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Tennyson 200 - Favourite Poems by Tennyson Poll Part 1


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Favourite Tennyson Poems Poll

 

http://www.micropoll.com/akira/mpview/635401-190277

 

 

In the second half of the nineteenth century, Tennyson was arguably the second most well known person in the kingdom (after Queen Victoria). When people such as Garibaldi came to the country, visiting Tennyson at his home on the Isle of Wight was a priority. Edison took recordings of only a few people when he came to Britain in the late 1880s, Tennyson being one of them. At Charles Dickens’ funeral, mothers held their children up in the air so that they might catch a glimpse of the reclusive poet on one of his rare public appearances. So many tourists came to the Isle of Wight in order to see Tennyson on one of his walks across the High Down that he was forced to spend his summers elsewhere.

 

6th August is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Alfred Lord Tennyson, and to celebrate this event, a poll has been set up to find people’s favourite Tennyson poem. To help people make their choice here are extracts from the 20 poems in the shortlist (first 10)

 

http://www.micropoll.com/akira/mpview/635401-190277

 

 

 

As thro’ the land

As thro' the land at eve we went,

And pluck'd the ripen'd ears,

We fell out, my wife and I,

O we fell out I know not why,

And kiss'd again with tears.

And blessings on the falling out

That all the more endears,

When we fall out with those we love

And kiss again with tears!

For when we came where lies the child

We lost in other years,

There above the little grave,

O there above the little grave,

We kiss'd again with tears.

 

[Tennyson and his wife Emily were married in 1850 after a long engagement. Their first child was stillborn. Probably, this poem marks a visit to the grave of this child at the Parish church in Twickenham, London where they were living in the early years of their marriage]

 

The Bridesmaid

 

O bridesmaid, ere the happy knot was tied,

Thine eyes so wept that they could hardly see;

Thy sister smiled and said, ‘No tears for me!

A happy bridesmaid makes a happy bride.’

And then, the couple standing side by side,

Love lighted down between them full of glee,

And over his left shoulder laugh’d at thee,

‘O happy bridesmaid, make a happy bride.’

And all at once a pleasant truth I learn’d,

For while the tender service made thee weep,

I loved thee for the tear thou couldst not hide,

And prest thy hand, and knew the press return’d,

And thought, ‘My life is sick of single sleep:

O happy bridesmaid, make a happy bride!’

 

[Tennyson met his wife Emily at the wedding of his brother Charles to Emily’s sister]

 

 

Break break break

 

Break, break, break,

On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!

And I would that my tongue could utter

The thoughts that arise in me.

 

O, well for the fisherman's boy,

That he shouts with his sister at play!

O, well for the sailor lad,

That he sings in his boat on the bay!

 

And the stately ships go on

To their haven under the hill;

But O for the touch of a vanished hand,

And the sound of a voice that is still!

 

Break, break, break,

At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!

But the tender grace of a day that is dead

Will never come back to me.

 

[Written in 1834, not long after the death of Arthur Hallam]

 

The Charge of the Light Brigade

 

'Forward, the Light Brigade!'

Was there a man dismay'd ?

Not tho' the soldier knew

Some one had blunder'd:

Their's not to make reply,

Their's not to reason why,

Their's but to do and die:

Into the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.

 

[short extract from possibly Tennyson’s most famous work]

 

The Eagle

 

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;

Close to the sun in lonely lands,

Ring'd with the azure world, he stands.

 

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;

He watches from his mountain walls,

And like a thunderbolt he falls.

 

The Idylls of the King

 

(from The passing of Arthur)

 

And slowly answered Arthur from the barge:

'The old order changeth, yielding place to new,

And God fulfils himself in many ways,

Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.

Comfort thyself: what comfort is in me?

I have lived my life, and that which I have done

May He within himself make pure! but thou,

If thou shouldst never see my face again,

Pray for my soul. More things are wrought by prayer

Than this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voice

Rise like a fountain for me night and day.

For what are men better than sheep or goats

That nourish a blind life within the brain,

If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer

Both for themselves and those who call them friend?

For so the whole round earth is every way

Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.

 

[The Idylls are a monumental work that kept Tennyson busy for the last 30 years of his life. They reflect his life-long interest in the legends of King Arthur which he did a great deal to revive]

 

In Memoriam

Be near me when my light is low,

When the blood creeps, and the nerves prick

And tingle; and the heart is sick,

And all the wheels of Being slow.

