Tennyson's Poems


First published in 1830.


Thou art not steep'd in golden languors,

No tranced summer calm is thine,

Ever varying Madeline.

Thro' [1] light and shadow thou dost range,

Sudden glances, sweet and strange,

Delicious spites and darling angers,

And airy [2] forms of flitting change.


Smiling, frowning, evermore,

Thou art perfect in love-lore.

Revealings deep and clear are thine

Of wealthy smiles: but who may know

Whether smile or frown be fleeter?

Whether smile or frown be sweeter,

Who may know?

Frowns perfect-sweet along the brow

Light-glooming over eyes divine,

Like little clouds sun-fringed, are thine,

Ever varying Madeline.

Thy smile and frown are not aloof

From one another,

Each to each is dearest brother;

Hues of the silken sheeny woof

Momently shot into each other.

All the mystery is thine;

Smiling, frowning, evermore,

Thou art perfect in love-lore,

Ever varying Madeline.


A subtle, sudden flame,

By veering passion fann'd,

About thee breaks and dances

When I would kiss thy hand,

The flush of anger'd shame

O'erflows thy calmer glances,

And o'er black brows drops down

A sudden curved frown:

But when I turn away,

Thou, willing me to stay,

Wooest not, nor vainly wranglest;

But, looking fixedly the while,

All my bounding heart entanglest

In a golden-netted smile;

Then in madness and in bliss,

If my lips should dare to kiss

Thy taper fingers amorously, [3]

Again thou blushest angerly;

And o'er black brows drops down

A sudden-curved frown.

[Footnote 1: 1830. Through.]

[Footnote 2: 1830. Aery.]

[Footnote 3: 1830. Three-times-three; though noted as an _erratum_ for] amorously.