Tennyson's Poems


First printed in 1830.


Airy, fairy Lilian,

Flitting, fairy Lilian,

When I ask her if she love me,

Claps her tiny hands above me,

Laughing all she can;

She'll not tell me if she love me,

Cruel little Lilian.


When my passion seeks

Pleasance in love-sighs

She, looking thro' and thro' [1] me

Thoroughly to undo me,

Smiling, never speaks:

So innocent-arch, so cunning-simple,

From beneath her gather'd wimple [2]

Glancing with black-beaded eyes,

Till the lightning laughters dimple

The baby-roses in her cheeks;

Then away she flies.


Prythee weep, May Lilian!

Gaiety without eclipse

Wearieth me, May Lilian:

Thro' [3] my very heart it thrilleth

When from crimson-threaded [4] lips

Silver-treble laughter [5] trilleth:

Prythee weep, May Lilian.


Praying all I can,

If prayers will not hush thee,

Airy Lilian,

Like a rose-leaf I will crush thee,

Fairy Lilian.

[Footnote 1: 1830. Through and through me.]

[Footnote 2: 1830. Purfled.]

[Footnote 3: 1830. Through.]

[Footnote 4: With "crimson-threaded" 'cf.' Cleveland's 'Sing-song on] Clarinda's Wedding', "Her 'lips those threads of scarlet dye'"; but the original is 'Solomons Song' iv. 3, "Thy lips are 'like a thread of scarlet'".

[Footnote 5: 1830. Silver treble-laughter.]