The Early Poems of Alfred Lord Tennyson

Part 9 out of 10

Another answer'd: "But a crime of sense!"
"Give him new nerves with old experience."]

[Footnote 8: In Professor Tyndall's reminiscences of Tennyson, inserted
in Tennyson's 'Life', he says he once asked him for some
explanation of this line, and the poet's reply was:

"The power of explaining such concentrated expressions of the
imagination was very different from that of writing them".

And on another occasion he said very happily:

"Poetry is like shot silk with many glancing colours. Every reader
must find his own interpretation, according to his ability, and
according to his sympathy with the poet".

Poetry in its essential forms always suggests infinitely more than it
expresses, and at once inspires and kindles the intelligence which is to
comprehend it; if that intelligence, which is perhaps only another name
for sympathy, does not exist, then, in Byron's happy sarcasm:--

"The gentle readers wax unkind,
And, not so studious for the poet's ease,
Insist on knowing what he 'means', a hard
And hapless situation for a bard".

Possibly Tennyson may have had in his mind Keats's line:--

"There was an awful rainbow once in heaven"]


First published in 'The Keepsake' for 1851.

Come not, when I am dead,
To drop thy foolish tears upon my grave,
To trample round my fallen head,
And vex the unhappy dust thou wouldst not save.
There let the wind sweep and the plover cry;
But thou, go by. [1]

Child, if it were thine error or thy crime
I care no longer, being all unblest:
Wed whom thou wilt, but I am sick of Time, [2]
And I desire to rest.
Pass on, weak heart, and leave me where I lie:
Go by, go by.

[Footnote 1: 'The Keepsake':--But go thou by.]

[Footnote 2: 'The Keepsake' has a small 't' for Time.]



First published in 1851. It has not been altered.

He clasps the crag with hooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring'd with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls; [1]
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

[Footnote 1: One of Tennyson's most magically descriptive lines; nothing
could exceed the vividness of the words "wrinkled" and "crawls" here.]


First published in 1842.

Move eastward, happy earth, and leave
Yon orange sunset waning slow:
From fringes of the faded eve,
O, happy planet, eastward go;
Till over thy dark shoulder glow
Thy silver sister-world, and rise
To glass herself in dewy eyes
That watch me from the glen below.

Ah, bear me with thee, smoothly [1] borne,
Dip forward under starry light,
And move me to my marriage-morn,
And round again to happy night.

[Footnote 1: 1842 to 1853. Lightly.]


First published in 1842. No alteration.

This exquisite poem was composed in a very different scene from that to
which it refers, namely in "a Lincolnshire lane at five o'clock in the
morning between blossoming hedges". See 'Life of Tennyson', vol. i., p.

Break, break, break,
On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter
The thoughts that arise in me.

O well for the fisherman's boy,
That he shouts with his sister at play!
O well for the sailor lad,
That he sings in his boat on the bay!

And the stately ships go on
To their haven under the hill;
But O for the touch of a vanish'd hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still!

Break, break, break,
At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!
But the tender grace of a day that is dead
Will never come back to me.


First published in 1842.

The rain had fallen, the Poet arose,
He pass'd by the town and out of the street,
A light wind blew from the gates of the sun,
And waves of shadow went over the wheat,
And he sat him down in a lonely place,
And chanted a melody loud and sweet,
That made the wild-swan pause in her cloud,
And the lark drop down at his feet.

The swallow stopt as he hunted the bee, [1]
The snake slipt under a spray,
The wild hawk stood with the down on his beak,
And stared, with his foot on the prey,
And the nightingale thought, "I have sung many songs,
But never a one so gay,
For he sings of what the world will be
When the years have died away".

[Footnote 1: 1889, Fly.]


The Poems published in MDCCCXXX and in MDCCCXXXIII which were
temporarily or finally suppressed.



Reprinted in Collected Works among 'Juvenilia', with title
altered to 'Leonine Elegiacs'. The only alterations made in the
text were "wood-dove" for "turtle," and the substitution of "or" for
"and" in the last line but one.

Lowflowing breezes are roaming the broad valley dimm'd in the
Thoro' the black-stemm'd pines only the far river shines.
Creeping thro' blossomy rushes and bowers of rose-blowing bushes,
Down by the poplar tall rivulets babble and fall.
Barketh the shepherd-dog cheerily; the grasshopper carolleth clearly;
Deeply the turtle coos; shrilly the owlet halloos;
Winds creep; dews fell chilly: in her first sleep earth breathes
Over the pools in the burn watergnats murmur and mourn.
Sadly the far kine loweth: the glimmering water outfloweth:
Twin peaks shadow'd with pine slope to the dark hyaline.
Lowthroned Hesper is stayed between the two peaks; but the Naiad
Throbbing in mild unrest holds him beneath in her breast.

The ancient poetess singeth, that Hesperus all things bringeth,
Smoothing the wearied mind: bring me my love, Rosalind.
Thou comest morning and even; she cometh not morning or even.
False-eyed Hesper, unkind, where is my sweet Rosalind?


I am any man's suitor,
If any will be my tutor:
Some say this life is pleasant,
Some think it speedeth fast:
In time there is no present,
In eternity no future,
In eternity no past.
We laugh, we cry, we are born, we die,
Who will riddle me the _how_ and the _why_?

The bulrush nods unto its brother,
The wheatears whisper to each other:
What is it they say? What do they there?
Why two and two make four? Why round is not square?
Why the rocks stand still, and the light clouds fly?
Why the heavy oak groans, and the white willows sigh?
Why deep is not high, and high is not deep?
Whether we wake, or whether we sleep?
Whether we sleep, or whether we die?
How you are you? Why I am I?
Who will riddle me the _how_ and the _why_?

The world is somewhat; it goes on somehow;
But what is the meaning of _then_ and _now_?
I feel there is something; but how and what?
I know there is somewhat; but what and why?
I cannot tell if that somewhat be I.

The little bird pipeth, "why? why?"
In the summerwoods when the sun falls low
And the great bird sits on the opposite bough,
And stares in his face and shouts, "how? how?"
And the black owl scuds down the mellow twilight,
And chaunts, "how? how?" the whole of the night.

