Tennyson's Poems


First printed in 1833.

Another of Tennyson's delicious fancy portraits, the twin sister to Adeline.


O sweet pale Margaret,

O rare pale Margaret,

What lit your eyes with tearful power,

Like moonlight on a falling shower?

Who lent you, love, your mortal dower

Of pensive thought and aspect pale,

Your melancholy sweet and frail

As perfume of the cuckoo-flower?

From the westward-winding flood,

From the evening-lighted wood,

From all things outward you have won

A tearful grace, as tho' [1] you stood

Between the rainbow and the sun.

The very smile before you speak,

That dimples your transparent cheek,

Encircles all the heart, and feedeth

The senses with a still delight

Of dainty sorrow without sound,

Like the tender amber round,

Which the moon about her spreadeth,

Moving thro' a fleecy night.


You love, remaining peacefully,

To hear the murmur of the strife,

But enter not the toil of life.

Your spirit is the calmed sea,

Laid by the tumult of the fight.

You are the evening star, alway

Remaining betwixt dark and bright:

Lull'd echoes of laborious day

Come to you, gleams of mellow light

Float by you on the verge of night.


What can it matter, Margaret,

What songs below the waning stars

The lion-heart, Plantagenet, [2]

Sang looking thro' his prison bars?

Exquisite Margaret, who can tell

The last wild thought of Chatelet, [3]

Just ere the falling axe did part

The burning brain from the true heart,

Even in her sight he loved so well?


A fairy shield your Genius made

And gave you on your natal day.

Your sorrow, only sorrow's shade,

Keeps real sorrow far away.

You move not in such solitudes,

You are not less divine,

But more human in your moods,

Than your twin-sister, Adeline.

Your hair is darker, and your eyes

Touch'd with a somewhat darker hue,

And less aerially blue,

But ever trembling thro' the dew [4]

Of dainty-woeful sympathies.


O sweet pale Margaret,

O rare pale Margaret,

Come down, come down, and hear me speak:

Tie up the ringlets on your cheek:

The sun is just about to set.

The arching lines are tall and shady,

And faint, rainy lights are seen,

Moving in the leavy beech.

Rise from the feast of sorrow, lady,

Where all day long you sit between

Joy and woe, and whisper each.

Or only look across the lawn,

Look out below your bower-eaves,

Look down, and let your blue eyes dawn

Upon me thro' the jasmine-leaves. [5]

[Footnote 1: All editions except 1833 and 1853. Though.]

[Footnote 2: 1833. Lion-souled Plantagenet. For songs supposed to have] been composed by Richard I. during the time of his captivity see Sismondi, 'Litterature du Midi de l'Europe', vol. i., p. 149, and 'La Tour Tenebreuse' (1705), which contains a poem said to have been written by Richard and Blondel in mixed Romance and Provencal, and a love-song in Norman French, which have frequently been reprinted. See, too, Barney's 'Hist. of Music', vol. ii., p. 238, and Walpole's 'Royal and Noble Authors', sub.-tit. "Richard I.," and the fourth volume of Reynouard's 'Choix des Poesies des Troubadours'. All these poems are probably spurious.

[Footnote 3: Chatelet was a poet-squire in the suite of the Marshal] Damville, who was executed for a supposed intrigue with Mary Queen of Scots. See Tytler, 'History of Scotland', vi., p. 319, and Mr. Swinburne's tragedy.

[Footnote 4: 1833.]

And more aerially blue,

And ever trembling thro' the dew.

[Footnote 5: 1833. Jasmin-leaves.]