alfred lord tennyson

Blow, Bugle, Blow

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The splendour falls on castle walls
And snowy summits old in story:
The long light shakes across the lakes,
And the wild cataract leaps in glory.
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.

O hark, O hear! how thin and clear,
And thinner, clearer, farther going!
O sweet and far from cliff and scar
The horns of Elfland faintly blowing!
Blow, let us hear the purple glens replying:
Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.

O love, they die in yon rich sky,
They faint on hill or field or river:
Our echoes roll from soul to soul,
And grow for ever and for ever.
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
And answer, echoes, answer, dying, dying, dying.

 

– Alfred Lord Tennyson

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Boadicea

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While about the shore of Mona those Neronian legionaries
Burnt and broke the grove and altar of the Druid and Druidess,
Far in the East Boadicea, standing loftily charioted,
Mad and maddening all that heard her in her fierce volubility,
Girt by half the tribes of Britain, near the colony Camulodune,
Yell’d and shriek’d between her daughters o’er a wild confederacy.

`They that scorn the tribes and call us Britain’s barbarous populaces,
Did they hear me, would they listen, did they pity me supplicating?
Shall I heed them in their anguish? shall I brook to be supplicated?
Hear Icenian, Catieuchlanian, hear Coritanian, Trinobant!
Must their ever-ravening eagle’s beak and talon annihilate us?
Tear the noble hear of Britain, leave it gorily quivering?
Bark an answer, Britain’s raven! bark and blacken innumerable,
Blacken round the Roman carrion, make the carcase a skeleton,
Kite and kestrel, wolf and wolfkin, from the wilderness, wallow in it,
Till the face of Bel be brighten’d, Taranis be propitiated.
Lo their colony half-defended! lo their colony, Camulodune!
There the horde of Roman robbers mock at a barbarous adversary.
There the hive of Roman liars worship a gluttonous emperor-idiot.
Such is Rome, and this her deity: hear it, Spirit of Cassivelaun!

`Hear it, Gods! the Gods have heard it, O Icenian, O Coritanian!
Doubt not ye the Gods have answer’d, Catieuchlanian, Trinobant.
These have told us all their anger in miraculous utterances,
Thunder, a flying fire in heaven, a murmur heard aerially,
Phantom sound of blows descending, moan of an enemy massacred,
Phantom wail of women and children, multitudinous agonies.
Bloodily flow’d the Tamesa rolling phantom bodies of horses and men;
Then a phantom colony smoulder’d on the refluent estuary;
Lastly yonder yester-even, suddenly giddily tottering–
There was one who watch’d and told me–down their statue of Victory fell.
Lo their precious Roman bantling, lo the colony Camulodune,
Shall we teach it a Roman lesson? shall we care to be pitiful?
Shall we deal with it as an infant? shall we dandle it amorously?

`Hear Icenian, Catieuchlanian, hear Coritanian, Trinobant!
While I roved about the forest, long and bitterly meditating,
There I heard them in the darkness, at the mystical ceremony,
Loosely robed in flying raiment, sang the terrible prophetesses.
“Fear not, isle of blowing woodland, isle of silvery parapets!
Tho’ the Roman eagle shadow thee, tho’ the gathering enemy narrow thee,
Thou shalt wax and he shall dwindle, thou shalt be the mighty one yet!
Thine the liberty, thine the glory, thine the deeds to be celebrated,
Thine the myriad-rolling ocean, light and shadow illimitable,
Thine the lands of lasting summer, many-blossoming Paradises,
Thine the North and thine the South and thine the battle-thunder of God.”
So they chanted: how shall Britain light upon auguries happier?
So they chanted in the darkness, and there cometh a victory now.