Why the life goes when the blood is spilt?
What the life is? where the soul may lie?
Why a church is with a steeple built;
And a house with a chimneypot?
Who will riddle me the how and the what?
Who will riddle me the what and the why?



There has been only one important alteration made in this poem, when it
was reprinted among the 'Juvenilia' in 1871, and that was the
suppression of the verses beginning "A grief not uninformed and dull" to
"Indued with immortality" inclusive, and the substitution of "rosy" for
"waxen". Capitals are in all cases inserted in the reprint where the
Deity is referred to, "through" is altered into "thro'" all through the
poem, and hyphens are inserted in the double epithets. No further
alterations were made in the edition of 1830.

Oh God! my God! have mercy now.
I faint, I fall. Men say that thou
Didst die for me, for such as _me_,
Patient of ill, and death, and scorn,
And that my sin was as a thorn
Among the thorns that girt thy brow,
Wounding thy soul.--That even now,
In this extremest misery
Of ignorance, I should require
A sign! and if a bolt of fire
Would rive the slumbrous summernoon
While I do pray to thee alone,
Think my belief would stronger grow!
Is not my human pride brought low?
The boastings of my spirit still?
The joy I had in my freewill
All cold, and dead, and corpse-like grown?
And what is left to me, but thou,
And faith in thee? Men pass me by;
Christians with happy countenances--
And children all seem full of thee!
And women smile with saint-like glances
Like thine own mother's when she bow'd
Above thee, on that happy morn
When angels spake to men aloud,
And thou and peace to earth were born.
Goodwill to me as well as all--
I one of them: my brothers they:
Brothers in Christ--a world of peace
And confidence, day after day;
And trust and hope till things should cease,
And then one Heaven receive us all.
How sweet to have a common faith!
To hold a common scorn of death!
And at a burial to hear
The creaking cords which wound and eat
Into my human heart, whene'er
Earth goes to earth, with grief, not fear,
With hopeful grief, were passing sweet!

A grief not uninformed, and dull
Hearted with hope, of hope as full
As is the blood with life, or night
And a dark cloud with rich moonlight.
To stand beside a grave, and see
The red small atoms wherewith we
Are built, and smile in calm, and say--
"These little moles and graves shall be
Clothed on with immortality
More glorious than the noon of day--
All that is pass'd into the flowers
And into beasts and other men,
And all the Norland whirlwind showers
From open vaults, and all the sea
O'er washes with sharp salts, again
Shall fleet together all, and be
Indued with immortality."

Thrice happy state again to be
The trustful infant on the knee!
Who lets his waxen fingers play
About his mother's neck, and knows
Nothing beyond his mother's eyes.
They comfort him by night and day;
They light his little life alway;
He hath no thought of coming woes;
He hath no care of life or death,
Scarce outward signs of joy arise,
Because the Spirit of happiness
And perfect rest so inward is;
And loveth so his innocent heart,
Her temple and her place of birth,
Where she would ever wish to dwell,
Life of the fountain there, beneath
Its salient springs, and far apart,
Hating to wander out on earth,
Or breathe into the hollow air,
Whose dullness would make visible
Her subtil, warm, and golden breath,
Which mixing with the infant's blood,
Fullfills him with beatitude.
Oh! sure it is a special care
Of God, to fortify from doubt,
To arm in proof, and guard about
With triple-mailed trust, and clear
Delight, the infant's dawning year.

Would that my gloomed fancy were
As thine, my mother, when with brows
Propped on thy knees, my hands upheld
In thine, I listen'd to thy vows,
For me outpour'd in holiest prayer--
For me unworthy!--and beheld
Thy mild deep eyes upraised, that knew
The beauty and repose of faith,
And the clear spirit shining through.
Oh! wherefore do we grow awry
From roots which strike so deep? why dare
Paths in the desert? Could not I
Bow myself down, where thou hast knelt,
To th' earth--until the ice would melt
Here, and I feel as thou hast felt?
What Devil had the heart to scathe
Flowers thou hadst rear'd--to brush the dew
From thine own lily, when thy grave
Was deep, my mother, in the clay?
Myself? Is it thus? Myself? Had I
So little love for thee? But why
Prevail'd not thy pure prayers? Why pray
To one who heeds not, who can save
But will not? Great in faith, and strong
Against the grief of circumstance
Wert thou, and yet unheard. What if
Thou pleadest still, and seest me drive
Thro' utter dark a fullsailed skiff,
Unpiloted i' the echoing dance
Of reboant whirlwinds, stooping low
Unto the death, not sunk! I know
At matins and at evensong,
That thou, if thou were yet alive,
In deep and daily prayers wouldst strive
To reconcile me with thy God.
Albeit, my hope is gray, and cold
At heart, thou wouldest murmur still--
"Bring this lamb back into thy fold,
My Lord, if so it be thy will".
Wouldst tell me I must brook the rod,
And chastisement of human pride;
That pride, the sin of devils, stood
Betwixt me and the light of God!
That hitherto I had defied
And had rejected God--that grace
Would drop from his o'erbrimming love,
As manna on my wilderness,
If I would pray--that God would move
And strike the hard hard rock, and thence,
Sweet in their utmost bitterness,
Would issue tears of penitence
Which would keep green hope's life. Alas!
I think that pride hath now no place
Nor sojourn in me. I am void,
Dark, formless, utterly destroyed.

Why not believe then? Why not yet
Anchor thy frailty there, where man
Hath moor'd and rested? Ask the sea
At midnight, when the crisp slope waves
After a tempest, rib and fret
The broadimbased beach, why he
Slumbers not like a mountain tarn?
Wherefore his ridges are not curls
And ripples of an inland mere?
Wherefore he moaneth thus, nor can
Draw down into his vexed pools
All that blue heaven which hues and paves
The other? I am too forlorn,
Too shaken: my own weakness fools
My judgment, and my spirit whirls,
Moved from beneath with doubt and fear.

