Tennyson's Poems



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 following:--

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;

But none are bold enough for Kate,

She cannot find a fitting mate.


Written, on hearing of the outbreak of the Polish Insurrection.

Blow ye the trumpet, gather from afar

The hosts to battle: be not bought and sold.

Arise, brave Poles, the boldest of the bold;

Break through your iron shackles--fling them far.

O for those days of Piast, ere the Czar

Grew to this strength among his deserts cold;

When even to Moscow's cupolas were rolled

The growing murmurs of the Polish war!

Now must your noble anger blaze out more

Than when from Sobieski, clan by clan,

The Moslem myriads fell, and fled before--

Than when Zamoysky smote the Tartar Khan,

Than earlier, when on the Baltic shore

Boleslas drove the Pomeranian.


Reprinted without alteration in 1872, except the removal of italics in "now" among the 'Early Sonnets'.

How long, O God, shall men be ridden down,

And trampled under by the last and least

Of men? The heart of Poland hath not ceased

To quiver, tho' her sacred blood doth drown

The fields; and out of every smouldering town

Cries to Thee, lest brute Power be increased,

Till that o'ergrown Barbarian in the East

Transgress his ample bound to some new crown:--

Cries to thee, "Lord, how long shall these things be?

How long this icyhearted Muscovite

Oppress the region?" Us, O Just and Good,

Forgive, who smiled when she was torn in three;

Us, who stand now, when we should aid the right--

A matter to be wept with tears of blood!


Reprinted without alteration as first of the 'Early Sonnets' in 1872; subsequently in the twelfth line "That tho'" was substituted for "Altho'," and the last line was altered to--

"And either lived in either's heart and speech,"

and "hath" was not italicised.

As when with downcast eyes we muse and brood,

And ebb into a former life, or seem

To lapse far back in some confused dream

To states of mystical similitude;

If one but speaks or hems or stirs his chair,

Ever the wonder waxeth more and more,

So that we say, "All this hath been before,

All this _hath_ been, I know not when or where".

So, friend, when first I look'd upon your face,

Our thought gave answer each to each, so true--

Opposed mirrors each reflecting each--

Altho' I knew not in what time or place,

Methought that I had often met with you,

And each had lived in the other's mind and speech.



O darling room, my heart's delight,

Dear room, the apple of my sight,

With thy two couches soft and white,

There is no room so exquisite,

No little room so warm and bright,

Wherein to read, wherein to write.


For I the Nonnenwerth have seen,

And Oberwinter's vineyards green,

Musical Lurlei; and between

The hills to Bingen have I been,

Bingen in Darmstadt, where the Rhene

Curves towards Mentz, a woody scene.


Yet never did there meet my sight,

In any town, to left or right,

A little room so exquisite,

With two such couches soft and white;

Not any room so warm and bright,

Wherein to read, wherein to write.


You did late review my lays,

Crusty Christopher;

You did mingle blame and praise,

Rusty Christopher.

When I learnt from whom it came,

I forgave you all the blame,

Musty Christopher;

I could _not_ forgive the praise,

Fusty Christopher.


This silly poem was first published in the edition of 1842, and was retained unaltered till 1851, when it was finally suppressed.

Sure never yet was Antelope

Could skip so lightly by,

Stand off, or else my skipping-rope

Will hit you in the eye.

How lightly whirls the skipping-rope!

How fairy-like you fly!

Go, get you gone, you muse and mope--

I hate that silly sigh.

Nay, dearest, teach me how to hope,

Or tell me how to die.

There, take it, take my skipping-rope,

And hang yourself thereby.



Printed in the Cambridge 'Chronicle and Journal' for Friday, 10th July, 1839, and at the University Press by James Smith, among the 'Profusiones Academicae Praemiis annuis dignatae, et in Curia Cantabrigiensi Recitatae Comitiis Maximis' A.D. M.DCCCXXIX. Reprinted in an edition of the 'Cambridge Prize Poems' from 1813 to 1858 inclusive, by Messrs. Macmillan in 1859, but without any alteration, except in punctuation and the substitution of small letters for capitals where the change was appropriate; and again in 1893 in the appendix to the reprint of the 'Poems by Two Brothers'.

