Tennyson’s Suppressed Poems


Lord Tennyson wrote, by Royal request, two stanzas which were sung as part of God Save the Queen at a State concert in connection with the Princess Royal’s marriage: these were printed in the Times of January 26, 1858.

Alfred Tennyson

GOD bless our Prince and Bride!
God keep their lands allied,
    God save the Queen!
Clothe them with righteousness,
Crown them with happiness,
Them with all blessings bless,
    God save the Queen.

Fair fall this hallow’d hour,
Farewell our England’s flower,
    God save the Queen!
Farewell, fair rose of May!
Let both the peoples say,
God bless thy marriage-day,
    God bless the Queen.

LI =The Ringlet= [Published in Enoch Arden volume (London: E. Moxon & Co, 1864) and never reprinted.] ‘Your ringlets, your ringlets,     That look so golden-gay, If you will give me one, but one,     To kiss it night and day, Then never chilling touch of Time     Will turn it silver-gray; And then shall I know it is all true gold To flame and sparkle and stream as of old, Till all the comets in heaven are cold,     And all her stars decay.’ ‘Then take it, love, and put it by; This cannot change, nor yet can I.’ ‘My ringlet, my ringlet,     That art so golden-gay, Now never chilling touch of Time     Can turn thee silver-gray; And a lad may wink, and a girl may hint,     And a fool may say his say; For my doubts and fears were all amiss, And I swear henceforth by this and this, That a doubt will only come for a kiss,     And a fear to be kissed away.’ ‘Then kiss it, love, and put it by: If this can change, why so can I.’ O Ringlet, O Ringlet,     I kiss’d you night and day, And Ringlet, O Ringlet,     You still are golden-gay, But Ringlet, O Ringlet,     You should be silver-gray: For what is this which now I’m told, I that took you for true gold, She that gave you’s bought and sold,                 Sold, sold. O Ringlet, O Ringlet,     She blush’d a rosy red, When Ringlet, O Ringlet,     She clipt you from her head, And Ringlet, O Ringlet,     She gave you me, and said, ‘Come, kiss it, love, and put it by: If this can change, why so can I.’ O fie, you golden nothing, fie                 You golden lie. O Ringlet, O Ringlet,     I count you much to blame, For Ringlet, O Ringlet,     You put me much to shame, So Ringlet, O Ringlet,     I doom you to the flame. For what is this which now I learn, Has given all my faith a turn? Burn, you glossy heretic, burn,                     Burn, burn. LII =Song= [This first form of the Song in The Princess (’Home they brought her warrior dead’) was published only in Selections from Tennyson. London: E. Moxon & Co, 1864.] Home they brought him slain with spears.     They brought him home at even-fall: All alone she sits and hears     Echoes in his empty hall,         Sounding on the morrow. The Sun peeped in from open field,     The boy began to leap and prance,     Rode upon his father’s lance, Beat upon his father’s shield—         ‘Oh hush, my joy, my sorrow.’ LIII =1865-1866= [Published in Good Words for March 1, 1868 as a decorative page, with an accompanying full page plate by T. Dalziel. The lines were never reprinted.] I stood on a tower in the wet, And New Year and Old Year met, And winds were roaring and blowing; And I said, ‘O years that meet in tears, Have ye aught that is worth the knowing? ‘Science enough and exploring Wanderers coming and going Matter enough for deploring But aught that is worth the knowing?’ Seas at my feet were flowing Waves on the shingle pouring, Old Year roaring and blowing And New Year blowing and roaring. =The Lover’s Tale= 1833 [It was originally intended by Tennyson that this poem should form part of his 1833 volume. It was put in type and, according to custom, copies were distributed among his friends, when, on the eve of publication, he decided to omit it. Again, in 1869, it was sent to press with a new third part added, and was again withdrawn, the third part only—’The Golden Supper,’ founded on a story in Boccaccio’s Decameron—being published in the volume, ‘The Holy Grail.’ In 1866, 1870 and 1875, attempts had been made by Mr Herne Shepherd to publish editions of ‘The Lover’s Tale,’ reprinted from stray proof copies of the 1833 printing. Each of these attempts was repressed by Tennyson, and at last in 1879 the complete poem, as now included in the collected Works, was issued, with an apologetic reference to the necessity of reprinting the poem to prevent its circulation in an unauthorised form. But the 1879 issue is considerably altered from the original issue of 1833, as written by Tennyson in his nineteenth year. Since only as a product of Tennyson’s youth does the poem merit any attention, it has seemed good to reprint it here as originally written.] A FRAGMENT The Poem of the Lover’s Tale (the lover is supposed to be himself a poet) was written in my nineteenth year, and consequently contains nearly as many faults as words. That I deemed it not wholly unoriginal is my only apology for its publication—an apology lame and poor, and somewhat impertinent to boot: so that if its infirmities meet with more laughter than charity in the world, I shall not raise my voice in its defence. I am aware how deficient the Poem is in point of art, and it is not without considerable misgivings that I have ventured to publish even this fragment of it. ‘Enough,’ says the old proverb, ‘is as good as a feast.’—(Tennyson’s original introductory note.) Here far away, seen from the topmost cliff, Filling with purple gloom the vacancies Between the tufted hills the sloping seas Hung in mid-heaven, and half-way down rare sails, White as white clouds, floated from sky to sky. Oh! pleasant breast of waters, quiet bay, Like to a quiet mind in the loud world, Where the chafed breakers of the outer sea Sunk powerless, even as anger falls aside, And withers on the breast of peaceful love, Thou didst receive that belt of pines, that fledged The hills that watch’d thee, as Love watcheth Love,— In thine own essence, and delight thyself To make it wholly thine on sunny days. Keep thou thy name of ‘Lover’s bay’: See, Sirs, Even now the Goddess of the Past, that takes The heart, and sometimes toucheth but one string, That quivers, and is silent, and sometimes Sweeps suddenly all its half-moulder’d chords To an old melody, begins to play On those first-moved fibres of the brain. I come, Great mistress of the ear and eye: Oh! lead me tenderly, for fear the mind Rain thro’ my sight, and strangling sorrow weigh Mine utterance with lameness. Tho’ long years Have hallowed out a valley and a gulf Betwixt the native land of Love and me, Breathe but a little on me, and the sail Will draw me to the rising of the sun, The lucid chambers of the morning star, And East of life.                                     