"Yet" said I, in my morn of youth,
The unsunned freshness of my strength,
When I went forth in quest of truth,
"It is man's privilege to doubt,
If so be that from doubt at length,
Truth may stand forth unmoved of change,
An image with profulgent brows,
And perfect limbs, as from the storm
Of running fires and fluid range
Of lawless airs, at last stood out
This excellence and solid form
Of constant beauty. For the Ox
Feeds in the herb, and sleeps, or fills
The horned valleys all about,
And hollows of the fringed hills
In summerheats, with placid lows
Unfearing, till his own blood flows
About his hoof. And in the flocks
The lamb rejoiceth in the year,
And raceth freely with his fere,
And answers to his mother's calls
From the flower'd furrow. In a time,
Of which he wots not, run short pains
Through his warm heart; and then, from whence
He knows not, on his light there falls
A shadow; and his native slope,
Where he was wont to leap and climb,
Floats from his sick and filmed eyes,
And something in the darkness draws
His forehead earthward, and he dies.
Shall man live thus, in joy and hope
As a young lamb, who cannot dream,
Living, but that he shall live on?
Shall we not look into the laws
Of life and death, and things that seem,
And things that be, and analyse
Our double nature, and compare
All creeds till we have found the one,
If one there be?" Ay me! I fear
All may not doubt, but everywhere
Some must clasp Idols. Yet, my God,
Whom call I Idol? Let thy dove
Shadow me over, and my sins
Be unremembered, and thy love
Enlighten me. Oh teach me yet
Somewhat before the heavy clod
Weighs on me, and the busy fret
Of that sharpheaded worm begins
In the gross blackness underneath.

O weary life! O weary death!
O spirit and heart made desolate!
O damned vacillating state!


His eyes in eclipse,
Pale cold his lips,
The light of his hopes unfed,
Mute his tongue,
His bow unstrung
With the tears he hath shed,
Backward drooping his graceful head,

Love is dead;
His last arrow is sped;
He hath not another dart;
Go--carry him to his dark deathbed;
Bury him in the cold, cold heart--
Love is dead.

Oh, truest love! art thou forlorn,
And unrevenged? thy pleasant wiles
Forgotten, and thine innocent joy?
Shall hollowhearted apathy,
The cruellest form of perfect scorn,
With languor of most hateful smiles,
For ever write
In the withered light
Of the tearless eye,
An epitaph that all may spy?
No! sooner she herself shall die.

For her the showers shall not fall,
Nor the round sun that shineth to all;
Her light shall into darkness change;
For her the green grass shall not spring,
Nor the rivers flow, nor the sweet birds sing,
Till Love have his full revenge.


Sainted Juliet! dearest name!
If to love be life alone,
Divinest Juliet,
I love thee, and live; and yet
Love unreturned is like the fragrant flame
Folding the slaughter of the sacrifice
Offered to gods upon an altarthrone;
My heart is lighted at thine eyes,
Changed into fire, and blown about with sighs.



I' the glooming light
Of middle night
So cold and white,
Worn Sorrow sits by the moaning wave;
Beside her are laid
Her mattock and spade,
For she hath half delved her own deep grave.
Alone she is there:
The white clouds drizzle: her hair falls loose;
Her shoulders are bare;
Her tears are mixed with the bearded dews.


Death standeth by;
She will not die;
With glazed eye
She looks at her grave: she cannot sleep;
Ever alone
She maketh her moan:
She cannot speak; she can only weep;
For she will not hope.
The thick snow falls on her flake by flake,
The dull wave mourns down the slope,
The world will not change, and her heart will not break.


The lintwhite and the throstlecock
Have voices sweet and clear;
All in the bloomed May.
They from the blosmy brere
Call to the fleeting year,
If that he would them hear
And stay. Alas! that one so beautiful
Should have so dull an ear.


Fair year, fair year, thy children call,
But thou art deaf as death;
All in the bloomed May.
When thy light perisheth
That from thee issueth,
Our life evanisheth: Oh! stay.
Alas! that lips so cruel-dumb
Should have so sweet a breath!


Fair year, with brows of royal love
Thou comest, as a king,
All in the bloomed May.
Thy golden largess fling,
And longer hear us sing;
Though thou art fleet of wing,
Yet stay. Alas! that eyes so full of light
Should be so wandering!


Thy locks are all of sunny sheen
In rings of gold yronne, [1]
All in the bloomed May,
We pri'thee pass not on;
If thou dost leave the sun,
Delight is with thee gone, Oh! stay.
Thou art the fairest of thy feres,
We pri'thee pass not on.

[Footnote 1: His crispe hair in ringis was yronne.--Chaucer, _Knight's
Tale._ (Tennyson's note.)]



Every day hath its night:
Every night its morn:
Thorough dark and bright
Winged hours are borne;
Ah! welaway!

Seasons flower and fade;
Golden calm and storm
Mingle day by day.
There is no bright form
Doth not cast a shade--
Ah! welaway!


When we laugh, and our mirth
Apes the happy vein,
We're so kin to earth,
Pleasaunce fathers pain--
Ah! welaway!
Madness laugheth loud:
Laughter bringeth tears:
Eyes are worn away
Till the end of fears
Cometh in the shroud,
Ah! welaway!


All is change, woe or weal;
Joy is Sorrow's brother;
Grief and gladness steal
Symbols of each other;
Ah! welaway!
Larks in heaven's cope
Sing: the culvers mourn
All the livelong day.
Be not all forlorn;
Let us weep, in hope--
Ah! welaway!


Reprinted without any important alteration among the 'Juvenilia' in
1871 and onward. No change made except that "through" is spelt "thro',"
and in the last line "and" is substituted for "all".

When will the stream be aweary of flowing
Under my eye?
When will the wind be aweary of blowing
Over the sky?
When will the clouds be aweary of fleeting?
When will the heart be aweary of beating?
And nature die?
Never, oh! never, nothing will die?
The stream flows,
The wind blows,
The cloud fleets,
The heart beats,
Nothing will die.

Nothing will die;
All things will change
Through eternity.
'Tis the world's winter;
Autumn and summer
Are gone long ago;
Earth is dry to the centre,
But spring, a new comer,
A spring rich and strange,
Shall make the winds blow
Round and round,
Through and through,
Here and there,
Till the air
And the ground
Shall be filled with life anew.