Hear Icenian, Catieuchlanian, hear Coritanian, Trinobant!
Me the wife of rich Prasutagus, me the lover of liberty,
Me they seized and me they tortured, me they lash’d and humiliated,
Me the sport of ribald Veterans, mine of ruffian violators!
See they sit, they hide their faces, miserable in ignominy!
Wherefore in me burns an anger, not by blood to be satiated.
Lo the palaces and the temple, lo the colony Camulodune!
There they ruled, and thence they wasted all the flourishing territory,
Thither at their will they haled the yellow-ringleted Britoness–
Bloodily, bloodily fall the battle-axe, unexhausted, inexorable.
Shout Icenian, Catieuchlanian, shout Coritanian, Trinobant,
Till the victim hear within and yearn to hurry precipitously
Like the leaf in a roaring whirlwind, like the smoke in a hurricane whirl’d.
Lo the colony, there they rioted in the city of Cunobeline!
There they drank in cups of emerald, there at tables of ebony lay,
Rolling on their purple couches in their tender effeminacy.
There they dwelt and there they rioted; there–there–they dwell no more.
Burst the gates, and burn the palaces, break the works of the statuary,
Take the hoary Roman head and shatter it, hold it abominable,
Cut the Roman boy to pieces in his lust and voluptuousness,
Lash the maiden into swooning, me they lash’d and humiliated,
Chop the breasts from off the mother, dash the brains of the little one out,
Up my Britons, on my chariot, on my chargers, trample them under us.’

So the Queen Boadicea, standing loftily charioted,
Brandishing in her hand a dart and rolling glances lioness-like,
Yell’d and shriek’d between her daughters in her fierce volubility.
Till her people all around the royal chariot agitated,
Madly dash’d the darts together, writhing barbarous lineaments,
Made the noise of frosty woodlands, when they shiver in January,
Roar’d as when the rolling breakers boom and blanch on the precipices,
Yell’d as when the winds of winter tear an oak on a promontory.
So the silent colony hearing her tumultuous adversaries
Clash the darts and on the buckler beat with rapid unanimous hand,
Thought on all her evil tyrannies, all her pitiless avarice,
Till she felt the heart within her fall and flutter tremulously,
Then her pulses at the clamoring of her enemy fainted away.
Out of evil evil flourishes, out of tyranny tyranny buds.
Ran the land with Roman slaughter, multitudinous agonies.
Perish’d many a maid and matron, many a valorous legionary.
Fell the colony, city, and citadel, London, Verulam, Camulodune.

 

– Alfred Lord Tennyson

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The Miller’s Daughter

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It is the miller’s daughter,
And she is grown so dear, so dear,
That I would be the jewel
That trembles in her ear:
For hid in ringlets day and night,
I’d touch her neck so warm and white.

And I would be the girdle
About her dainty dainty waist,
And her heart would beat against me,
In sorrow and in rest:
And I should know if it beat right,
I’d clasp it round so close and tight.

And I would be the necklace,
And all day long to fall and rise
Upon her balmy bosom,
With her laughter or her sighs:
And I would lie so light, so light,
I scarce should be unclasp’d at night.

 

– Alfred Lord Tennyson

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The Grandmother

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I.
And Willy, my eldest-born, is gone, you say, little Anne?
Ruddy and white, and strong on his legs, he looks like a man.
And Willy’s wife has written: she never was over-wise,
Never the wife for Willy: he would n’t take my advice.

II.
For, Annie, you see, her father was not the man to save,
Had n’t a head to manage, and drank himself into his grave.
Pretty enough, very pretty! but I was against it for one.
Eh!–but he would n’t hear me–and Willy, you say, is gone.

III.
Willy, my beauty, my eldest-born, the flower of the flock;
Never a man could fling him: for Willy stood like a rock.
`Here’s a leg for a babe of a week!’ says doctor; and he would be bound,
There was not his like that year in twenty parishes round.

IV.
Strong of his hands, and strong on his legs, but still of his tongue!
I ought to have gone before him: I wonder he went so young.
I cannot cry for him, Annie: I have not long to stay;
Perhaps I shall see him the sooner, for he lived far away.

V.
Why do you look at me, Annie? you think I am hard and cold;
But all my children have gone before me, I am so old:
I cannot weep for Willy, nor can I weep for the rest;
Only at your age, Annie, I could have wept with the best.