Deep in that lion-haunted island lies

A mystic city, goal of enterprise.


I stood upon the Mountain which o'erlooks

The narrow seas, whose rapid interval

Parts Afric from green Europe, when the Sun

Had fall'n below th' Atlantick, and above

The silent Heavens were blench'd with faery light,

Uncertain whether faery light or cloud,

Flowing Southward, and the chasms of deep, deep blue

Slumber'd unfathomable, and the stars

Were flooded over with clear glory and pale.

I gaz'd upon the sheeny coast beyond,

There where the Giant of old Time infixed

The limits of his prowess, pillars high

Long time eras'd from Earth: even as the sea

When weary of wild inroad buildeth up

Huge mounds whereby to stay his yeasty waves.

And much I mus'd on legends quaint and old

Which whilome won the hearts of all on Earth

Toward their brightness, ev'n as flame draws air;

But had their being in the heart of Man

As air is th' life of flame: and thou wert then

A center'd glory--circled Memory,

Divinest Atalantis, whom the waves

Have buried deep, and thou of later name

Imperial Eldorado roof'd with gold:

Shadows to which, despite all shocks of Change,

All on-set of capricious Accident,

Men clung with yearning Hope which would not die.

As when in some great City where the walls

Shake, and the streets with ghastly faces throng'd

Do utter forth a subterranean voice,

Among the inner columns far retir'd

At midnight, in the lone Acropolis.

Before the awful Genius of the place

Kneels the pale Priestess in deep faith, the while

Above her head the weak lamp dips and winks

Unto the fearful summoning without:

Nathless she ever clasps the marble knees,

Bathes the cold hand with tears, and gazeth on

Those eyes which wear no light but that wherewith

Her phantasy informs them. Where are ye

Thrones of the Western wave, fair Islands green?

Where are your moonlight halls, your cedarn glooms,

The blossoming abysses of your hills?

Your flowering Capes and your gold-sanded bays

Blown round with happy airs of odorous winds?

Where are the infinite ways which, Seraph-trod,

Wound thro' your great Elysian solitudes,

Whose lowest depths were, as with visible love,

Fill'd with Divine effulgence, circumfus'd,

Flowing between the clear and polish'd stems,

And ever circling round their emerald cones

In coronals and glories, such as gird

The unfading foreheads of the Saints in Heaven?

For nothing visible, they say, had birth

In that blest ground but it was play'd about

With its peculiar glory. Then I rais'd

My voice and cried "Wide Afric, doth thy Sun

Lighten, thy hills enfold a City as fair

As those which starr'd the night o' the Elder World?

Or is the rumour of thy Timbuctoo

A dream as frail as those of ancient Time?"

A curve of whitening, flashing, ebbing light!

A rustling of white wings! The bright descent

Of a young Seraph! and he stood beside me

There on the ridge, and look'd into my face

With his unutterable, shining orbs,

So that with hasty motion I did veil

My vision with both hands, and saw before me

Such colour'd spots as dance athwart the eyes

Of those that gaze upon the noonday Sun.

Girt with a Zone of flashing gold beneath

His breast, and compass'd round about his brow

With triple arch of everchanging bows,

And circled with the glory of living light

And alternation of all hues, he stood.

"O child of man, why muse you here alone

Upon the Mountain, on the dreams of old

Which fill'd the Earth with passing loveliness,

Which flung strange music on the howling winds,

And odours rapt from remote Paradise?

Thy sense is clogg'd with dull mortality,

Thy spirit fetter'd with the bond of clay:

Open thine eye and see." I look'd, but not

Upon his face, for it was wonderful

With its exceeding brightness, and the light

Of the great angel mind which look'd from out

The starry glowing of his restless eyes.