The world was never made;
It will change, but it will not fade.
So let the wind range;
For even and morn
Ever will be
Through eternity.
Nothing was born;
Nothing will die;
All things will change.


Reprinted among 'Juvenilia' in 1872 and onward, without alteration.

Clearly the blue river chimes in its flowing
Under my eye;
Warmly and broadly the south winds are blowing
Over the sky.
One after another the white clouds are fleeting;
Every heart this May morning in joyance is beating
Full merrily;
Yet all things must die.
The stream will cease to flow;
The wind will cease to blow;
The clouds will cease to fleet;
The heart will cease to beat;
For all things must die.

All things must die.
Spring will come never more.
Oh! vanity!
Death waits at the door.
See! our friends are all forsaking
The wine and the merrymaking.
We are called--we must go.
Laid low, very low,
In the dark we must lie.
The merry glees are still;
The voice of the bird
Shall no more be heard,
Nor the wind on the hill.
Oh! misery!
Hark! death is calling
While I speak to ye,
The jaw is falling,
The red cheek paling,
The strong limbs failing;
Ice with the warm blood mixing;
The eyeballs fixing.
Nine times goes the passing bell:
Ye merry souls, farewell.
The old earth
Had a birth,
As all men know,
Long ago.
And the old earth must die.
So let the warm winds range,
And the blue wave beat the shore;
For even and morn
Ye will never see
Through eternity.
All things were born.
Ye will come never more,
For all things must die.


Oh go not yet, my love,
The night is dark and vast;
The white moon is hid in her heaven above,
And the waves climb high and fast.
Oh! kiss me, kiss me, once again,
Lest thy kiss should be the last.
Oh kiss me ere we part;
Grow closer to my heart.
My heart is warmer surely than the bosom of the main.

Oh joy! 0 bliss of blisses!
My heart of hearts art thou.
Come bathe me with thy kisses,
My eyelids and my brow.
Hark how the wild rain hisses,
And the loud sea roars below.

Thy heart beats through thy rosy limbs
So gladly doth it stir;
Thine eye in drops of gladness swims.
I have bathed thee with the pleasant myrrh;
Thy locks are dripping balm;
Thou shalt not wander hence to-night,
I'll stay thee with my kisses.
To-night the roaring brine
Will rend thy golden tresses;
The ocean with the morrow light
Will be both blue and calm;
And the billow will embrace thee with a kiss as soft as mine.

No western odours wander
On the black and moaning sea,
And when thou art dead, Leander,
My soul must follow thee!
Oh go not yet, my love
Thy voice is sweet and low;
The deep salt wave breaks in above
Those marble steps below.
The turretstairs are wet
That lead into the sea.
Leander! go not yet.
The pleasant stars have set:
Oh! go not, go not yet,
Or I will follow thee.


Angels have talked with him, and showed him thrones:
Ye knew him not: he was not one of ye,
Ye scorned him with an undiscerning scorn;
Ye could not read the marvel in his eye,
The still serene abstraction; he hath felt
The vanities of after and before;
Albeit, his spirit and his secret heart
The stern experiences of converse lives,
The linked woes of many a fiery change
Had purified, and chastened, and made free.
Always there stood before him, night and day,
Of wayward vary colored circumstance,
The imperishable presences serene
Colossal, without form, or sense, or sound,
Dim shadows but unwaning presences
Fourfaced to four corners of the sky;
And yet again, three shadows, fronting one,
One forward, one respectant, three but one;
And yet again, again and evermore,
For the two first were not, but only seemed,
One shadow in the midst of a great light,
One reflex from eternity on time,
One mighty countenance of perfect calm,
Awful with most invariable eyes.
For him the silent congregated hours,
Daughters of time, divinely tall, beneath
Severe and youthful brows, with shining eyes
Smiling a godlike smile (the innocent light
Of earliest youth pierced through and through with all
Keen knowledges of low-embowed eld)
Upheld, and ever hold aloft the cloud
Which droops low hung on either gate of life,
Both birth and death; he in the centre fixt,
Saw far on each side through the grated gates
Most pale and clear and lovely distances.
He often lying broad awake, and yet
Remaining from the body, and apart
In intellect and power and will, hath heard
Time flowing in the middle of the night,
And all things creeping to a day of doom.
How could ye know him? Ye were yet within
The narrower circle; he had wellnigh reached
The last, with which a region of white flame,
Pure without heat, into a larger air
Upburning, and an ether of black blue,
Investeth and ingirds all other lives.



Voice of the summerwind,
Joy of the summerplain,
Life of the summerhours,
Carol clearly, bound along.
No Tithon thou as poets feign
(Shame fall 'em they are deaf and blind)
But an insect lithe and strong,
Bowing the seeded summerflowers.
Prove their falsehood and thy quarrel,
Vaulting on thine airy feet.
Clap thy shielded sides and carol,
Carol clearly, chirrup sweet.
Thou art a mailed warrior in youth and strength complete;
Armed cap-a-pie,
Full fair to see;
Unknowing fear,
Undreading loss,
A gallant cavalier
'Sans peur et sans reproche,'
In sunlight and in shadow,
The Bayard of the meadow.


I would dwell with thee,
Merry grasshopper,
Thou art so glad and free,
And as light as air;
Thou hast no sorrow or tears,
Thou hast no compt of years,
No withered immortality,
But a short youth sunny and free.
Carol clearly, bound along,
Soon thy joy is over,
A summer of loud song,
And slumbers in the clover.
What hast thou to do with evil
In thine hour of love and revel,
In thy heat of summerpride,
Pushing the thick roots aside
Of the singing flowered grasses,
That brush thee with their silken tresses?
What hast thou to do with evil,
Shooting, singing, ever springing
In and out the emerald glooms,
Ever leaping, ever singing,
Lighting on the golden blooms?


Ere yet my heart was sweet Love's tomb,
Love laboured honey busily.
I was the hive and Love the bee,
My heart the honey-comb.
One very dark and chilly night
Pride came beneath and held a light.

