The Lady of Shalott, and Other Poems


Alfred Tennyson

O LOVE, Love, Love! O withering might!
O sun, that from thy noonday height
Shudderest when I strain my sight,
Throbbing thro’ all thy heat and light,
    Lo, falling from my constant mind,
    Lo, parch’d and wither’d, deaf and blind,
    I whirl like leaves in roaring wind.

Last night I wasted hateful hours
Below the city’s eastern towers:
I thirsted for the brooks, the showers:
I roll’d among the tender flowers:
    I crush’d them on my breast, my mouth;
    I look’d athwart the burning drouth
    Of that long desert to the south.

Last night, when some one spoke his name,
From my swift blood that went and came
A thousand little shafts of flame
Were shiver’d in my narrow frame.
    O Love, O fire! once he drew
    With one long kiss my whole soul thro’
    My lips, as sunlight drinketh dew.

Before he mounts the hill, I know
He cometh quickly: from below
Sweet gales, as from deep gardens, blow
Before him, striking on my brow.
    In my dry brain my spirit soon,
    Down-deepening from swoon to swoon,
    Faints like a dazzled morning moon.

The wind sounds like a silver wire,
And from beyond the noon a fire
Is pour’d upon the hills, and nigher
The skies stoop down in their desire;
    And, isled in sudden seas of light,
    My heart, pierced thro’ with fierce delight,
    Bursts into blossom in his sight.

My whole soul waiting silently,
All naked in a sultry sky,
Droops blinded with his shining eye:
I will possess him or will die.
    I will grow round him in his place,
    Grow, live, die looking on his face,
    Die, dying clasp’d in his embrace.

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