Tennyson's Poems

The Beggar Maid

First published in 1842, not altered since.

Suggested probably by the fine ballad in Percy's _Reliques_, first series, book ii., ballad vi.

Her arms across her breast she laid;

She was more fair than words can say:

Bare-footed came the beggar maid

Before the king Cophetua.

In robe and crown the king stept down,

To meet and greet her on her way;

"It is no wonder," said the lords,

"She is more beautiful than day".

As shines the moon in clouded skies,

She in her poor attire was seen:

One praised her ancles, one her eyes,

One her dark hair and lovesome mien:

So sweet a face, such angel grace,

In all that land had never been:

Cophetua sware a royal oath:

"This beggar maid shall be my queen!"