The cruel vapours went through all,
Sweet Love was withered in his cell;
Pride took Love's sweets, and by a spell,
Did change them into gall;
And Memory tho' fed by Pride
Did wax so thin on gall,
Awhile she scarcely lived at all,
What marvel that she died?


In an unpublished drama written very early.

The varied earth, the moving heaven,
The rapid waste of roving sea,
The fountainpregnant mountains riven
To shapes of wildest anarchy,
By secret fire and midnight storms
That wander round their windy cones,
The subtle life, the countless forms
Of living things, the wondrous tones
Of man and beast are full of strange
Astonishment and boundless change.

The day, the diamonded light,
The echo, feeble child of sound,
The heavy thunder's griding might,
The herald lightning's starry bound,
The vocal spring of bursting bloom,
The naked summer's glowing birth,
The troublous autumn's sallow gloom,
The hoarhead winter paving earth
With sheeny white, are full of strange
Astonishment and boundless change.

Each sun which from the centre flings
Grand music and redundant fire,
The burning belts, the mighty rings,
The murmurous planets' rolling choir,
The globefilled arch that, cleaving air,
Lost in its effulgence sleeps,
The lawless comets as they glare,
And thunder thro' the sapphire deeps
In wayward strength, are full of strange
Astonishment and boundless change.


You cast to ground the hope which once was mine,
But did the while your harsh decree deplore,
Embalming with sweet tears the vacant shrine,
My heart, where Hope had been and was no more.

So on an oaken sprout
A goodly acorn grew;
But winds from heaven shook the acorn out,
And filled the cup with dew.


Heaven weeps above the earth all night till morn,
In darkness weeps, as all ashamed to weep,
Because the earth hath made her state forlorn
With selfwrought evils of unnumbered years,
And doth the fruit of her dishonour reap.
And all the day heaven gathers back her tears
Into her own blue eyes so clear and deep,
And showering down the glory of lightsome day,
Smiles on the earth's worn brow to win her if she may.


O Maiden, fresher than the first green leaf
With which the fearful springtide flecks the lea,
Weep not, Almeida, that I said to thee
That thou hast half my heart, for bitter grief
Doth hold the other half in sovranty.
Thou art my heart's sun in love's crystalline:
Yet on both sides at once thou canst not shine:
Thine is the bright side of my heart, and thine
My heart's day, but the shadow of my heart,
Issue of its own substance, my heart's night
Thou canst not lighten even with 'thy' light,
All powerful in beauty as thou art.
Almeida, it my heart were substanceless,
Then might thy rays pass thro' to the other side,
So swiftly, that they nowhere would abide,
But lose themselves in utter emptiness.
Half-light, half-shadow, let my spirit sleep;
They never learnt to love who never knew to weep.


O Thou whose fringed lids I gaze upon,
Through whose dim brain the winged dreams are borne,
Unroof the shrines of clearest vision,
In honour of the silverflecked morn:
Long hath the white wave of the virgin light
Driven back the billow of the dreamful dark.
Thou all unwittingly prolongest night,
Though long ago listening the poised lark,
With eyes dropt downward through the blue serene,
Over heaven's parapets the angels lean.


Could I outwear my present state of woe
With one brief winter, and indue i' the spring
Hues of fresh youth, and mightily outgrow
The wan dark coil of faded suffering--
Forth in the pride of beauty issuing
A sheeny snake, the light of vernal bowers,
Moving his crest to all sweet plots of flowers
And watered vallies where the young birds sing;
Could I thus hope my lost delights renewing,
I straightly would commend the tears to creep
From my charged lids; but inwardly I weep:
Some vital heat as yet my heart is wooing:
This to itself hath drawn the frozen rain
From my cold eyes and melted it again.


Though Night hath climbed her peak of highest noon,
And bitter blasts the screaming autumn whirl,
All night through archways of the bridged pearl
And portals of pure silver walks the moon.
Wake on, my soul, nor crouch to agony,
Turn cloud to light, and bitterness to joy,
And dross to gold with glorious alchemy,
Basing thy throne above the world's annoy.
Reign thou above the storms of sorrow and ruth
That roar beneath; unshaken peace hath won thee:
So shalt thou pierce the woven glooms of truth;
So shall the blessing of the meek be on thee;
So in thine hour of dawn, the body's youth,
An honourable old shall come upon thee.


Shall the hag Evil die with child of Good,
Or propagate again her loathed kind,
Thronging the cells of the diseased mind,
Hateful with hanging cheeks, a withered brood,
Though hourly pastured on the salient blood?
Oh! that the wind which bloweth cold or heat
Would shatter and o'erbear the brazen beat
Of their broad vans, and in the solitude
Of middle space confound them, and blow back
Their wild cries down their cavernthroats, and slake
With points of blastborne hail their heated eyne!
So their wan limbs no more might come between
The moon and the moon's reflex in the night;
Nor blot with floating shades the solar light.


The pallid thunderstricken sigh for gain,
Down an ideal stream they ever float,
And sailing on Pactolus in a boat,
Drown soul and sense, while wistfully they strain
Weak eyes upon the glistering sands that robe
The understream. The wise could he behold
Cathedralled caverns of thick-ribbed gold
And branching silvers of the central globe,
Would marvel from so beautiful a sight
How scorn and ruin, pain and hate could flow:
But Hatred in a gold cave sits below,
Pleached with her hair, in mail of argent light
Shot into gold, a snake her forehead clips
And skins the colour from her trembling lips.



Thou, from the first, unborn, undying love,
Albeit we gaze not on thy glories near,
Before the face of God didst breathe and move,
Though night and pain and ruin and death reign here.
Thou foldest, like a golden atmosphere,
The very throne of the eternal God:
Passing through thee the edicts of his fear
Are mellowed into music, borne abroad
By the loud winds, though they uprend the sea,
Even from his central deeps: thine empery
Is over all: thou wilt not brook eclipse;
Thou goest and returnest to His Lips
Like lightning: thou dost ever brood above
The silence of all hearts, unutterable Love.


