Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Lady of Shalott

One of my top 10 favorite movies of all time is the entire series of Anne of Green Gables. I LOVE the way it begins with Anne reading from Tennyson's Lady of Shalott. Because I can say about half the movie's script, I memorized the first bits that begin with "willows whiten, aspens quiver, little breezes dusk and shiver" - love love love it...and so, I began a search for a book like that in Anne's hands...so I could "read Tennyson by firelight" to myself. I found that book this last month! Tennyson's Poems (I wish I could find the camera this morning to show you what it looks like) - however, I want, want WANT to learn the entire Lady of Shalott by heart...it is a life's goal (you see, I'm a terrible memorizer, so I hope to get better with this) I'm typing it here to help me memorize it - Enjoy, it is a truly beautiful (albeit tragic) poem. I've also included 3 works of art that are my favorite of all of those who tried to depict "the lady" - I especially LOVE Waterhouse's version!!! woweee... ( I don't know WHY but blogger doesn't allow any "extra spaces" so that totally ruins the phrasing of this poem...try to bear with it though!)

The Lady of Shalott
Part I.
On either side of the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And thro' the field the road runs by
To many-tower'd Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gasing where the lilies blow
Round and island there below
The island of Shalott
Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Thro' the wave that runs forever
By the island in the river
Flowing down to Camelot.
Four gray walls, and four gray towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle embowers
The Lady of Shalott.
By the margin, willow-veil'd,
Slide the heavy barges trail'd.
By slow horses; and unhail'd
The shallop flitteth silken-sail'd
Skimming down to Camelot:
But who hat seen her wave her hand
Or at the casement seen her stand?
Or is she known in all the land,
The Lady of Shalott?
Only reapers, reaping early
In among the bearded barley,
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly,
Down to tower'd Camelot:
And by the moon the reaper weary,
Piling sheaves in uplainds airy,
Listening whispers "'Tis the fairy
Lady of Shalott."
Part II.
There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colors gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
To look down on Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
The Lady of Shalott.
And moving thro' a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near
Winding down to Camelot:
There the river eddy whirls,
And there the surly village-churls,
And the red cloaks of market girls,
Pass onward from Shalott.
Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
An abbot on an ambling pad,
Sometimes a curly shepher-lad,
Or long-hair'd page in crimson clad,
Goes by to tower'd Camelot;
And sometimes thro' the mirror blue
The knights come riding two and two:
She hath no loyal knight and true,
The Lady of Shalott.
But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror's magic sights,
For often thro' the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights
And music, went to Camelot:
Or when the moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed;
"I am half sick of shadows," said
The Lady of Shalott.
Part III.
A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rod between the barley-sheaves,
The sun came dazzling thro' the leaves,
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
of bold Sir Lancelot.
A red-cross knight forever kneel'd
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
Beside remote Shalott.
The gemmy bridle glitter'd free,
Like to some branch of stars we see
Hung in the golden Galaxy.
The bridle bells rang merrily
As he rode down to Camelot:
And from his blazon'd baldric slung
A mighty silver bugle hung,
And as he rode his armor rung,
Beside remote Shalott.
All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewell'd shone the saddle-leather,
The helment and the helmet-feather
Burn'd like one burning flame together,
As he rode down to Camelot.
As often thro' the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, trailing light,
Moves over still Shalott.
His broad clear brow in sunlight glow'd;
On burnish'd hoovees his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow'd
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flash'd into the crystal mirror,
"Tirra lirra," by the river
Sang Sir Lancelot.
She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces thro' the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She look'd down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack'd from side to side;
"The curse is come upon me," cried
the Lady of Shalott.William Holman Hunt's Lady of Shalott
Part IV.
In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining,
Heavily the low sky raining,
Over tower'd Camelot;
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And round about the prow she wrote
The Lady of Shalott.
And down the river's dim expanse
Like some bold seer in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance -
With a glassy countenance
Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott

John William Waterhouse's Lady of Shalott

Lying, robed in snowy white,

That loosely flew to left and right --

The leaves upon her falling light --

Thro' the noises of the night

She floated down to Camelot:

And as the boat-head wound along

The willowy hills and fields among,

They heard her singing her last song,

The Lady of Shalott.

Heard a carol, mournful, holy,

Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,

Till her blood was frozen slowly,

And her eyes were darken'd wholly,

Turn'd to tower'd Camelot.

For ere she reach'd upon the tide

The first house by the water-side,

Singing in her song she song she died,

The Lady of Shalott.

Under tower and balcony

By garden-wall and gallery,

A gleaming shape she floated by,

Dead-pale between the houses high,

Silent into Camelot.

Out upon the warfs they came,

Knkight and burgher, lord and dame,

And round the prow they read her name,

The Lady of Shalott.

Who is this? and what is here?

and in the light palace near

Died the sound of royal cheer;

And they cross'd themselves for fear,

All the knights at Camelot:

But Lancelot mused a little space;

He said, "She has a lovely face;

God in his mercy lend her grace,

The Lady of Shalott."

Dante Gabriel Rosetti's Lady of Shalott


Doreen said...

I LOVE Anne Of Green Gables and this poem...such wonderful words!!!


sarah haliwell said...

I love the original AGG series too. (But the later ones, diverging from the true story, got worse and worse.) And I love The Lady of Shalott. I loved teaching it to my dd - she can still recite the first stanza, years later. AND I love Waterhouse!

Perhaps we're kindred spirits ;-)

Christine Crocker of Deerfield Farm said...

good morning katiebird,

I Love Anne of Green Gables and just now reading this, I can hear Anne's voice...clutching the bridge timbers as Gilbert Blythe asks what she's doing..."fishing for lake trout"...
what alot of happy memories this brings to mind...
...I think I'll watch her while I sew today.
thank you for sharing her today.