VI.
For I remember a quarrel I had with your father, my dear,
All for a slanderous story, that cost me many a tear.
I mean your grandfather, Annie: it cost me a world of woe,
Seventy years ago, my darling, seventy years ago.

VII.
For Jenny, my cousin, had come to the place, and I knew right well
That Jenny had tript in her time: I knew, but I would not tell.
And she to be coming and slandering me, the base little liar!
But the tongue is a fire as you know, my dear, the tongue is a fire.

VIII.
And the parson made it his text that week, and he said likewise,
That a lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest of lies,
That a lie which is all a lie may be met and fought with outright,
But a lie which is part a truth is a harder matter to fight.

IX.
And Willy had not been down to the farm for a week and a day;
And all things look’d half-dead, tho’ it was the middle of May.
Jenny, to slander me, who knew what Jenny had been!
But soiling another, Annie, will never make oneself clean.

X.
And I cried myself well-nigh blind, and all of an evening late
I climb’d to the top of the garth, and stood by the road at the gate.
The moon like a rick on fire was rising over the dale,
And whit, whit, whit, in the bush beside me chirrupt the nightingale.

XI.
All of a sudden he stopt: there past by the gate of the farm,
Willy,–he did n’t see me,–and Jenny hung on his arm.
Out into the road I started, and spoke I scarce knew how;
Ah, there’s no fool like the old one — it makes me angry now.

XII.
Willy stood up like a man, and look’d the thing that he meant;
Jenny, the viper, made me a mocking courtesy and went.
And I said, `Let us part: in a hundred years it’ll all be the same,
You cannot love me at all, if you love not my good name.’

XIII.
And he turn’d, and I saw his eyes all wet, in the sweet moonshine:
Sweetheart, I love you so well that your good name is mine.
And what do I care for Jane, let her speak of you well of ill;
But marry me out of hand: we two shall be happy still.’

XIV.
`Marry you, Willy!’ said I, `but I needs must speak my mind,
And I fear you’ll listen to tales, be jealous and hard and unkind.’
But he turn’d and claspt me in his arms, and answer’d, `No, love, no;’
Seventy years ago, my darling, seventy years ago.

XV.
So Willy and I were wedded: I wore a lilac gown;
And the ringers rang with a will, and he gave the ringers a crown.
But the first that ever I bare was dead before he was born,
Shadow and shine is life, little Annie, flower and thorn.

XVI.
That was the first time, too, that ever I thought of death.
There lay the sweet little body that never had drawn a breath.
I had not wept, little Anne, not since I had been a wife;
But I wept like a child that day, for the babe had fought for his life.

XVII.
His dear little face was troubled, as if with anger or pain:
I look’d at the still little body–his trouble had all been in vain.
For Willy I cannot weep, I shall see him another morn:
But I wept like a child for the child that was dead before he was born.

XVIII.
But he cheer’d me, my good man, for he seldom said me nay:
Kind, like a man, was he; like a man, too, would have his way:
Never jealous–not he: we had many a happy year;
And he died, and I could not weep–my own time seem’d so near.

XIX.
But I wish’d it had been God’s will that I, too, then could have died:
I began to be tired a little, and fain had slept at his side.
And that was ten years back, or more, if I don’t forget:
But as to the children, Annie, they’re all about me yet.

XX.
Pattering over the boards, my Annie who left me at two,
Patter she goes, my own little Annie, an Annie like you:
Pattering over the boards, she comes and goes at her will,
While Harry is in the five-acre and Charlie ploughing the hill.

XXI.
And Harry and Charlie, I hear them too–they sing to their team:
Often they come to the door in a pleasant kind of a dream.
They come and sit by my chair, they hover about my bed–
I am not always certain if they be alive or dead.

XXII.
And yet I know for a truth, there’s none of them left alive;
For Harry went at sixty, your father at sixty- five:
And Willy, my eldest born, at nigh threescore and ten;
I knew them all as babies, and now they’re elderly men.