To know thee is all wisdom, and old age
Is but to know thee: dimly we behold thee
Athwart the veils of evil which enfold thee.
We beat upon our aching hearts with rage;
We cry for thee: we deem the world thy tomb.
As dwellers in lone planets look upon
The mighty disk of their majestic sun,
Hollowed in awful chasms of wheeling gloom,
Making their day dim, so we gaze on thee.
Come, thou of many crowns, white-robed love,
Oh! rend the veil in twain: all men adore thee;
Heaven crieth after thee; earth waileth for thee:
Breathe on thy winged throne, and it shall move
In music and in light o'er land and sea.


And now--methinks I gaze upon thee now,
As on a serpent in his agonies
Awestricken Indians; what time laid low
And crushing the thick fragrant reeds he lies,
When the new year warm breathed on the earth,
Waiting to light him with his purple skies,
Calls to him by the fountain to uprise.
Already with the pangs of a new birth
Strain the hot spheres of his convulsed eyes,
And in his writhings awful hues begin
To wander down his sable sheeny sides,
Like light on troubled waters: from within
Anon he rusheth forth with merry din,
And in him light and joy and strength abides;
And from his brows a crown of living light
Looks through the thickstemmed woods by day and night.


Reprinted without alteration, except in the spelling of "antient," among
'Juvenilia' in 1871 and onward.

Below the thunders of the upper deep;
Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His antient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
About his shadowy sides: above him swell
Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
Unnumber'd and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages and will lie
Battening upon huge seaworms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.


Who fears to die? Who fears to die?
Is there any here who fears to die
He shall find what he fears, and none shall grieve
For the man who fears to die;
But the withering scorn of the many shall cleave
To the man who fears to die.

Shout for England!
Ho! for England!
George for England!
Merry England!
England for aye!

The hollow at heart shall crouch forlorn,
He shall eat the bread of common scorn;
It shall be steeped in the salt, salt tear,
Shall be steeped in his own salt tear:
Far better, far better he never were born
Than to shame merry England here.

Chorus.--Shout for England! etc.

There standeth our ancient enemy;
Hark! he shouteth--the ancient enemy!
On the ridge of the hill his banners rise;
They stream like fire in the skies;
Hold up the Lion of England on high
Till it dazzle and blind his eyes.

Chorus.--Shout for England! etc.

Come along! we alone of the earth are free;
The child in our cradles is bolder than he;
For where is the heart and strength of slaves?
Oh! where is the strength of slaves?
He is weak! we are strong; he a slave, we are free;
Come along! we will dig their graves.

Chorus.--Shout for England! etc.

There standeth our ancient enemy;
Will he dare to battle with the free?
Spur along! spur amain! charge to the fight:
Charge! charge to the fight!
Hold up the Lion of England on high!
Shout for God and our right!

Chorus.-Shout for England! etc.


There is no land like England
Where'er the light of day be;
There are no hearts like English hearts,
Such hearts of oak as they be.
There is no land like England
Where'er the light of day be;
There are no men like Englishmen,
So tall and bold as they be.

Chorus. For the French the Pope may shrive 'em,
For the devil a whit we heed 'em,
As for the French, God speed 'em
Unto their hearts' desire,
And the merry devil drive 'em
Through the water and the fire.

Our glory is our freedom,
We lord it o'er the sea;
We are the sons of freedom,
We are free.

There is no land like England,
Where'er the light of day be;
There are no wives like English wives,
So fair and chaste as they be.
There is no land like England,
Where'er the light of day be;
There are no maids like English maids,
So beautiful as they be.

Chorus.--For the French, etc.


Two bees within a chrystal flowerbell rocked
Hum a lovelay to the westwind at noontide.
Both alike, they buzz together,
Both alike, they hum together
Through and through the flowered heather.

Where in a creeping cove the wave unshocked
Lays itself calm and wide,
Over a stream two birds of glancing feather
Do woo each other, carolling together.
Both alike, they glide together
Side by side;
Both alike, they sing together,
Arching blue-glossed necks beneath the purple weather.

Two children lovelier than Love, adown the lea are singing,
As they gambol, lilygarlands ever stringing:
Both in blosmwhite silk are frocked:
Like, unlike, they roam together
Under a summervault of golden weather;
Like, unlike, they sing together
Side by side,
Mid May's darling goldenlocked,
Summer's tanling diamondeyed.


Reprinted among 'Juvenilia' in 1871 and onward without alteration,
except that it is printed as two stanzas.

The winds, as at their hour of birth,
Leaning upon the ridged sea,
Breathed low around the rolling earth
With mellow preludes, "We are Free";
The streams through many a lilied row,
Down-carolling to the crisped sea,
Low-tinkled with a bell-like flow
Atween the blossoms, "We are free".

[Greek: Oi Rheontes]


All thoughts, all creeds, all dreams are true,
All visions wild and strange;
Man is the measure of all truth
Unto himself. All truth is change:
All men do walk in sleep, and all
Have faith in that they dream:
For all things are as they seem to all,
And all things flow like a stream.


There is no rest, no calm, no pause,
Nor good nor ill, nor light nor shade,
Nor essence nor eternal laws:
For nothing is, but all is made.
But if I dream that all these are,
They are to me for that I dream;
For all things are as they seem to all,
And all things flow like a stream.

Argal--This very opinion is only true relatively to the flowing
philosophers. (Tennyson's note.)



Reprinted without any alteration, except that Power is spelt with a
small p, among the _Juvenilia_ in 1871 and onward.

Mine be the strength of spirit, full and free,
Like some broad river rushing down alone,
With the selfsame impulse wherewith he was thrown
From his loud fount upon the echoing lea:--
Which with increasing might doth forward flee
By town, and tower, and hill, and cape, and isle,
And in the middle of the green salt sea
Keeps his blue waters fresh for many a mile.
Mine be the Power which ever to its sway
Will win the wise at once, and by degrees
May into uncongenial spirits flow;
Even as the great gulfstream of Florida
Floats far away into the Northern Seas
The lavish growths of Southern Mexico.