I felt my soul grow mighty, and my spirit

With supernatural excitation bound

Within me, and my mental eye grew large

With such a vast circumference of thought,

That in my vanity I seem'd to stand

Upon the outward verge and bound alone

Of full beautitude. Each failing sense

As with a momentary flash of light

Grew thrillingly distinct and keen. I saw

The smallest grain that dappled the dark Earth,

The indistinctest atom in deep air,

The Moon's white cities, and the opal width

Of her small glowing lakes, her silver heights

Unvisited with dew of vagrant cloud,

And the unsounded, undescended depth

Of her black hollows. The clear Galaxy

Shorn of its hoary lustre, wonderful,

Distinct and vivid with sharp points of light

Blaze within blaze, an unimagin'd depth

And harmony of planet-girded Suns

And moon-encircled planets, wheel in wheel,

Arch'd the wan Sapphire. Nay, the hum of men,

Or other things talking in unknown tongues,

And notes of busy life in distant worlds

Beat like a far wave on my anxious ear.

A maze of piercing, trackless, thrilling thoughts

Involving and embracing each with each

Rapid as fire, inextricably link'd,

Expanding momently with every sight

And sound which struck the palpitating sense,

The issue of strong impulse, hurried through

The riv'n rapt brain: as when in some large lake

From pressure of descendant crags, which lapse

Disjointed, crumbling from their parent slope

At slender interval, the level calm

Is ridg'd with restless and increasing spheres

Which break upon each other, each th' effect

Of separate impulse, but more fleet and strong

Than its precursor, till the eye in vain

Amid the wild unrest of swimming shade

Dappled with hollow and alternate rise

Of interpenetrated arc, would scan

Definite round.

I know not if I shape

These things with accurate similitude

From visible objects, for but dimly now,

Less vivid than a half-forgotten dream,

The memory of that mental excellence

Comes o'er me, and it may be I entwine

The indecision of my present mind

With its past clearness, yet it seems to me

As even then the torrent of quick thought

Absorbed me from the nature of itself

With its own fleetness. Where is he that borne

Adown the sloping of an arrowy stream,

Could link his shallop to the fleeting edge,

And muse midway with philosophic calm

Upon the wondrous laws which regulate

The fierceness of the bounding element?

My thoughts which long had grovell'd in the slime

Of this dull world, like dusky worms which house

Beneath unshaken waters, but at once

Upon some earth-awakening day of spring

Do pass from gloom to glory, and aloft

Winnow the purple, bearing on both sides

Double display of starlit wings which burn

Fanlike and fibred, with intensest bloom:

E'en so my thoughts, ere while so low, now felt

Unutterable buoyancy and strength

To bear them upward through the trackless fields

Of undefin'd existence far and free.

Then first within the South methought I saw

A wilderness of spires, and chrystal pile

Of rampart upon rampart, dome on dome,

Illimitable range of battlement

On battlement, and the Imperial height

Of Canopy o'ercanopied.


In diamond light, upsprung the dazzling Cones

Of Pyramids, as far surpassing Earth's

As Heaven than Earth is fairer. Each aloft

Upon his narrow'd Eminence bore globes

Of wheeling suns, or stars, or semblances

Of either, showering circular abyss

Of radiance. But the glory of the place

Stood out a pillar'd front of burnish'd gold

Interminably high, if gold it were

Or metal more ethereal, and beneath

Two doors of blinding brilliance, where no gaze

Might rest, stood open, and the eye could scan

Through length of porch and lake and boundless hall,

Part of a throne of fiery flame, where from

The snowy skirting of a garment hung,

And glimpse of multitudes of multitudes

That minister'd around it--if I saw

These things distinctly, for my human brain

Stagger'd beneath the vision, and thick night

Came down upon my eyelids, and I fell.