Permit me, friend, I prithee, To pass my hand across my brows, and muse On those dear hills, that nevermore will meet The sight that throbs and aches beneath my touch, As tho’ there beat a heart in either eye; For when the outer lights are darken’d thus, The memory’s vision hath a keener edge. It grows upon me now—the semicircle Of dark blue waters and the narrow fringe Of curving beach—its wreaths of dripping green— Its pale pink shells—the summer-house aloft That open’d on the pines with doors of glass, A mountain nest the pleasure boat that rock’d Light-green with its own shadow, keel to keel, Upon the crispings of the dappled waves That blanched upon its side.                                                          O Love, O Hope, They come, they crowd upon me all at once, Moved from the cloud of unforgotten things, That sometimes on the horizon of the mind Lies folded—often sweeps athwart in storm— They flash across the darkness of my brain, The many pleasant days, the moolit nights, The dewy dawnings and the amber eyes, When thou and I, Camilla, thou and I Were borne about the bay, or safely moor’d Beneath some low brow’d cavern, where the wave Plash’d sapping its worn ribs (the while without, And close above us, sang the wind-tost pine, And shook its earthly socket, for we heard, In rising and in falling with the tide, Close by our ears, the huge roots strain and creak), Eye feeding upon eye with deep intent; And mine, with love too high to be express’d Arrested in its sphere, and ceasing from All contemplation of all forms, did pause To worship mine own image, laved in light, The centre of the splendours, all unworthy Of such a shrine—mine image in her eyes, By diminution made most glorious, Moved with their motions, as those eyes were moved With motions of the soul, as my heart beat Twice to the melody of hers. Her face Was starry-fair, not pale, tenderly flush’d As ‘twere with dawn. She was dark-hair’d, dark-eyed; Oh, such dark eyes! A single glance of them Will govern a whole life from birth to death, Careless of all things else, led on with light In trances and in visions: look at them, You lose yourself in utter ignorance, You cannot find their depth; for they go back, And farther back, and still withdraw themselves Quite into the deep soul, that evermore, Fresh springing from her fountains in the brain, Still pouring thro’, floods with redundant light Her narrow portals.                                         Trust me, long ago I should have died, if it were possible To die in gazing on that perfectness Which I do bear within me; I had died But from my farthest lapse, my latest ebb, Thine image, like a charm of light and strength Upon the waters, pushed me back again On these deserted sands of barren life. Tho’ from the deep vault, where the heart of hope Fell into dust, and crumbled in the dark— Forgetting who to render beautiful Her countenance with quick and healthful blood— Thou didst not sway me upward, could I perish With such a costly casket in the grasp Of memory? He, that saith it, hath o’erstepp’d The slippery footing of his narrow wit, And fall’n away from judgment. Thou art light, To which my spirit leaneth all her flowers, And length of days, and immortality Of thought, and freshness ever self-renew’d. For Time and Grief abode too long with Life, And like all other friends i’ the world, at last They grew aweary of her fellowship: So Time and Grief did beckon unto Death, And Death drew nigh and beat the doors of Life; But thou didst sit alone in the inner house, A wakeful port’ress and didst parle with Death, ‘This is a charmed dwelling which I hold’; So Death gave back, and would no further come. Yet is my life nor in the present time, Nor in the present place. To me alone, Pushed from his chair of regal heritage, The Present is the vassal of the Past: So that, in that I have lived, do I live, And cannot die, and am, in having been, A portion of the pleasant yesterday, Thrust forward on to-day and out of place; A body journeying onward, sick with toil, The lithe limbs bow’d as with a heavy weight And all the senses weaken’d in all save that Which, long ago, they had glean’d and garner’d up Into the granaries of memory— The clear brow, bulwark of the precious brain, Now seam’d and chink’d with years—and all the while The light soul twines and mingles with the growths Of vigorous early days, attracted, won, Married, made one with, molten into all The beautiful in Past of act or place. Even as the all-enduring camel, driven Far from the diamond fountain by the palms, Toils onward thro’ the middle moonlight nights, Shadow’d and crimson’d with the drifting dust, Or when the white heats of the blinding noons Beat from the concave sand; yet in him keeps A draught of that sweet fountain that he loves, To stay his feet from falling, and his spirit From bitterness of death.                                                     Ye ask me, friends, When I began to love. How should I tell ye? Or from the after fulness of my heart, Flow back again unto my slender spring And first of love, tho’ every turn and depth Between is clearer in my life than all Its present flow. Ye know not what ye ask. How should the broad and open flower tell What sort of bud it was, when press’d together In its green sheath, close lapt in silken folds? It seemed to keep its sweetness to itself, Yet was not the less sweet for that it seem’d. For young Life knows not when young Life was born, But takes it all for granted: neither Love, Warm in the heart, his cradle can remember Love in the womb, but resteth satisfied, Looking on her that brought him to the light: Or as men know not when they fall asleep Into delicious dreams, our other life, So know I not when I began to love. This is my sum of knowledge—that my love Grew with myself—and say rather, was my growth, My inward sap, the hold I have on earth, My outward circling air wherein I breathe, Which yet upholds my life, and evermore Was to me daily life and daily death: For how should I have lived and not have loved? Can ye take off the sweetness from the flower, The colour and the sweetness from the rose, And place them by themselves? or set apart Their motions and their brightness from the stars, And then point out the flower or the star? Or build a wall betwixt my life and love, And tell me where I am? ’Tis even thus: In that I live I love; because I love I live: whate’er is fountain to the one Is fountain to the other; and whene’er Our God unknits the riddle of the one, There is no shade or fold of mystery Swathing the other.                                         