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33 Works of Alfred Lord Tennyson

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FROM “IN MEMORIAM.” First Year. The time draws near the birth of Christ The moon is hid; the night is still; The Christmas bells from hill to hill Answer each other in the mist. Four voices of four hamlets round, From far and near, on mead and moor, Swell out and fail, as if a […]

The Epic

Story type: Poetry

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At Francis Allen’s on the Christmas eve,– The game of forfeits done–the girls all kissed Beneath the sacred bush and past away,– The parson Holmes, the poet Everard Hall, The host, and I sat round the wassail-bowl, Then half-way ebbed: and there we held a talk, How all the old honor had from Christmas gone, […]

The last tall son of Lot and Bellicent,And tallest, Gareth, in a showerful springStared at the spate. A slender-shafted PineLost footing, fell, and so was whirled away.‘How he went down,’ said Gareth, ‘as a false knightOr evil king before my lance if lanceWere mine to use–O senseless cataract,Bearing all down in thy precipitancy–And yet thou […]

Leodogran, the King of Cameliard,Had one fair daughter, and none other child;And she was the fairest of all flesh on earth,Guinevere, and in her his one delight. For many a petty king ere Arthur cameRuled in this isle, and ever waging warEach upon other, wasted all the land;And still from time to time the heathen […]

These to His Memory–since he held them dear,Perchance as finding there unconsciouslySome image of himself–I dedicate,I dedicate, I consecrate with tears–These Idylls. And indeed He seems to meScarce other than my king’s ideal knight,`Who reverenced his conscience as his king;Whose glory was, redressing human wrong;Who spake no slander, no, nor listened to it;Who loved one […]

Elaine the fair, Elaine the loveable,Elaine, the lily maid of Astolat,High in her chamber up a tower to the eastGuarded the sacred shield of Lancelot;Which first she placed where the morning’s earliest rayMight strike it, and awake her with the gleam;Then fearing rust or soilure fashioned for itA case of silk, and braided thereuponAll the […]

Merlin and Vivien

Story type: Poetry

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A storm was coming, but the winds were still,And in the wild woods of Broceliande,Before an oak, so hollow, huge and oldIt looked a tower of ivied masonwork,At Merlin’s feet the wily Vivien lay. For he that always bare in bitter grudgeThe slights of Arthur and his Table, MarkThe Cornish King, had heard a wandering […]

Balin and Balan

Story type: Poetry

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Pellam the King, who held and lost with LotIn that first war, and had his realm restoredBut rendered tributary, failed of lateTo send his tribute; wherefore Arthur calledHis treasurer, one of many years, and spake,‘Go thou with him and him and bring it to us,Lest we should set one truer on his throne.Man’s word is […]

Geraint and Enid

Story type: Poetry

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O purblind race of miserable men,How many among us at this very hourDo forge a life-long trouble for ourselves,By taking true for false, or false for true;Here, through the feeble twilight of this worldGroping, how many, until we pass and reachThat other, where we see as we are seen! So fared it with Geraint, who […]

The brave Geraint, a knight of Arthur’s court,A tributary prince of Devon, oneOf that great Order of the Table Round,Had married Enid, Yniol’s only child,And loved her, as he loved the light of Heaven.And as the light of Heaven varies, nowAt sunrise, now at sunset, now by nightWith moon and trembling stars, so loved GeraintTo […]

That story which the bold Sir Bedivere,First made and latest left of all the knights,Told, when the man was no more than a voiceIn the white winter of his age, to thoseWith whom he dwelt, new faces, other minds. For on their march to westward, Bedivere,Who slowly paced among the slumbering host,Heard in his tent […]

Guinevere

Story type: Poetry

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Queen Guinevere had fled the court, and satThere in the holy house at AlmesburyWeeping, none with her save a little maid,A novice: one low light betwixt them burnedBlurred by the creeping mist, for all abroad,Beneath a moon unseen albeit at full,The white mist, like a face-cloth to the face,Clung to the dead earth, and the […]

King Arthur made new knights to fill the gapLeft by the Holy Quest; and as he satIn hall at old Caerleon, the high doorsWere softly sundered, and through these a youth,Pelleas, and the sweet smell of the fieldsPast, and the sunshine came along with him. `Make me thy knight, because I know, Sir King,All that […]

The Holy Grail

Story type: Poetry

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From noiseful arms, and acts of prowess doneIn tournament or tilt, Sir Percivale,Whom Arthur and his knighthood called The Pure,Had passed into the silent life of prayer,Praise, fast, and alms; and leaving for the cowlThe helmet in an abbey far awayFrom Camelot, there, and not long after, died. And one, a fellow-monk among the rest,Ambrosius, […]

Sea Dreams

Story type: Poetry

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A city clerk, but gently born and bred;His wife, an unknown artist’s orphan child–One babe was theirs, a Margaret, three years old:They, thinking that her clear germander eyeDroopt in the giant-factoried city-gloom,Came, with a month’s leave given them, to the sea:For which his gains were dock’d, however small:Small were his gains, and hard his work; […]

Aylmer’s Field

Story type: Poetry

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Dust are our frames; and gilded dust, our prideLooks only for a moment whole and sound;Like that long-buried body of the king,Found lying with his urns and ornaments,Which at a touch of light, an air of heaven,Slipt into ashes and was found no more. Here is a story which in rougher shapeCame from a grizzled […]

Enoch Arden

Story type: Poetry

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Long lines of cliff breaking have left a chasm;And in the chasm are foam and yellow sands;Beyond, red roofs about a narrow wharfIn cluster; then a moulder’d church; and higherA long street climbs to one tall-tower’d mill;And high in heaven behind it a gray downWith Danish barrows; and a hazelwood,By autumn nutters haunted, flourishesGreen in […]