With ministering hand he rais'd me up;

Then with a mournful and ineffable smile,

Which but to look on for a moment fill'd

My eyes with irresistible sweet tears,

In accents of majestic melody,

Like a swol'n river's gushings in still night

Mingled with floating music, thus he spake:

"There is no mightier Spirit than I to sway

The heart of man: and teach him to attain

By shadowing forth the Unattainable;

And step by step to scale that mighty stair

Whose landing-place is wrapt about with clouds

Of glory of Heaven. [1] With earliest Light of Spring,

And in the glow of sallow Summertide,

And in red Autumn when the winds are wild

With gambols, and when full-voiced Winter roofs

The headland with inviolate white snow,

I play about his heart a thousand ways,

Visit his eyes with visions, and his ears

With harmonies of wind and wave and wood--

Of winds which tell of waters, and of waters

Betraying the close kisses of the wind--

And win him unto me: and few there be

So gross of heart who have not felt and known

A higher than they see: They with dim eyes

Behold me darkling. Lo! I have given thee

To understand my presence, and to feel

My fullness; I have fill'd thy lips with power.

I have rais'd thee nigher to the Spheres of Heaven,

Man's first, last home: and thou with ravish'd sense

Listenest the lordly music flowing from

Th'illimitable years. I am the Spirit,

The permeating life which courseth through

All th' intricate and labyrinthine veins

Of the great vine of Fable, which, outspread

With growth of shadowing leaf and clusters rare,

Reacheth to every corner under Heaven,

Deep-rooted in the living soil of truth:

So that men's hopes and fears take refuge in

The fragrance of its complicated glooms

And cool impleached twilights. Child of Man,

See'st thou yon river, whose translucent wave,

Forth issuing from darkness, windeth through

The argent streets o' the City, imaging

The soft inversion of her tremulous Domes.

Her gardens frequent with the stately Palm,

Her Pagods hung with music of sweet bells.

Her obelisks of ranged Chrysolite,

Minarets and towers? Lo! how he passeth by,

And gulphs himself in sands, as not enduring

To carry through the world those waves, which bore

The reflex of my City in their depths.

Oh City! Oh latest Throne! where I was rais'd

To be a mystery of loveliness

Unto all eyes, the time is well nigh come

When I must render up this glorious home

To keen 'Discovery': soon yon brilliant towers

Shall darken with the waving of her wand;

Darken, and shrink and shiver into huts,

Black specks amid a waste of dreary sand,

Low-built, mud-wall'd, Barbarian settlement,

How chang'd from this fair City!"

Thus far the Spirit:

Then parted Heavenward on the wing: and I

Was left alone on Calpe, and the Moon

Had fallen from the night, and all was dark!

[Footnote 1: Be ye perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.]


1830. Poems, chiefly Lyrical, by Alfred Tennyson. London: Effingham

Wilson, 1830.

1832. Poems by Alfred Tennyson. London: Edward Moxon, 1833 (published at

the end of 1832).

1837. In the 'Keepsake', an Annual, appears the poem "St. Agnes' Eve,"

afterwards republished in the Poems of 1842, as "St. Agnes".

1842. 'Morte d'Arthur, Dora, and other Idyls'. (Privately printed for

the Author.)

1842. Poems. In 2 vols. By Alfred Tennyson. London: Edward Moxon, Dover

Street, 1842.

1843. 'Id'. 2 vols. Second Edition, 1843.

1845. 'Id'. Third Edition, 1845.

1846. 'Id'. Fourth Edition, 1846.

1848. 'Id.' Fifth Edition, 1848.

1849. In the 'Examiner' for 24th March, 1849, appeared the poem "To----,

after reading a Life and Letters," republished in the Sixth Edition of the Poems.

1850. Poems. 2 vols. Sixth Edition, 1850.

1851. In the 'Keepsake' appeared the verses: "Come not when I am Dead,"

reprinted in the Seventh Edition of the Poems.

1851. Poems. Seventh Edition. London: Edward Moxon, 1851. i vol.

1853. 'Id'. Eighth Edition, 1853. i vol.