XXIII.
For mine is a time of peace, it is not often I grieve;
I am oftener sitting at home in my father’s farm at eve:
And the neighbors come and laugh and gossip, and so do I;
I find myself often laughing at things that have long gone by.

XXIV.
To be sure the preacher says, our sins should make us sad:
But mine is a time of peace, and there is Grace to be had;
And God, not man, is the Judge of us all when life shall cease;
And in this Book, little Annie, the message is one of Peace.

XXV.
And age is a time of peace, so it be free from pain,
And happy has been my life; but I would not live it again.
I seem to be tired a little, that’s all, and long for rest;
Only at your age, Annie, I could have wept with the best.

XXVI.
So Willy has gone, my beauty, my eldest-born, my flower;
But how can I weep for Willy, he has but gone for an hour,–
Gone for a minute, my son, from this room into the next;
I, too, shall go in a minute. What time have I to be vext?

XXVII.
And Willy’s wife has written, she never was over-wise.
Get me my glasses, Annie: thank God that I keep my eyes.
There is but a trifle left you, when I shall have past away.
But stay with the old woman now: you cannot have long to stay

 

– Alfred Lord Tennyson

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Northern Farmer: Old Style

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Wheer ‘asta beän saw long and meä liggin’ ‘ere aloän?
Noorse? thoort nowt o’ a noorse: whoy, Doctor’s abeän an’ agoän;
Says that I moänt ‘a naw moor aäle; but I beänt a fool;
Git ma my aäle, fur I beänt a-gawin’ to breäk my rule.
Doctors, they knaws nowt, fur a says what ‘s nawways true;
Naw soort o’ koind o’ use to saäy the things that a do.
I ‘ve ‘ed my point o’ aäle ivry noight sin’ I beän ‘ere.
An’ I ‘ve ‘ed my quart ivry market-noight for foorty year.
Parson ‘s a beän loikewoise, an’ a sittin’ ere o’ my bed.
“The amoighty ‘s a taäkin o’ you to ‘isén, my friend,” a said,
An’ a towd ma my sins, an’ s toithe were due, an’ I gied it in hond;
I done moy duty boy ‘um, as I ‘a done boy the lond.

Larn’d a ma’ beä. I reckons I ‘annot sa mooch to larn.
But a cast oop, thot a did, ’bout Bessy Marris’s barne.
Thaw a knaws I hallus voäted wi’ Squoire an’ choorch an’ staäte,
An’ i’ the woost o’ toimes I wur niver agin the raäte.

An’ I hallus coom’d to ‘s choorch afoor moy Sally wur deäd,
An’ ‘eard ‘um a bummin’ awaäy loike a buzzard-clock ower me ‘eäd,
An’ I niver knaw’d whot a meän’d but a thowt ä ‘ad summut to saäy.
An’ I thowt a said what a owt to ‘a said, an’ I coom’d awaäy.

Bessy Marris’s barne! tha knaws she laäid it to meä.
Mowt a beän, mayhap, for she wur a bad un, sheä.
‘Siver, I kep ‘um, I kep ‘um, my lass, tha mun understond;
I done moy duty boy ‘um, as I ‘a done boy the lond.

But Parson a cooms an’ a goäs, an’ a says it easy an’ freeä:
“The amoighty ‘s taäkin o’ you to ‘issén, my friend,” says ‘eä.
I weänt saäy men be loiars, thaw summun said it in ‘aäste;
But ‘e reäds wonn sarmin a weeäk, an’ I ‘a stubb’d Thurnaby waäste.

D’ ya moind the waäste, my lass? naw, naw, tha was not born then;
Theer wur a boggle in it, I often ‘eärd ‘um mysén;
Moäst loike a butter-bump, fur I ‘eärd ‘um about an’ about,
But I stubb’d ‘um oop wi’ the lot, an’ raäved an’ rembled ‘um out.

Keäper’s it wur; fo’ they fun ‘um theer a-laäid of is’ faäce
Down i’ the woild ‘enemies afoor I coom’d to the plaäce.
Noäks or Thimbleby–toäner ‘ed shot ‘um as dead as a naäil.
Noäks wur ‘ang’d for it opp at ‘soize–but git ma my aäle.