Many, many years, For they seem many and my most of life, And well I could have linger’d in that porch, So unproportioned to the dwelling place, In the maydews of childhood, opposite The flush and dawn of youth, we lived together, Apart, alone together on those hills. Before he saw my day my father died, And he was happy that he saw it not: But I and the first daisy on his grave From the same clay came into light at once. As Love and I do number equal years So she, my love, is of an age with me. How like each other was the birth of each! The sister of my mother—she that bore Camilla close beneath her beating heart, Which to the imprisoned spirit of the child, With its true touched pulses in the flow And hourly visitation of the blood, Sent notes of preparation manifold, And mellow’d echoes of the outer world— My mother’s sister, mother of my love, Who had a twofold claim upon my heart, One twofold mightier than the other was, In giving so much beauty to the world, And so much wealth as God had charged her with, Loathing to put it from herself for ever, Crown’d with her highest act the placid face And breathless body of her good deeds past. So we were born, so orphan’d. She was motherless, And I without a father. So from each Of those two pillars which from earth uphold Our childhood, one had fall’n away, and all The careful burthen of our tender years Trembled upon the other. He that gave Her life, to me delightedly fulfill’d All loving-kindnesses, all offices Of watchful care and trembling tenderness. He worked for both: he pray’d for both: he slept Dreaming of both; nor was his love the less Because it was divided, and shot forth Boughs on each side, laden with wholesome shade, Wherein we rested sleeping or awake, And sung aloud the matin-song of life. She was my foster-sister: on one arm The flaxen ringlets of our infancies Wander’d, the while we rested: one soft lap Pillow’d us both: one common light of eyes Was on us as we lay: our baby lips, Kissing one bosom, ever drew from thence The stream of life, one stream, one life, one blood, One sustenance, which, still as thought grew large, Still larger moulding all the house of thought, Perchance assimilated all our tastes And future fancies. ’Tis a beautiful And pleasant meditation, what whate’er Our general mother meant for me alone, Our mutual mother dealt to both of us: So what was earliest mine in earliest life, I shared with her in whom myself remains. As was our childhood, so our infancy, They tell me, was a very miracle Of fellow-feeling and communion. They tell me that we would not be alone,— We cried when we were parted; when I wept, Her smile lit up the rainbow on my tears, Stay’d on the clouds of sorrow; that we loved The sound of one another’s voices more Than the grey cuckoo loves his name, and learn’d To lisp in tune together; that we slept In the same cradle always, face to face, Heart beating time to heart, lip pressing lip, Folding each other, breathing on each other, Dreaming together (dreaming of each other They should have added) till the morning light Sloped thro’ the pines, upon the dewy pane Falling, unseal’d our eyelids, and we woke To gaze upon each other. If this be true, At thought of which my whole soul languishes And faints, and hath no pulse, no breath, as tho’ A man in some still garden should infuse Rich attar in the bosom of the rose, Till, drunk with its own wine and overfull Of sweetness, and in smelling of itself, It fall on its own thorns—if this be true— And that way my wish leaneth evermore Still to believe it—’tis so sweet a thought, Why in the utter stillness of the soul Doth question’d memory answer not, nor tell, Of this our earliest, our closest drawn, Most loveliest, most delicious union? Oh, happy, happy outset of my days! Green springtide, April promise, glad new year Of Being, which with earliest violets, And lavish carol of clear-throated larks, Fill’d all the march of life.—I will not speak of thee; These have not seen thee, these can never know thee, They cannot understand me. Pass on then A term of eighteen years. Ye would but laugh If I should tell ye how I heard in thought Those rhymes, ‘The Lion and the Unicorn’ ‘The Four-and-twenty Blackbirds’ ‘Banbury Cross,’ ‘The Gander’ and ‘The man of Mitylene,’ And all the quaint old scraps of ancient crones, Which are as gems set in my memory, Because she learn’d them with me. Or what profits it To tell ye that her father died, just ere The daffodil was blown; or how we found The drowned seaman on the shore? These things Unto the quiet daylight of your minds Are cloud and smoke, but in the dark of mine Show traced with flame. Move with me to that hour, Which was the hinge on which the door of Hope, Once turning, open’d far into the outward, And never closed again.                                             I well remember, It was a glorious morning, such a one As dawns but once a season. Mercury On such a morning would have flung himself From cloud to cloud, and swum with balanced wings To some tall mountain. On that day the year First felt his youth and strength, and from his spring Moved smiling toward his summer. On that day, Love working shook his wings (that charged the winds With spiced May-sweets from bound to bound) and blew Fresh fire into the sun, and from within Burst thro’ the heated buds, and sent his soul Into the songs of birds, and touch’d far-off His mountain-altars, his high hills, with flame Milder and purer. Up the rocks we wound; The great pine shook with lovely sounds of joy, That came on the sea-wind. As mountain brooks Our blood ran free: the sunshine seem’d to brood More warmly on the heart than on the brow. We often paused, and looking back, we saw The clefts and openings in the hills all fill’d With the blue valley and the glistening brooks, And with the low dark groves—a land of Love; Where Love was worshipp’d upon every height, Where Love was worshipp’d under every tree— A land of promise, flowing with the milk And honey of delicious memories Down to the sea, as far as eye could ken, From verge to verge it was a holy land, Still growing holier as you near’d the bay, For where the temple stood. When we had reach’d The grassy platform on some hill, I stoop’d, I gather’d the wild herbs, and for her brows And mine wove chaplets of the self-same flower, Which she took smiling, and with my work there Crown’d her clear forehead. Once or twice she told me (For I remember all things), to let grow The flowers that run poison in their veins. She said, ‘The evil flourish in the world’; Then playfully she gave herself the lie: ‘Nothing in nature is unbeautiful, So, brother, pluck and spare not.’ So I wove Even the dull-blooded poppy, ‘whose red flower Hued with the scarlet of a fierce sunrise, Like to the wild youth of an evil king, Is without sweetness, but who crowns himself Above the secret poisons of his heart In his old age’—a graceful thought of hers Graven on my fancy! As I said, with these She crown’d her forehead. O how like a nymph, A stately mountain-nymph, she look’d! how native Unto the hills she trod on! What an angel! How clothed with beams! My eyes, fix’d upon hers, Almost forgot even to move again. My spirit leap’d as with those thrills of bliss That shoot across the soul in prayer, and show us That we are surely heard. Methought a light Burst from the garland I had woven, and stood A solid glory on her bright black hair: A light, methought, broke from her dark, dark eyes, And shot itself into the singing winds; A light, methought, flash’d even from her white robe, As from a glass in the sun, and fell about My footsteps on the mountains.                                         About sunset We came unto the hill of woe, so call’d Because the legend ran that, long time since, One rainy night, when every wind blew loud, A woful man had thrust his wife and child With shouts from off the bridge, and following, plunged Into the dizzy chasm below. Below, Sheer thro’ the black-wall’d cliff the rapid brook Shot down his inner thunders, built above With matted bramble and the shining gloss Of ivy-leaves, whose low-hung tresses, dipp’d In the fierce stream, bore downward with the wave. The path was steep and loosely strewn with crags We mounted slowly: yet to both of us It was delight, not hindrance: unto both Delight from hardship to be overcome, And scorn of perilous seeming: unto me Intense delight and rapture that I breathed, As with a sense of nigher Deity, With her to whom all outward fairest things Were by the busy mind referr’d, compared, As bearing no essential fruits of excellence. Save as they were the types and shadowings Of hers—and then that I became to her A tutelary angel as she rose, And with a fearful self-impelling joy Saw round her feet the country far away, Beyond the nearest mountain’s bosky brows, Burst into open prospect—heath and hill, And hollow lined and wooded to the lips— And steep down walls of battlemented rock Girded with broom or shiver’d into peaks— And glory of broad waters interfused, Whence rose as it were breath and steam of gold; And over all the great wood rioting And climbing, starr’d at slender intervals With blossom tufts of purest white; and last, Framing the mighty landskip to the West, A purple range of purple cones, between Whose interspaces gush’d, in blinding bursts, The incorporate light of sun and sea.                                                     At length, Upon the tremulous bridge, that from beneath Seemed with a cobweb firmament to link The earthquake-shattered chasm, hung with shrubs, We passed with tears of rapture. All the West, And even unto the middle South, was ribb’d And barr’d with bloom on bloom. The sun beneath, Held for a space ‘twixt cloud and wave, shower’d down Rays of a mighty circle, weaving over That varied wilderness a tissue of light Unparallel’d. On the other side the moon, Half-melted into thin blue air, stood still And pale and fibrous as a wither’d leaf, Nor yet endured in presence of his eyes To imbue his lustre; most unloverlike; Since in his absence full of light and joy And giving light to others. But this chiefest, Next to her presence whom I loved so well, Spoke loudly, even into my inmost heart, As to my outward hearing: the loud stream, Forth issuing from his portals in the crag (A visible link unto the home of my heart), Ran amber toward the West, and nigh the sea, Parting my own loved mountains, was received Shorn of its strength, into the sympathy Of that small bay, which into open main Glow’d intermingling close beneath the sun Spirit of Love! That little hour was bound, Shut in from Time, and dedicate to thee; Thy fires from heav’n had touch’d it, and the earth They fell on became hallow’d evermore. We turn’d: our eyes met: her’s were bright, and mine Were dim with floating tears, that shot the sunset, In light rings round me; and my name was borne Upon her breath. Henceforth my name has been A hallow’d memory, like the names of old; A center’d, glory-circled memory, And a peculiar treasure, brooking not Exchange or currency; and in that hour A hope flow’d round me, like a golden mist Charm’d amid eddies of melodious airs, A moment, ere the onward whirlwind shatter it, Waver’d and floated—which was less than Hope, Because it lack’d the power of perfect Hope; But which was more and higher than all Hope, Because all other Hope hath lower aim; Even that this name to which her seraph lips Did lend such gentle utterance, this one name In some obscure hereafter, might inwreathe (How lovelier, nobler then!) her life, her love, With my life, love, soul, spirit and heart and strength. ‘Brother,’ she said, ‘let this be call’d henceforth The Hill of Hope’; and I replied: ‘O sister, My will is one with thine; the Hill of Hope.’ Nevertheless, we did not change the name. Love lieth deep; Love dwells not in lip-depths: Love wraps her wings on either side the heart, Constraining it with kisses close and warm, Absorbing all the incense of sweet thoughts So that they pass not to the shrine of sound. Else had the life of that delighted hour Drunk in the largeness of the utterance Of Love; but how should earthly measure mete The heavenly unmeasured or unlimited Love, Which scarce can tune his high majestic sense Unto the thunder-song that wheels the spheres; Scarce living in the Aeolian harmony, And flowing odour of the spacious air; Scarce housed in the circle of this earth: Be cabin’d up in words and syllables, Which waste with the breath that made ’em.                                                 Sooner earth Might go round heaven, and the straight girth of Time Inswathe the fullness of Eternity, Than language grasp the infinite of Love. O day, which did enwomb that happy hour, Thou art blest in the years, divinest day! O Genius of that hour which dost uphold Thy coronal of glory like a God, Amid thy melancholy mates far-seen, Who walk before thee, and whose eyes are dim With gazing on the light and depth of thine Thy name is ever worshipp’d among hours! Had I died then, I had not seem’d to die For bliss stood round me like the lights of heaven, That cannot fade, they are so burning bright. Had I died then, I had not known the death; Planting my feet against this mound of time I had thrown me on the vast, and from this impulse Continuing and gathering ever, ever, Agglomerated swiftness, I had lived That intense moment thro’ eternity. Oh, had the Power from whose right hand the light Of Life issueth, and from whose left hand floweth The shadow of Death, perennial effluences, Whereof to all that draw the wholesome air, Somewhile the one must overflow the other; Then had he stemm’d my day with