1857. Poems by Alfred Tennyson, Poet Laureate. With engraving of bust by

Woolner, and illustrations by Thomas Creswick, John Everett

Millais, William Holman Hunt, William Macready, John Calcott

Horsley, Dante Gabriel Rosetti, Clarkson Stanfield, and Daniel

Maclise. Pp. xiii., 375. London: Edward Moxon, 1857. 8vo.

1862. Poems MDCCCXXX, MDCCCXXXIII. Privately printed. This was

suppressed by an injunction in Chancery. It was compiled and

edited by Mr. Dykes Campbell for Camden Hotten.

1863. Poems by Alfred Tennyson, D.C.L. I vol. Edward Moxon, 1863.

(Recorded as being the Fifteenth Edition, but I have not seen any

Edition between 1857 and this one.)

1865. A selection from the works of Alfred Tennyson. Poet Laureate.

(Moxon's Miniature Poets.) Edward Moxon & Co., 1865. Containing

several minor alterations, and an additional couplet in the

"Vision of Sin".

1869. Pocket Edition of Complete Poems. Strahan, 1869. (I have not seen

this, but it is entered in the London Catalogue.)

1870. 'Id'. Post-Octavo, 1870 (entered in the London Catalogue).

1871. Miniature or Cabinet Edition of the Complete Works of Alfred

Tennyson, printed by Whittaker, Strahan & Co., 1871.

1871. Complete Works. Edited by A. C. Loffalt. Rotterdam: 12mo, 1871.

1872. Imperial Library Edition of the Works of Alfred Tennyson. In 6

vols. Strahan & Co., 1872.

1874-7. The Works of Alfred Tennyson. Cabinet edition in 10 vols.

H.S.King. London: 1874-1877.

1875. The Poetical Works of Alfred Tennyson. 6 vols. H. S. King.


1875. The Author's Edition in 4 vols. Henry S. King & Co. 1875.

1877. The Works of Alfred Tennyson. H. S. King. 7 vols. 1877, and in the

same year by the same publisher the completion of the Miniature


1881. The Works of Alfred Tennyson. With portrait and illustrations,

1881. C. Kegan Paul & Co.

1884. The Works of Alfred Tennyson. Macmillan & Co., 1884. In the same

year a school edition in four parts by the same publishers.

1885. The Poetical Works of Alfred Tennyson. Complete Edition. New York:

T. Y. Cowell & Co., 1885.

1886. The Poetical Works of Alfred Tennyson. In 10 vols. Macmillan &

Co., 1886.

1886-91. The Poetical Works of Alfred Tennyson. 12 vols. (The dramatic

works in 4 vols.) 16 vols. 1886-91.

1889. The Works of Alfred Tennyson. London: Macmillan & Co., 1889.

1890. The Poetical Works of Alfred Tennyson. Pocket Edition, without the

plays. London: Macmillan & Co., 1890.

1890. Selections. Edited by Rowe and Webb (frequently reprinted).

1891. Complete Works, i vol. Reprinted ten times between this date and

November, 1899.

1891. Poetical Works. Miniature Edition. 12 vols.

1891. Tennyson for the Young, i vol. With introduction and notes by

Alfred Ainger, reprinted six times between this date and 1899.

1893. Poems. Illustrated. I vol. (This contains the poems and

illustrations of the Illustrated Edition published in 1857.)

1894. The Works of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Poet Laureate, with last

alterations, etc. London: Macmillan & Co., 1894.

1895. The Poetical Works of Alfred, Lord Tennyson (without the plays).

(The People's Edition.) London: Macmillan & Co., 1895.

1896. 'Id.' Pocket Edition.

1898. The Life and Works of Alfred, Lord Tennyson. (Edition de Luxe.) 12

vols. Macmillan & Co., 1898.

1899. The Works of Alfred Tennyson. 8 vols.

1899. Poetical Works of Alfred Lord Tennyson. Globe Edition. Macmillan.

This Edition was supplied to Messrs. Warne and published by them

as the Albion Edition.

1899. Poems including 'In Memoriam'. Popular Edition, 1 vol.