sirens were sea-nymphs, who by their entrancing music fascinated those who sailed along their shores, and drew them on to their destruction.

13. The shell is broken so that the separate cells are seen.

14. irised ceiling. The walls of the cell, tinted like the rainbow.

crypt. A crypt is an underground vault used for burial purposes. Here the enclosed chamber in the shell of the nautilus.

20. idle. Unused.

24. forlorn. Forsaken, solitary.

26. Triton. The son of Neptune, the god of the sea. He is generally represented as blowing upon a trumpet formed from a sea-shell, to quiet the restless waves.

wreathéd. Referring to the convolutions of the shell which was used for a horn.

28. caves of thought. A poetical way of speaking of his innermost self.

31. low-vaulted. Limited, confined, like a chamber with a low ceiling.

33. Let your growth be such from year to year that your spiritual outlook is larger.

35. thine out-grown shell. The body in which the soul dwells.

Transcriber’s Notes:

Archaic spellings and hyphenation have been retained. Punctuation has been corrected without note. Other errors have been corrected as noted below.


Page 52, Some mute inglorions Milton ==> Some mute inglorious Milton

Page 112, Whese rougher climes ==> Where rougher climes

Page 117, love, and honor fail ==> love, and honour fail

Page 132, Home Thoughts, from the Sea ==> Home-Thoughts, from the Sea

Page 135, Many imaegs went to ==> Many images went to

Page 143, church at Stoke Pogis ==> church at Stoke Poges

Page 156, 23-4. N te the metaphor ==> 23-4. Note the metaphor



[The end of Narrative and Lyric Poems by O. J. Stevenson]