night and driven My current to the fountain whence it sprang— Even his own abiding excellence— On me, methinks, that shock of gloom had fall’n Unfelt, and like the sun I gazed upon, Which, lapt in seeming dissolution, And dipping his head low beneath the verge, Yet bearing round about him his own day, In confidence of unabated strength, Steppeth from heaven to heaven, from light to light, And holding his undimmed forehead far Into a clearer zenith, pure of cloud; So bearing on thro’ Being limitless The triumph of this foretaste, I had merged Glory in glory, without sense of change. We trod the shadow of the downward hill; We pass’d from light to dark. On the other side Is scooped a cavern and a mountain-hall, Which none have fathom’d. If you go far in (The country people rumour) you may hear The moaning of the woman and the child, Shut in the secret chambers of the rock. I too have heard a sound—perchance of streams Running far-off within its inmost halls, The home of darkness, but the cavern mouth, Half overtrailed with a wanton weed Gives birth to a brawling stream, that stepping lightly Adown a natural stair of tangled roots, Is presently received in a sweet grove Of eglantine, a place of burial Far lovelier than its cradle; for unseen But taken with the sweetness of the place, It giveth out a constant melody That drowns the nearer echoes. Lower down Spreads out a little lake, that, flooding, makes Cushions of yellow sand; and from the woods That belt it rise three dark tall cypresses; Three cypresses, symbols of mortal woe, That men plant over graves.                                  Hither we came, And sitting down upon the golden moss Held converse sweet and low—low converse sweet, In which our voices bore least part. The wind Told a love-tale beside us, how he woo’d The waters, and the crisp’d waters lisp’d The kisses of the wind, that, sick with love, Fainted at intervals, and grew again To utterance of passion. Ye cannot shape Fancy so fair as is this memory. Methought all excellence that ever was Had drawn herself from many thousand years, And all the separate Edens of this earth, To centre in this place and time. I listen’d, And her words stole with most prevailing sweetness Into my heart, as thronged fancies come, All unawares, into the poet’s brain; Or as the dew-drops on the petal hung, When summer winds break their soft sleep with sighs, Creep down into the bottom of the flower. Her words were like a coronal of wild blooms Strung in the very negligence of Art, Or in the art of Nature, where each rose Doth faint upon the bosom of the other, Flooding its angry cheek with odorous tears. So each with each inwoven lived with each, And were in union more than double-sweet. What marvel my Camilla told me all? It was so happy an hour, so sweet a place, And I was as the brother of her blood, And by that name was wont to live in her speech, Dear name! which had too much of nearness in it And heralded the distance of this time. At first her voice was very sweet and low, As tho’ she were afeard of utterance; But in the onward current of her speech, (As echoes of the hollow-banked brooks Are fashioned by the channel which they keep) His words did of their meaning borrow sound, Her cheek did catch the colour of her words, I heard and trembled, yet I could but hear; My heart paused,—my raised eyelids would not fall, But still I kept my eyes upon the sky. I seem’d the only part of Time stood still, And saw the motion of all other things; While her words, syllable by syllable, Like water, drop by drop, upon my ear Fell, and I wish’d, yet wish’d her not to speak, But she spoke on, for I did name no wish. What marvel my Camilla told me all Her maiden dignities of Hope and Love, ‘Perchance’ she said ‘return’d.’ Even then the stars Did tremble in their stations as I gazed; But she spake on, for I did name no wish, No wish—no hope. Hope was not wholly dead, But breathing hard at the approach of Death, Updrawn in expectation of her change— Camilla, my Camilla, who was mine No longer in the dearest use of mine— The written secrets of her inmost soul Lay like an open scroll before my view, And my eyes read, they read aright, her heart Was Lionel’s: it seem’d as tho’ a link Of some light chain within my inmost frame Was riven in twain: that life I heeded not Flow’d from me, and the darkness of the grave, The darkness of the grave and utter night, Did swallow up my vision: at her feet, Even the feet of her I loved, I fell, Smit with exceeding sorrow unto death. Then had the earth beneath me yawning given Sign of convulsion; and tho’ horrid rifts Sent up the moaning of unhappy spirits Imprison’d in her centre, with the heat Of their infolding element; had the angels, The watchers at heaven’s gate, push’d them apart, And from the golden threshold had down-roll’d Their heaviest thunder, I had lain as still, And blind and motionless as then I lay! White as quench’d ashes, cold as were the hopes Of my lorn love! What happy air shall woo The wither’d leaf fall’n in the woods, or blasted Upon this bough? a lightning stroke had come Even from that Heaven in whose light I bloom’d And taken away the greenness of my life, The blossom and the fragrance. Who was cursed But I? who miserable but I? even Misery Forgot herself in that extreme distress, And with the overdoing of her part Did fall away into oblivion. The night in pity took away my day Because my grief as yet was newly born, Of too weak eyes to look upon the light, And with the hasty notice of the ear, Frail life was startled from the tender love Of him she brooded over. Would I had lain Until the pleached ivy tress had wound Round my worn limbs, and the wild briar had driven Its knotted thorns thro’ my unpaining brows Leaning its roses on my faded eyes. The wind had blown above me, and the rain Had fall’n upon me, and the gilded snake Had nestled in this bosomthrone of love, But I had been at rest for evermore. Long time entrancement held me: all too soon, Life (like a wanton too-officious friend Who will not hear denial, vain and rude With proffer of unwished for services) Entering all the avenues of sense, Pass’d thro’ into his citadel, the brain With hated warmth of apprehensiveness: And first the chillness of the mountain stream Smote on my brow, and then I seem’d to hear Its murmur, as the drowning seaman hears, Who with his head below the surface dropt, Listens the dreadful murmur indistinct Of the confused seas, and knoweth not Beyond the sound he lists: and then came in O’erhead the white light of the weary moon, Diffused and molten into flaky cloud. Was my sight drunk, that it did shape to me Him who should own that name? or had my fancy So lethargised discernment in the sense, That she did act the step-dame to mine eyes, Warping their nature, till they minister’d Unto her swift conceits? ‘Twere better thus If so be that the memory of that sound With mighty evocation, had updrawn The fashion and the phantasm of the form It should attach to. There was no such thing.