Dubbut looök at the waäaste; theer warn’t not feeäd for a cow;
Nowt at all but bracken an’ fuzz, an’ looök at it now–
Warn’t worth nowt a haäcre, an’ now theer ‘s lots o’ feeäd,
Fourscoor yows upon it, an’ some on it down i’ seeäd.

Nobbut a bit on it ‘s left, an’ I meän’d to ‘a stubb’d it at fall,
Done it ta-year I meän’d, an’ runn’d plow thruff it an’ all,
If godamoighty an’ parson ‘ud nobbut let ma aloän,–
Meä, wi haäte hoonderd haäcre o’ Squoire’s, an’ lond o’ my oän.

Do godamoighty knaw what a’s doing a-taäkin’ o’ meä?
I beänt wonn as saws ‘ere a beän an yonder a peä;
An’ Squoire ‘ull be sa mad an’ all–a’ dear, a’ dear!
And I ‘a managed for Squoire coom Michaelmas thutty year.

A mowt ‘a taäen owd Joänes, as ‘ant not a ‘aäpoth o’ sense,
Or a mowt a’ taäen young Robins–a niver mended a fence:
But godamoighty a moost taäke meä an’ taäke ma now,
Wi’ aäf the cows to cauve an’ Thurnaby hoälms to plow!

Looök ‘ow quoloty smoiles when they seeäs ma a passin’ boy,
Says to thessén, naw doubt, “What a man a beä sewer-loy!”
Fur they knaws what I beän to Squoire sin’ fust a coom’d to the ‘All;
I done moy duty by Squoire an’ I done moy duty boy hall.

Squoire ‘s i’ Lunnon, an’ summun I reckons ‘ull ‘a to wroite,
For whoa ‘s to howd the lond ater meä that muddles ma quoit;
Sartin-sewer I beä, thot a weänt niver give it to Joänes,
Naw, nor a moänt to Robins–a niver rembles the stoäns.

But summun ‘ull come ater meä mayhap wi’ ‘is kittle o’ steäm
Huzzin’ an’ maazin’ the blessed feälds wi’ the Divil’s oän teäm.
Sin’ I mun doy I mun doy, thaw loife they says is sweet,
But sin’ I mun doy I mun doy, for I couldn abeär to see it.

What atta stannin’ theer fur, an’ doesn bring me the aäle?
Doctor ‘s a ‘toättler, lass, an a’s hallus i’ the owd taäle;
I weänt breäk rules fur Doctor, a knaws naw moor nor a floy;
Git ma my aäle, I tell tha, an’ if I mun doy I mun doy.

 

– Alfred Lord Tennyson

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Northern Farmer: New Style

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Dosn’t thou ‘ear my ‘erse’s legs, as they canters awaäy?
Proputty, proputty, proputty–that’s what I ‘ears ’em saäy.
Proputty, proputty, proputty–Sam, thou’s an ass for thy paaïns:
Theer’s moor sense i’ one o’ ‘is legs, nor in all thy braaïns.
Woä–theer’s a craw to pluck wi’ tha, Sam; yon ‘s parson’s ‘ouse–
Dosn’t thou knaw that a man mun be eäther a man or a mouse?
Time to think on it then; for thou’ll be twenty to weeäk.
Proputty, proputty–woä then, woä–let ma ‘ear mysén speäk.
Me an’ thy muther, Sammy, ‘as been a’talkin’ o’ thee;
Thou’s beän talkin’ to muther, an’ she beän a tellin’ it me.
Thou’ll not marry for munny–thou’s sweet upo’ parson’s lass–
Noä–thou ‘ll marry for luvv–an’ we boäth of us thinks tha an ass.

Seeä’d her todaäy goä by–Saäint’s-daäy–they was ringing the bells.
She’s a beauty, thou thinks–an’ soä is scoors o’ gells,
Them as ‘as munny an’ all–wot’s a beauty?–the flower as blaws.
But proputty, proputty sticks, an’ proputty, proputty graws.

