Alfred, Lord Tennyson2017-12-04T22:23:18-07:00

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

A Character

With a half-glance upon the sky
At night he said, “The wanderings
Of this most intricate Universe
Teach me the nothingness of things.”
Yet could not all creation pierce
Beyond the bottom of his eye.

He spake of beauty: that the dull
Saw no divinity in grass,
Life in dead stones, or spirit in air;
Then looking as ’twere in a glass,
He smooth’d his chin and sleek’d his hair,
And said the earth was beautiful.

He spake of virtue: not

A Dedication

DEAR, near and true—no truer Time himself
Can prove you, tho’ he make you evermore
Dearer and nearer, as the rapid of life
Shoots to the fall—take this, and pray that he,
Who wrote it, honoring your sweet faith in him,
May trust himself; and spite of praise and scorn,
As one who feels the immeasurable world,
Attain the wise indifference of the wise;
And after Autumn past—if left to pass
His autumn into seeming-leafless days-
Draw toward the

A Dirge

I.

Now is done thy long day’s work;
Fold thy palms across thy breast,
Fold thine arms, turn to thy rest.
Let them rave.
Shadows of the silver birk
Sweep the green that folds thy grave.
Let them rave.

II.

Thee nor carketh care nor slander;
Nothing but the small cold worm
Fretteth thine enshrouded form.
Let them rave.
Light and shadow ever wander
O’er the green that folds thy grave.
Let them rave.

III.

Thou wilt not turn upon thy bed;
Chaunteth not the brooding bee
Sweeter

A Dream of Fair Women

I read, before my eyelids dropt their shade,
‘The Legend of Good Women,’ long ago
Sung by the morning star of song, who made
His music heard below;

Dan Chaucer, the first warbler, whose sweet breath
Preluded those melodious bursts that fill
The spacious times of great Elizabeth
With sounds that echo still.

And, for a while, the knowledge of his art
Held me above the subject, as strong gales
Hold swollen clouds from raining, tho’ my heart,
Brimful of

A Farewell

Flow down, cold rivulet, to the sea,
Thy tribute wave deliver:
No more by thee my steps shall be,
For ever and for ever.

Flow, softly flow, by lawn and lea,
A rivulet then a river:
Nowhere by thee my steps shall be
For ever and for ever.

But here will sigh thine alder tree
And here thine aspen shiver;
And here by thee will hum the bee,
For ever and for ever.

A thousand suns will stream on thee,
A thousand

A Voice By The Cedar Tree

A voice by cedar tree
In the meadow under the Hall!
She is singing an air that is known to me,
A passionate ballad gallant and gay,
A martial song like a trumpet’s call!
Singing of men that in battle array
Ready in heart and ready in hand,
March with banner and bugle and fife
To the death, for their native land.

Maud with her exquisite face,
And wild voice pealing up to the sunny sky,
And feet like sunny

A Voice Spake Out Of The Skies

A voice spake out of the skies
To a just man and a wise-
‘The world and all within it
Will only last a minute!’
And a beggar began to cry
‘Food, food or I die’!
Is it worth his while to eat,
Or mine to give him meat,
If the world and all within it
Were nothing the next minute?
-Alfred, Lord Tennyson

A Welcome To Alexandra

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 bird, in the new-budded bowers!
Blazon your mottos of blessing and prayer!
Welcome her, welcome her, all

Achilles Over The Trench

ILIAD, XVIII. 2O2.

So saying, light-foot Iris pass’d away.
Then rose Achilles dear to Zeus; and round
The warrior’s puissant shoulders Pallas flung
Her fringed ægis, and around his head
The glorious goddess wreath’d a golden cloud,
And from it lighted an all-shining flame.
As when a smoke from a city goes to heaven
Far off from out an island girt by foes,
All day the men contend in grievous war
From their own city, but with set of

Adeline

I.
Mystery of mysteries,
Faintly smiling Adeline,
Scarce of earth nor all divine,
Nor unhappy, nor at rest,
But beyond expression fair
With thy floating flaxen hair;
Thy rose-lips and full blue eyes
Take the heart from out my breast.
Wherefore those dim looks of thine,
Shadowy, dreaming Adeline?

II.
Whence that aery bloom of thine,
Like a lily which the sun
Looks thro’ in his sad decline,
And a rose-bush leans upon,
Thou that faintly smilest still,
As a Naiad in a well,
Looking at the

After Thought

I thought of Thee, my partner and my guide,
As being past away. -Vain sympathies!
For backward, Duddon! as I cast my eyes,
I see what was, and is, and will abide;
Still glides the Stream, and shall not cease to glide;
The Form remains, the Function never dies;
While we, the brave, the mighty, and the wise,
We Men, who in our morn of youth defied
The elements, must vanish; -be it so!
Enough, if something from

Akbar’s Dream

AN INSCRIPTION BY ABUL FAZL FOR A TEMPLE IN KASHMIR (Blochmann xxxii.)