— It was the man she loved, even Lionel, The lover Lionel, the happy Lionel, All joy; who drew the happy atmosphere Of my unhappy sighs, fed with my tears, To him the honey dews of orient hope. Oh! rather had some loathly ghastful brow, Half-bursten from the shroud, in cere cloth bound, The dead skin withering on the fretted bone, The very spirit of Paleness made still paler By the shuddering moonlight, fix’d his eyes on mine Horrible with the anger and the heat Of the remorseful soul alive within, And damn’d unto his loathed tenement. Methinks I could have sooner met that gaze! Oh, how her choice did leap forth from his eyes! Oh, how her love did clothe itself in smiles About his lips! This was the very arch-mock And insolence of uncontrolled Fate, When the effect weigh’d seas upon my head To twit me with the cause.                                                 Why how was this? Could he not walk what paths he chose, nor breathe What airs he pleased! Was not the wide world free, With all her interchange of hill and plain To him as well as me? I know not, faith: But Misery, like a fretful, wayward child, Refused to look his author in the face, Must he come my way too? Was not the South, The East, the West, all open, if he had fall’n In love in twilight? Why should he come my way, Robed in those robes of light I must not wear, With that great crown of beams about his brows? Come like an angel to a damned soul? To tell him of the bliss he had with God; Come like a careless and a greedy heir, That scarce can wait the reading of the will Before he takes possession? Was mine a mood To be invaded rudely, and not rather A sacred, secret, unapproached woe Unspeakable? I was shut up with grief; She took the body of my past delight, Narded, and swathed and balm’d it for herself, And laid it in a new-hewn sepulchre, Where man had never lain. I was led mute Into her temple like a sacrifice; I was the high-priest in her holiest place, Not to be loudly broken in upon. Oh! friend, thoughts deep and heavy as these well-nigh O’erbore the limits of my brain; but he Bent o’er me, and my neck his arm upstay’d From earth. I thought it was an adder’s fold, And once I strove to disengage myself, But fail’d, I was so feeble. She was there too: She bent above me too: her cheek was pale, Oh! very fair and pale: rare pity had stolen The living bloom away, as tho’ a red rose Should change into a white one suddenly. Her eyes, I saw, were full of tears in the morn, And some few drops of that distressful rain Being wafted on the wind, drove in my sight, And being there they did break forth afresh In a new birth, immingled with my own, And still bewept my grief. Keeping unchanged The purport of their coinage. Her long ringlets, Drooping and beaten with the plaining wind, Did brush my forehead in their to-and-fro: For in the sudden anguish of her heart Loosed from their simple thrall they had flowed abroad, And onward floating in a full, dark wave, Parted on either side her argent neck, Mantling her form half way. She, when I woke, After my refluent health made tender quest Unanswer’d, for I spoke not: for the sound Of that dear voice so musically low, And now first heard with any sense of pain, As it had taken life away before, Choked all the syllables that in my throat Strove to uprise, laden with mournful thanks, From my full heart: and ever since that hour, My voice hath somewhat falter’d—and what wonder That when hope died, part of her eloquence Died with her? He, the blissful lover, too, From his great hoard of happiness distill’d Some drops of solace; like a vain rich man, That, having always prosper’d in the world, Folding his hands deals comfortable words To hearts wounded for ever; yet, in truth, Fair speech was his and delicate of phrase, Falling in whispers on the sense, address’d More to the inward than the outward ear, As rain of the midsummer midnight soft Scarce-heard, recalling fragrance and the green Of the dead spring—such as in other minds Had film’d the margents of the recent wound. And why was I to darken their pure love, If, as I knew, they two did love each other, Because my own was darken’d? Why was I To stand within the level of their hopes, Because my hope was widow’d, like the cur In the child’s adage? Did I love Camilla? Ye know that I did love her: to this present My full-orb’d love hath waned not. Did I love her, And could I look upon her tearful eyes? Tears wept for me; for me—weep at my grief? What had she done to weep—let my heart Break rather—whom the gentlest airs of heaven Should kiss with an unwonted gentleness. Her love did murder mine; what then? she deem’d I wore a brother’s mind: she call’d me brother: She told me all her love: she shall not weep. The brightness of a burning thought awhile Battailing with the glooms of my dark will, Moonlike emerged, lit up unto itself, Upon the depths of an unfathom’d woe, Reflex of action, starting up at once, As men do from a vague and horrid dream, And throwing by all consciousness of self, In eager haste I shook him by the hand; Then flinging myself down upon my knees Even where the grass was warm where I had lain, I pray’d aloud to God that he would hold The hand of blessing over Lionel, And her whom he would make his wedded wife, Camilla! May their days be golden days, And their long life a dream of linked love, From which may rude Death never startle them, But grow upon them like a glorious vision Of unconceived and awful happiness, Solemn but splendid, full of shapes and sounds, Swallowing its precedent in victory. Let them so love that men and boys may say, Lo! how they love each other! till their love Shall ripen to a proverb unto all, Known when their faces are forgot in the land. And as for me, Camilla, as for me, Think not thy tears will make my name grow green,— The dew of tears is an unwholesome dew. The course of Hope is dried,—the life o’ the plant— They will but sicken the sick plant more. Deem then I love thee but as brothers do, So shalt thou love me still as sisters do; Or if thou dream’st aught farther, dream but how I could have loved thee, had there been none else To love as lovers, loved again by thee. Or this, or somewhat like to this, I spoke, When I did see her weep so ruefully; For sure my love should ne’er induce the front And mask of Hate, whom woful ailments Of unavailing tears and heart deep moans Feed and envenom, as the milky blood Of hateful herbs a subtle-fanged snake. Shall Love pledge Hatred in her bitter draughts, And batten on his