O loyal to the royal in thyself,And loyal to thy land, as this to thee–Bear witness, that rememberable day,When, pale as yet, and fever-worn, the PrinceWho scarce had plucked his flickering life againFrom halfway down the shadow of the grave,Past with thee through thy people and their love,And London rolled one tide of joy through […]

The Sailor Boy

Story type: Poetry

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He rose at dawn and, fired with hope,Shot o’er the seething harbor-bar,And reach’d the ship and caught the rope,And whistled to the morning star. And while he whistled long and loudHe heard a fierce mermaiden cry,`O boy, tho’ thou art young and proud,I see the place where thou wilt lie. `The sands and yeasty surges […]

The Flower

Story type: Poetry

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Once in a golden hourI cast to earth a seed.Up there came a flower,The people said, a weed. To and fro they wentThro’ my garden-bower,And muttering discontentCursed me and my flower. Then it grew so tallIt wore a crown of light,But thieves from o’er the wallStole the seed by night. Sow’d it far and wideBy […]

All along the valley, stream that flashest white,Deepening thy voice with the deepening of the night,All along the valley, where thy waters flow,I walk’d with one I loved two and thirty years ago.All along the valley while I walk’d to-day,The two and thirty years were a mist that rolls away;For all along the valley, down […]

Voyage

Story type: Poetry

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I.We left behind the painted buoyThat tosses at the harbor-mouth;And madly danced our hearts with joy,As fast we fleeted to the South:How fresh was every sight and soundOn open main or winding shore!We knew the merry world was round,And we might sail for evermore. II.Warm broke the breeze against the brow,Dry sang the tackle, sang […]

Tithonus

Story type: Poetry

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The woods decay, the woods decay and fall,The vapors weep their burthen to the ground,Man comes and tills the field and lies beneath,And after many a summer dies the swan.Me only cruel immortalityConsumes: I wither slowly in thine arms,Here at the quiet limit of the world,A white-hair’d shadow roaming like a dreamThe ever-silent spaces of […]

Uplift a thousand voices full and sweet,In this wide hall with earth’s inventions stored,And praise th’ invisible universal Lord,Who lets once more in peace the nations meet,Where Science, Art, and Labor have outpour’dTheir myriad horns of plenty at our feet. O silent father of our Kings to beMourn’d in this golden hour of jubilee,For this, […]

Northern Farmer

Story type: Poetry

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I. Wheer ‘asta bean saw long and mea liggin’ ‘ere aloan?Noorse? thoort nowt o’ a noorse: whoy, doctor’s abean an’ agoan:Says that I moant ‘a naw moor yaale: but I beant a fool:Git ma my yaale, fur I beant a-gooin’ to break my rule. II. Doctors, they knaws nowt, for a says what’s nawways true:Naw […]

March 7, 1863. Sea-kings’ daughter from over the sea,Alexandra!Saxon and Norman and Dane are we,But all of us Danes in our welcome of thee,Alexandra!Welcome her, thunders of fort and of fleet!Welcome her, thundering cheer of the street!Welcome her, all things youthful and sweet,Scatter the blossom under her feet!Break, happy land, into earlier flowers!Make music, O […]

The Ringlet

Story type: Poetry

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‘Your ringlets, your ringlets,That look so golden-gay,If you will give me one, but one,To kiss it night and day,Then never chilling touch of TimeWill turn it silver-gray;And then shall I know it is all true goldTo flame and sparkle and stream as of old,Till all the comets in heaven are cold,And all her stars decay.’‘Then […]

The Islet

Story type: Poetry

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‘Whither O whither love shall we go,For a score of sweet little summers or so’The sweet little wife of the singer said,On the day that follow’d the day she was wed,`Whither O whither love shall we go?’And the singer shaking his curly headTurn’d as he sat, and struck the keysThere at his right with a […]

So Hector said, and sea-like roar’d his host;Then loosed their sweating horses from the yoke,And each beside his chariot bound his own;And oxen from the city, and goodly sheepIn haste they drove, and honey-hearted wineAnd bread from out the houses brought, and heap’dTheir firewood, and the winds from off the plainRoll’d the rich vapor far […]

O you chorus of indolent reviewers,Irresponsible, indolent reviewers,Look, I come to the test, a tiny poemAll composed in a metre of Catullus,All in quantity, careful of my motion,Like the skater on ice that hardly bears him,Lest I fall unawares before the people,Waking laughter in indolent reviewers.Should I flounder awhile without a tumbleThro’ this metrification of […]

MILTON. Alcaics. O mighty-mouth’d inventor of harmonies,O skill’d to sing of Time or Eternity,God-gifted organ-voice of England,Milton, a name to resound for ages;Whose Titan angels, Gabriel, Abdiel,Starr’d from Jehovah’s gorgeous armouries,Tower, as the deep-domed empyreanRings to the roar of an angel onset–Me rather all that bowery loneliness,The brooks of Eden mazily murmuring,And bloom profuse and […]

While about the shore of Mona those Neronian legionariesBurnt and broke the grove and altar of the Druid and Druidess,Far in the East Boadicea, standing loftily charioted,Mad and maddening all that heard her in her fierce volubility,Girt by half the tribes of Britain, near the colony Camulodune,Yell’d and shriek’d between her daughters o’er a wild […]

Dagonet, the fool, whom Gawain in his moodsHad made mock-knight of Arthur’s Table Round,At Camelot, high above the yellowing woods,Danced like a wither’d leaf before the Hall.And toward him from the Hall, with harp in hand,And from the crown thereof a carcanetOf ruby swaying to and fro, the prizeOf Tristram in the jousts of yesterday,Came […]