O God in every temple I see people that see thee,
and in every language I hear spoken, people praise thee.
Polytheism and Islám feel after thee.
Each religion says, ‘Thou art one, without equal.’
If it be a mosque people murmur the holy prayer,
and if it be a Christian Church, people ring the bell from love to Thee.
Sometimes I frequent the

All Things Will Die

All Things will Die

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

Amphion

My father left a park to me,
But it is wild and barren,
A garden too with scarce a tree,
And waster than a warren:
Yet say the neighbours when they call,
It is not bad but good land,
And in it is the germ of all
That grows within the woodland.

O had I lived when song was great
In days of old Amphion,
And ta’en my fiddle to the gate,
Nor cared for seed or scion!
And had I

And Ask Ye Why These Sad Tears Stream?

‘Te somnia nostra reducunt.’
OVID.

And ask ye why these sad tears stream?
Why these wan eyes are dim with weeping?
I had a dream–a lovely dream,
Of her that in the grave is sleeping.

I saw her as ’twas yesterday,
The bloom upon her cheek still glowing;
And round her play’d a golden ray,
And on her brows were gay flowers blowing.

With angel-hand she swept a lyre,
A garland red with roses bound it;
Its strings were wreath’d with

As thro’ the land of eve we went

As thro’ the land of eve we went,
And pluck’d the ripen’d ears,
We fell out, my wife and I,
O, we fell out, I know not why,
And kiss’d again with tears.
And blessings on the falling out
That all the more endears,
When we fall out with those we love
And kiss’d again with tears!
For when we came where lies the child
We lost in other years,
There above the little grave,
O, there above the little grave,
We

Ask Me No More

Ask me no more: the moon may draw the sea;
The cloud may stoop from heaven and take the shape,
With fold to fold, of mountain or of cape;
But O too fond, when have I answer’d thee?
Ask me no more.

Ask me no more: what answer should I give?
I love not hollow cheek or faded eye:
Yet, O my friend, I will not have thee die!
Ask me no more, lest I should bid

Audley Court

Audley Court

‘The Bull, the Fleece are cramm’d, and not a room
For love or money. Let us picnic there
At Audley Court.’

I spoke, while Audley feast

Humm’d like a hive all round the narrow quay,
To Francis, with a basket on his arm,
To Francis just alighted from the boat,
And breathing of the sea. ‘With all my heart,’
Said Francis. Then we shoulder’d thro’ the swarm,
And rounded by the stillness of the beach
To where the

Aylmer’s Field

Dust are our frames; and gilded dust, our pride
Looks 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 shape
Came from a grizzled cripple, whom I saw
Sunning himself in a waste field alone—
Old, and a mine of memories—who

Balin And Balan

Pellam the King, who held and lost with Lot
In that first war, and had his realm restored
But rendered tributary, failed of late
To send his tribute; wherefore Arthur called
His 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 God in man.’
His Baron said
‘We go but harken: there be two strange knights

Who sit

Battle Of Brunanburgh

Athelstan King,
Lord among Earls,
Bracelet-bestower and
Baron of Barons,
He with his brother,
Edmund Atheling,
Gaining a lifelong
Glory in battle,
Slew with the sword-edge
There by Brunanburh,
Brake the shield-wall,
Hew’d the lindenwood,
Hack’d the battleshield,
Sons of Edward with hammer’d brands.

Theirs was a greatness
Got from their Grandsires–
Theirs that so often in
Strife with their enemies
Struck for their hoards and their hearths and their homes.

Bow’d the spoiler,
Bent the Scotsman,
Fell the shipcrews
Doom’d to the death.
All the field with blood of the fighters
Flow’d,

Beautiful City

Beautiful city, the centre and crater of European confusion,
O you with your passionate shriek for the rights of an equal
humanity,
How often your Re-volution has proven but E-volution
Roll’d again back on itself in the tides of a civic insanity!
-Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Blow, Bugle, Blow

The splendour falls on castle walls
And snowy summits old in story:
The long light shakes across the lakes,
And the wild cataract leaps in glory.
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.

O hark, O hear! how thin and clear,
And thinner, clearer, farther going!
O sweet and far from cliff and scar
The horns of Elfland faintly blowing!
Blow, let us hear the purple glens replying:
Blow, bugle; answer, echoes,

Boadicea

While about the shore of Mona those Neronian legionaries
Burnt and broke the grove and altar of the Druid and Druidess,
Far in the East Boädicéa, standing loftily charioted,
Mad and maddening all that heard her in her fierce volubility,
Girt by half the tribes of Britain, near the colony Cámulodúne,
Yell’d and shriek’d between her daughters o’er a wild confederacy.

‘They that scorn the tribes and call us Britain’s barbarous populaces,
Did they hear me,

Break, break, break

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 vanished hand,
And the sound of a voice