poisons? Love forbid! Love passeth not the threshold of cold Hate, And Hate is strange beneath the roof of Love. O Love, if thou be’st Love, dry up these tears Shed for the love of Love; for tho’ mine image, The subject of thy power, be cold in her, Yet, like cold snow, it melteth in the source Of these sad tears, and feeds their downward flow. So Love, arraign’d to judgment and to death, Received unto himself a part of blame. Being guiltless, as an innocent prisoner, Who when the woful sentence hath been past, And all the clearness of his fame hath gone Beneath the shadow of the curse of men, First falls asleep in swoon. Wherefrom awaked And looking round upon his tearful friends, Forthwith and in his agony conceives A shameful sense as of a cleaving crime— For whence without some guilt should such grief be? So died that hour, and fell into the abysm Of forms outworn, but not to be outworn, Who never hail’d another worth the Life That made it sensible. So died that hour, Like odour wrapt into the winged wind Borne into alien lands and far away. There be some hearts so airy-fashioned, That in the death of love, if e’er they loved, On that sharp ridge of utmost doom ride highly Above the perilous seas of change and chance; Nay, more, holds out the lights of cheerfulness; As the tall ship, that many a dreary year Knit to some dismal sandbank far at sea, All through the lifelong hours of utter dark, Showers slanting light upon the dolorous wave. For me all other Hopes did sway from that Which hung the frailest: falling, they fell too, Crush’d link on link into the beaten earth, And Love did walk with banish’d Hope no more, It was ill-done to part ye, Sisters fair; Love’s arms were wreathed about the neck of Hope, And Hope kiss’d Love, and Love drew in her breath In that close kiss, and drank her whisper’d tales. They said that Love would die when Hope was gone, And Love mourned long, and sorrowed after Hope; At last she sought out memory, and they trod The same old paths where Love had walked with Hope, And Memory fed the soul of Love with tears. II From that time forth I would not see her more, But many weary moons I lived alone— Alone, and in the heart of the great forest. Sometimes upon the hills beside the sea All day I watched the floating isles of shade, And sometimes on the shore, upon the sands Insensibly I drew her name, until The meaning of the letters shot into My brain: anon the wanton billow wash’d Them over, till they faded like my love. The hollow caverns heard me—the black brooks Of the mid-forest heard me—the soft winds, Laden with thistledown and seeds of flowers, Paused in their course to hear me, for my voice Was all of thee: the merry linnet knew me, The squirrel knew me, and the dragon-fly Shot by me like a flash of purple fire. The rough briar tore my bleeding palms; the hemlock, Brow high, did strike my forehead as I pas’d; Yet trod I not the wild-flower in my path, Nor bruised the wild-bird’s egg.                                             Was this the end? Why grew we then together i’ the same plot? Why fed we the same fountain? drew the same sun? Why were our mothers branches of one stem? Why were we one in all things, save in that Where to have been one had been the roof and crown Of all I hoped and fear’d? if that same nearness Were father to this distance, and that one Vauntcourier this double? If affection Living slew Love, and Sympathy hew’d out The bosom-sepulchre of Sympathy. Chiefly I sought the cavern and the hill Where last we roam’d together, for the sound Of the loud stream was pleasant, and the wind Came wooingly with violet smells. Sometimes All day I sat within the cavern-mouth, Fixing my eyes on those three cypress-cones Which spired above the wood; and with mad hand Tearing the bright leaves of the ivy-screen, I cast them in the noisy brook beneath, And watch’d them till they vanished from my sight Beneath the bower of wreathed eglantines: And all the fragments of the living rock, (Huge splinters, which the sap of earliest showers, Or moisture of the vapour, left in clinging, When the shrill storm-blast feeds it from behind, And scatters it before, had shatter’d from The mountain, till they fell, and with the shock Half dug their own graves), in mine agony, Did I make bear of all the deep rich moss Wherewith the dashing runnel in the spring Had liveried them all over. In my brain The spirit seem’d to flag from thought to thought, Like moonlight wandering through a mist: my blood Crept like the drains of a marsh thro’ all my body; The motions of my heart seem’d far within me, Unfrequent, low, as tho’ it told its pulses; And yet it shook me, that my frame did shudder, As it were drawn asunder by the rack. But over the deep graves of Hope and Fear, The wreck of ruin’d life and shatter’d thought, Brooded one master-passion evermore, Like to a low hung and a fiery sky Above some great metropolis, earth shock’d Hung round with ragged-rimmed burning folds, Embathing all with wild and woful hues— Great hills of ruins, and collapsed masses Of thunder-shaken columns, indistinct And fused together in the tyrannous light. So gazed I on the ruins of that thought Which was the playmate of my youth—for which I lived and breathed: the dew, the sun, the rain, Unto the growth of body and of mind; The blood, the breath, the feeling and the motion, The slope into the current of my years, Which drove them onward—made them sensible; The precious jewel of my honour’d life, Erewhile close couch’d in golden happiness, Now proved counterfeit, was shaken out, And, trampled on, left to its own decay. The Lover’s Tale Sometimes I thought Camilla was no more, Some one had told me she was dead, and ask’d me If I would see her burial: then I seem’d To rise, and thro’ the forest-shadow borne With more than mortal swiftness, I ran down The sleepy sea-bank, till I came upon The rear of a procession, curving round The silver-sheeted bay: in front of which Six stately virgins, all in white, upbare A broad earth-sweeping pall of whitest lawn, Wreathed round the bier with garlands: in the distance, From out the yellow woods, upon the hill, Look’d forth the summit and the pinnacles Of a grey steeple. All the pageantry, Save those six virgins which upheld the bier, Were stoled from head to foot in flowing black; One walk’d abreast with me, and veiled his brow, And he was loud in weeping and in praise Of the departed: a strong sympathy Shook all my soul: I flung myself upon him In tears and cries: I told him all my love, How I had loved her from the first; whereat He shrunk and howl’d, and from his brow drew back His hand to push me from him; and the face The very face and form of Lionel, Flash’d through my eyes into my innermost brain, And at his feet I seemed to