When this poem was republished among the _Juvenilia_ in 1871 several
alterations were made in it. For the first stanza was substituted the

My life is full of weary days,
But good things have not kept aloof,
Nor wander'd into other ways:
I have not lack'd thy mild reproof,
Nor golden largess of thy praise.

The second began "And now shake hands". In the fourth stanza for "sudden
laughters" of the jay was substituted the felicitous "sudden scritches,"
and the sixth and seventh stanzas were suppressed.


All good things have not kept aloof
Nor wandered into other ways:
I have not lacked thy mild reproof,
Nor golden largess of thy praise.
But life is full of weary days.


Shake hands, my friend, across the brink
Of that deep grave to which I go:
Shake hands once more: I cannot sink
So far--far down, but I shall know
Thy voice, and answer from below.


When in the darkness over me
The fourhanded mole shall scrape,
Plant thou no dusky cypresstree,
Nor wreathe thy cap with doleful crape,
But pledge me in the flowing grape.


And when the sappy field and wood
Grow green beneath the showery gray,
And rugged barks begin to bud,
And through damp holts newflushed with May,
Ring sudden laughters of the Jay,


Then let wise Nature work her will,
And on my clay her darnels grow;
Come only, when the days are still,
And at my headstone whisper low,
And tell me if the woodbines blow.


If thou art blest, my mother's smile
Undimmed, if bees are on the wing:
Then cease, my friend, a little while,
That I may hear the throstle sing
His bridal song, the boast of spring.


Sweet as the noise in parched plains
Of bubbling wells that fret the stones,
(If any sense in me remains)
Thy words will be: thy cheerful tones
As welcome to my crumbling bones.


Reprinted without any alteration among 'Early Sonnets' in 1872, and
unaltered since.

He thought to quell the stubborn hearts of oak,
Madman!--to chain with chains, and bind with bands
That island queen who sways the floods and lands
From Ind to Ind, but in fair daylight woke,
When from her wooden walls, lit by sure hands,
With thunders and with lightnings and with smoke,
Peal after peal, the British battle broke,
Lulling the brine against the Coptic sands.
We taught him lowlier moods, when Elsinore
Heard the war moan along the distant sea,
Rocking with shatter'd spars, with sudden fires
Flamed over: at Trafalgar yet once more
We taught him: late he learned humility
Perforce, like those whom Gideon school'd with briers.



Oh, Beauty, passing beauty! sweetest Sweet!
How canst thou let me waste my youth in sighs?
I only ask to sit beside thy feet.
Thou knowest I dare not look into thine eyes,
Might I but kiss thy hand! I dare not fold
My arms about thee--scarcely dare to speak.
And nothing seems to me so wild and bold,
As with one kiss to touch thy blessed cheek.
Methinks if I should kiss thee, no control
Within the thrilling brain could keep afloat
The subtle spirit. Even while I spoke,
The bare word KISS hath made my inner soul
To tremble like a lutestring, ere the note
Hath melted in the silence that it broke.


Reprinted in 1872 among 'Early Sonnets' with two alterations, "If I
were loved" for "But were I loved," and "tho'" for "though".

But were I loved, as I desire to be,
What is there in the great sphere of the earth,
And range of evil between death and birth,
That I should fear--if I were loved by thee?
All the inner, all the outer world of pain
Clear Love would pierce and cleave, if thou wert mine,
As I have heard that, somewhere in the main,
Fresh water-springs come up through bitter brine.
'Twere joy, not fear, clasped hand in hand with thee,
To wait for death--mute--careless of all ills,
Apart upon a mountain, though the surge
Of some new deluge from a thousand hills
Flung leagues of roaring foam into the gorge
Below us, as far on as eye could see.


Hesperus and his daughters three
That sing about the golden tree.


The Northwind fall'n, in the newstarred night
Zidonian Hanno, voyaging beyond
The hoary promontory of Soloe
Past Thymiaterion, in calmed bays,
Between the Southern and the Western Horn,
Heard neither warbling of the nightingale,
Nor melody o' the Lybian lotusflute
Blown seaward from the shore; but from a slope
That ran bloombright into the Atlantic blue,
Beneath a highland leaning down a weight
Of cliffs, and zoned below with cedarshade,
Came voices, like the voices in a dream,
Continuous, till he reached the other sea.



The golden apple, the golden apple, the hallowed fruit,
Guard it well, guard it warily,
Singing airily,
Standing about the charmed root.
Round about all is mute,
As the snowfield on the mountain-peaks,
As the sandfield at the mountain-foot.
Crocodiles in briny creeks
Sleep and stir not: all is mute.
If ye sing not, if ye make false measure,
We shall lose eternal pleasure,
Worth eternal want of rest.
Laugh not loudly: watch the treasure
Of the wisdom of the West.
In a corner wisdom whispers.
Five and three
(Let it not be preached abroad) make an awful mystery.
For the blossom unto three-fold music bloweth;
Evermore it is born anew;
And the sap to three-fold music floweth,
From the root
Drawn in the dark,
Up to the fruit,
Creeping under the fragrant bark,
Liquid gold, honeysweet thro' and thro'.
Keen-eyed Sisters, singing airily,
Looking warily
Every way,
Guard the apple night and day,
Lest one from the East come and take it away.


Father Hesper, Father Hesper, watch, watch, ever and aye,
Looking under silver hair with a silver eye.
Father, twinkle not thy stedfast sight;
Kingdoms lapse, and climates change, and races die;
Honour comes with mystery;
Hoarded wisdom brings delight.
Number, tell them over and number
How many the mystic fruittree holds,
Lest the redcombed dragon slumber
Rolled together in purple folds.
Look to him, father, lest he wink, and the golden apple be stol'n away,
For his ancient heart is drunk with over-watchings night and day,
Round about the hallowed fruit tree curled--
Sing away, sing aloud evermore in the wind, without stop,
Lest his scaled eyelid drop, For he is older than the world.
If he waken, we waken,
Rapidly levelling eager eyes.
If he sleep, we sleep,
Dropping the eyelid over the eyes.
If the golden apple be taken
The world will be overwise.
Five links, a golden chain, are we,
Hesper, the dragon, and sisters three,
Bound about the golden tree.


