First published in 1842, but written in 1835. In it is incorporated, though with several alterations, 'The Sleeping Beauty', published among the poems of 1830, but excised in subsequent editions. Half extravaganza and half apologue, like the 'Midsummer Night's Dream', this delightful poem may be safely left to deliver its own message and convey its own meaning. It is an excellent illustration of the truth of Tennyson's own remark: "Poetry is like shot silk with many glancing colours. Every reader must find his own interpretation according to his ability, and according to his sympathy with the poet."
(No alteration has been made in the Prologue since 1842.)
O, Lady Flora, let me speak:
A pleasant hour has past away
While, dreaming on your damask cheek,
The dewy sister-eyelids lay.
As by the lattice you reclined,
I went thro' many wayward moods
To see you dreaming--and, behind,
A summer crisp with shining woods.
And I too dream'd, until at last
Across my fancy, brooding warm,
The reflex of a legend past,
And loosely settled into form.
And would you have the thought I had,
And see the vision that I saw,
Then take the broidery-frame, and add
A crimson to the quaint Macaw,
And I will tell it. Turn your face,
Nor look with that too-earnest eye--
The rhymes are dazzled from their place,
And order'd words asunder fly.