faint and fall, To fall and die away. I could not rise, Albeit I strove to follow. They pass’d on, The lordly Phantasms; in their floating folds They pass’d and were no more: but I had fall’n Prone by the dashing runnel on the grass. Always th’ inaudible, invisible thought Artificer and subject, lord and slave Shaped by the audible and visible, Moulded the audible and visible; All crisped sounds of wave, and leaf and wind, Flatter’d the fancy of my fading brain; The storm-pavilion’d element, the wood, The mountain, the three cypresses, the cave, Were wrought into the tissue of my dream. The moanings in the forest, the loud stream, Awoke me not, but were a part of sleep; And voices in the distance, calling to me, And in my vision bidding me dream on, Like sounds within the twilight realms of dreams, Which wander round the bases of the hills, And murmur in the low-dropt eaves of sleep, But faint within the portals. Oftentimes The vision had fair prelude, in the end Opening on darkness, stately vestibules To cares and shows of Death; whether the mind, With a revenge even to itself unknown, Made strange division of its suffering With her, whom to have suffering view’d had been Extremest pain; or that the clear-eyed Spirit, Being blasted in the Present, grew at length Prophetical and prescient of whate’er The Future had in store; or that which most Enchains belief, the sorrow of my spirit Was of so wide a compass it took in All I had loved, and my dull agony. Ideally to her transferred, became Anguish intolerable.                              The day waned; Alone I sat with her: about my brow Her warm breath floated in the utterance Of silver-chorded tones: her lips were sunder’d With smiles of tranquil bliss, which broke in light Like morning from her eyes—her eloquent eyes (As I have seen them many hundred times), Fill’d all with clear pure fire, thro’ mine down rain’d Their spirit-searching splendours. As a vision Unto a haggard prisoner, iron-stay’d In damp and dismal dungeons underground Confined on points of faith, when strength is shock’d With torment, and expectancy of worse Upon the morrow, thro’ the ragged walls, All unawares before his half-shut eyes, Comes in upon him in the dead of night, And with th’ excess of sweetness and of awe, Makes the heart tremble, and the eyes run over Upon his steely gyves; so those fair eyes Shone on my darkness forms which ever stood Within the magic cirque of memory, Invisible but deathless, waiting still The edict of the will to reassume The semblance of those rare realities Of which they were the mirrors. Now the light, Which was their life, burst through the cloud of thought Keen, irrepressible.                                             It was a room Within the summer-house of which I spoke, Hung round with paintings of the sea, and one A vessel in mid-ocean, her heaved prow Clambering, the mast bent, and the revin wind In her sail roaring. From the outer day, Betwixt the closest ivies came a broad And solid beam of isolated light, Crowded with driving atomies, and fell Slanting upon that picture, from prime youth Well-known, well-loved. She drew it long ago Forth gazing on the waste and open sea, One morning when the upblown billow ran Shoreward beneath red clouds, and I had pour’d Into the shadowing pencil’s naked forms Colour and life: it was a bond and seal Of friendship, spoken of with tearful smiles; A monument of childhood and of love, The poesy of childhood; my lost love Symbol’d in storm. We gazed on it together In mute and glad remembrance, and each heart Grew closer to the other, and the eye Was riveted and charm-bound, gazing like The Indian on a still-eyed snake, low crouch’d A beauty which is death, when all at once That painted vessel, as with inner life, ‘Gan rock and heave upon that painted sea; An earthquake, my loud heartbeats, made the ground Roll under us, and all at once soul, life, And breath, and motion, pass’d and flow’d away To those unreal billows: round and round A whirlwind caught and bore us; mighty gyves, Rapid and vast, of hissing spray wind-driven Far through the dizzy dark. Aloud she shriek’d— My heart was cloven with pain. I wound my arms About her: we whirl’d giddily: the wind Sung: but I clasp’d her without fear: her weight Shrank in my grasp, and over my dim eyes And parted lips which drank her breath, down hung The jaws of Death: I, screaming, from me flung The empty phantom: all the sway and whirl Of the storm dropt to windless calm, and I Down welter’d thro’ the dark ever and ever. Index to First Lines A gate and a field half ploughed All thoughts, all creeds, all dreams, are true Angels have talked with him and showed him thrones As when a man, that sails in a balloon Blow ye the trumpets, gather from afar But she tarries in her place Check every outflash, every ruder sally Could I outwear my present state of woe Ere yet my heart was sweet Love’s tomb Every day hath its night First drink a health, this solemn night God bless our Prince and Bride Heaven weeps above the earth all night Here far away, seen from the topmost cliff His eyes in eclipse Home they brought him slain with spears How much I love this writer’s manly style How often, when a child I lay reclined I am any man’s suitor I stood on a tower in the wet I stood upon the Mountain which o’erlooks I’ the glooming light Me my own fate to lasting sorrow doometh My Rosalind, my Rosalind O darling room, my heart’s delight Oh, Beauty, passing beauty! sweetest sweet! Oh, go not yet, my love O maiden fresher than the first green leaf O sad No more! O sweet No more O thou whose fringèd lids I gaze upon Rise, Britons, rise, if manhood be not dead Sainted Juliet! dearest name Shall the hag Evil die with the child of Good Sure never yet was Antelope The lintwhite and the throstlecock The Northwind fall’n in the new starréd night The pallid thunderstricken sigh for gain There are three things that fill my heart with sighs Therefore your halls, your ancient colleges There is no land like England The varied earth, the moving heaven Thou, from the first, unborn, undying love Though Night hath climbed her peak Two bees within a chrystal flowerbell rockèd Voice of the summerwind We have had enough of motion We know him, out of Shakespeare’s art What time I wasted youthful hours Where is the Giant of the Sun, which stood Who can say Who fears to die? Who fears to die With roses musky breathed You cast to ground the hope which once was mine You did late review my lays Your ringlets, your ringlets End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Suppressed Poems of Alfred Lord Tennyson, by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Tennyson’s Suppressed Poems - Contents

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