Father Hesper, Father Hesper, watch, watch, night and day,
Lest the old wound of the world be healed,
The glory unsealed,
The golden apple stol'n away,
And the ancient secret revealed.
Look from west to east along:
Father, old Himala weakens,
Caucasus is bold and strong.
Wandering waters unto wandering waters call;
Let them clash together, foam and fall.
Out of watchings, out of wiles,
Comes the bliss of secret smiles.
All things are not told to all,
Half-round the mantling night is drawn,
Purplefringed with even and dawn.
Hesper hateth Phosphor, evening hateth morn.


Every flower and every fruit the redolent breath
Of this warm seawind ripeneth,
Arching the billow in his sleep;
But the landwind wandereth,
Broken by the highland-steep,
Two streams upon the violet deep:
For the western sun and the western star,
And the low west wind, breathing afar,
The end of day and beginning of night
Make the apple holy and bright,
Holy and bright, round and full, bright and blest,
Mellowed in a land of rest;
Watch it warily day and night;
All good things are in the west,
Till midnoon the cool east light
Is shut out by the round of the tall hillbrow;
But when the fullfaced sunset yellowly
Stays on the flowering arch of the bough,
The luscious fruitage clustereth mellowly,
Goldenkernelled, goldencored,
Sunset-ripened, above on the tree,
The world is wasted with fire and sword,
But the apple of gold hangs over the sea,
Five links, a golden chain, are we,
Hesper, the dragon, and sisters three,
Daughters three,
Bound about
All round about
The gnarled bole of the charmed tree,
The golden apple, the golden apple, the hallowed fruit,
Guard it well, guard it warily,
Watch it warily,
Singing airily,
Standing about the charmed root.


Not reprinted till 1884 when it was unaltered, as it has remained since:
but the poem appended and printed by Tennyson (in the footnote) has not
been reprinted.

My Rosalind, my Rosalind,
My frolic falcon, with bright eyes,
Whose free delight, from any height of rapid flight,
Stoops at all game that wing the skies,
My Rosalind, my Rosalind,
My bright-eyed, wild-eyed falcon, whither,
Careless both of wind and weather,
Whither fly ye, what game spy ye,
Up or down the streaming wind?


The quick lark's closest-carolled strains,
The shadow rushing up the sea,
The lightningflash atween the rain,
The sunlight driving down the lea,
The leaping stream, the very wind,
That will not stay, upon his way,
To stoop the cowslip to the plains,
Is not so clear and bold and free
As you, my falcon Rosalind.
You care not for another's pains,
Because you are the soul of joy,
Bright metal all without alloy.
Life shoots and glances thro' your veins,
And flashes off a thousand ways,
Through lips and eyes in subtle rays.
Your hawkeyes are keen and bright,
Keen with triumph, watching still
To pierce me through with pointed light;
And oftentimes they flash and glitter
Like sunshine on a dancing rill,
And your words are seeming-bitter,
Sharp and few, but seeming-bitter
From excess of swift delight.


Come down, come home, my Rosalind,
My gay young hawk, my Rosalind:
Too long you keep the upper skies;
Too long you roam, and wheel at will;
But we must hood your random eyes,
That care not whom they kill,
And your cheek, whose brilliant hue
Is so sparkling fresh to view,
Some red heath-flower in the dew,
Touched with sunrise. We must bind
And keep you fast, my Rosalind,
Fast, fast, my wild-eyed Rosalind,
And clip your wings, and make you love:
When we have lured you from above,
And that delight of frolic flight, by day or night,
From North to South;
We'll bind you fast in silken cords,
And kiss away the bitter words
From off your rosy mouth. [1]

[Footnote 1: Perhaps the following lines may be allowed to stand as a
separate poem; originally they made part of the text, where they were
manifestly superfluous:--

My Rosalind, my Rosalind,
Bold, subtle, careless Rosalind,
Is one of those who know no strife
Of inward woe or outward fear;
To whom the slope and stream of life,
The life before, the life behind,
In the ear, from far and near,
Chimeth musically clear.
My falconhearted Rosalind,
Fullsailed before a vigorous wind,
Is one of those who cannot weep
For others' woes, but overleap
All the petty shocks and fears
That trouble life in early years,
With a flash of frolic scorn
And keen delight, that never falls
Away from freshness, self-upborne
With such gladness, as, whenever
The freshflushing springtime calls
To the flooding waters cool,
Young fishes, on an April morn,
Up and down a rapid river,
Leap the little waterfalls
That sing into the pebbled pool.
My happy falcon, Rosalind;
Hath daring fancies of her own,
Fresh as the dawn before the day,
Fresh as the early seasmell blown
Through vineyards from an inland bay.
My Rosalind, my Rosalind,
Because no shadow on you falls
Think you hearts are tennis balls
To play with, wanton Rosalind?]


Who can say
Why To-day
To-morrow will be yesterday?
Who can tell
Why to smell
The violet, recalls the dewy prime
Of youth and buried time?
The cause is nowhere found in rhyme.


Reprinted without alteration among the 'Juvenilia' in 1895.

I know her by her angry air,
Her brightblack eyes, her brightblack hair,
Her rapid laughters wild and shrill,
As laughter of the woodpecker
From the bosom of a hill.
'Tis Kate--she sayeth what she will;
For Kate hath an unbridled tongue,
Clear as the twanging of a harp.
Her heart is like a throbbing star.
Kate hath a spirit ever strung
Like a new bow, and bright and sharp
As edges of the scymetar.
Whence shall she take a fitting mate?
For Kate no common love will feel;
My woman-soldier, gallant Kate,
As pure and true as blades of steel.

Kate saith "the world is void of might".
Kate saith "the men are gilded flies".
Kate snaps her fingers at my vows;
Kate will not hear of lover's sighs.
I would I were an armed knight,
Far famed for wellwon enterprise,
And wearing on my swarthy brows
The garland of new-wreathed emprise:
For in a moment I would pierce
The blackest files of clanging fight,
And strongly strike to left and right,
In dreaming of my lady's eyes.
Oh! Kate loves well the bold and fierce;


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