Do’ant be stunt; taäke time. I knaws what maäkes tha sa mad.
Warn’t I craäzed fur the lasses mysén when I wur a lad?
But I knaw’d a Quaäker feller as often ‘as towd ma this:
“Doänt thou marry for munny, but goä wheer munny is!”

An’ I went wheer munny war; an’ thy muther coom to ‘and,
Wi’ lots o’ munny laaïd by, an’ a nicetish bit o’ land.
Maäybe she warn’t a beauty–I niver giv it a thowt–
But warn’t she as good to cuddle an’ kiss as a lass as ‘ant nowt?

Parson’s lass ‘ant nowt, an’ she weänt ‘a nowt when ‘e ‘s deäd,
Mun be a guvness, lad, or summut, and addle her breäd.
Why? for ‘e ‘s nobbut a curate, an’ weänt niver get hissén clear,
An’ ‘e maäde the bed as ‘e ligs on afoor ‘e coom’d to the shere.

An’ thin ‘e coom’d to the parish wi’ lots o’ Varsity debt,
Stook to his taäil thy did, an’ ‘e ‘ant got shut on ’em yet.
An’ ‘e ligs on ‘is back i’ the grip, wi’ noän to lend ‘im a shuvv,
Woorse nor a far-welter’d yowe: fur, Sammy, ‘e married for luvv.

Luvv? what’s luvv? thou can luvv thy lass an’ ‘er munny too,
Maäkin’ ’em goä togither, as they’ve good right to do.
Couldn I luvv thy muther by cause ‘o ‘er munny laaïd by?
Naäy–fur I luvv’d ‘er a vast sight moor fur it: reäson why.

Ay, an’ thy muther says thou wants to marry the lass,
Cooms of a gentleman burn: an’ we boäth on us thinks tha an ass.
Woä then, proputty, wiltha?–an ass as near as mays nowt–
Woä then, wiltha? dangtha!–the bees is as fell as owt.

Breäk me a bit o’ the esh for his ‘eäd, lad, out o’ the fence!
Gentleman burn! what’s gentleman burn? is it shillins an’ pence?
Proputty, proputty’s ivrything ‘ere, an’, Sammy, I’m blest
If it isn’t the saäme oop yonder, fur them as ‘as it ‘s the best.

Tis’n them as ‘as munny as breaks into ‘ouses an’ steäls,
Them as ‘as coats to their backs an’ taäkes their regular meäls,
Noä, but it ‘s them as niver knaws wheer a meäl’s to be ‘ad.
Taäke my word for it Sammy, the poor in a loomp is bad.

Them or thir feythers, tha sees, mun ‘a beän a laäzy lot,
Fur work mun ‘a gone to the gittin’ whiniver munny was got.
Feyther ‘ad ammost nowt; leastways ‘is munny was ‘id.
But ‘e tued an’ moil’d issén dead, an’ ‘e died a good un, ‘e did.

Looök thou theer wheer Wrigglesby beck cooms out by the ‘ill!
Feyther run oop to the farm, an’ I runs oop to the mill;
An’ I ‘ll run oop to the brig, an’ that thou ‘ll live to see;
And if thou marries a good un I ‘ll leäve the land to thee.

Thim’s my noätions, Sammy, wheerby I means to stick;
But if thou marries a bad un, I ‘ll leäve the land to Dick.–
Coom oop, proputty, proputty–that’s what I ‘ears ‘im saäy–
Proputty, proputty, proputty–canter an’ canter awaäy.

 

– Alfred Lord Tennyson

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The Tears Of Heaven

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Heaven weeps above the earth all night till morn,
In darkness weeps, as all ashamed to weep,
Because the earth hath made her state forlorn
With selfwrought evils of unnumbered years,
And doth the fruit of her dishonour reap.
And all the day heaven gathers back her tears
Into her own blue eyes so clear and deep,
And showering down the glory of lightsome day,
Smiles on the earth’s worn brow to win her if she may.

 

– Alfred Lord Tennyson

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