Be near me when the sensuous frame

Is rack’d with pangs that conquer trust;

And Time, a maniac scattering dust,

And Life, a Fury slinging flame.

Be near me when my faith is dry,

And men the flies of latter spring,

That lay their eggs, and sting and sing

And weave their petty cells and die.

Be near me when I fade away,

To point the term of human strife,

And on the low dark verge of life

The twilight of eternal day.

I envy not in any moods

The captive void of noble rage,

The linnet born within the cage,

That never knew the summer woods;

I envy not the beast that takes

His license in the field of time,

Unfetter'd by the sense of crime,

To whom a conscience never wakes;

Nor, what may count itself as blest,

The heart that never plighted troth

But stagnates in the weeds of sloth;

Nor any want-begotten rest.

I hold it true, whate'er befall;

I feel it, when I sorrow most;

'T is better to have loved and lost

Than never to have loved at all.

 

[Just two short extracts from the work which propelled Tennyson to fame and fortune and the Laureateship in 1850. It had a huge influence on the Victorian psyche and response to questions about the meaning of life and death and human existence]

 

In the Valley of Cauteretz

 

All along the valley, stream that flashest white,

Deepening thy voice with the deepening of the night,

All along the valley, where thy waters flow,

I walk'd with one I loved two and thirty years ago.

All along the valley while I walk'd to-day,

The two and thirty years were a mist that rolls away;

For all along the valley, down thy rocky bed

Thy living voice to me was as the voice of the dead,

And all along the valley, by rock and cave and tree,

The voice of the dead was a living voice to me.

 

The Kraken

 

Below the thunders of the upper deep,

Far far beneath in the abysmal sea,

His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep

The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee

About his shadowy sides: above him swell

Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;

And far away into the sickly light,

From many a wondrous grot and secret cell

Unnumbered and enormous polypi

Winnow with giant fins the slumbering green.

There hath he lain for ages and will lie

Battering upon huge seaworms in his sleep,

Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;

Then once by men and angels to be seen,

In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.

 

 

The Lady of Shallott

 

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.

 

[A short extract from this long poem, published when Tennyson was only 23. This poem was voted the nation’s second favourite poem (after Kipling’s “If”) in the BBC poll]

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Mariana in the South

 

[Last verse]

 

At eve a dry cicala sung,

There came a sound as of the sea;

Backward the lattice-blind she flung,

And lean'd upon the balcony.

There all in spaces rosy-bright

Large Hesper glitter'd on her tears,

And deepening thro' the silent spheres

Heaven over Heaven rose the night.

And weeping then she made her moan,

"The night comes on that knows not morn,

When I shall cease to be all alone,

To live forgotten, and love forlorn."

 

Now sleeps the crimson petal

 

Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white;

Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk;

Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font:

The fire-fly wakens: waken thou with me.

Now droops the milk-white peacock like a ghost,

And like a ghost she glimmers on to me.

Now lies the earth all Danaë to the stars,

And all thy heart lies open unto me.

Now slides the silent meteor on, and leaves

A shining furrow, as thy thoughts in me.

 

Now folds the lily all her sweetness up,

And slips into the bosom of the lake:

So fold thyself, my dearest, thou, and slip

Into my bosom and be lost in me.

 

[Tennyson described this lyric, taken from his long poem “The Princess”, as a pastiche of Persian poetry]

 

St Agnes Eve

 

[Last verse]

 

He lifts me to the golden doors;

The flashes come and go;

All heaven bursts her starry floors,

And strows her lights below,

And deepens on and up! the gates

Roll back, and far within

For me the Heavenly Bridegroom waits,

To make me pure of sin.

The sabbaths of Eternity,

One sabbath deep and wide—

A light upon the shining sea—

The Bridegroom with his bride!

 

Tears Idle Tears

 

[first two verses]

 

Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,

Tears from the depth of some divine despair

Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,

In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,

And thinking of the days that are no more.

 

Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,

That brings our friends up from the underworld,

Sad as the last which reddens over one

That sinks with all we love below the verge;

So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.

 

Song of the Lotos Eaters

 

[Extract]

 

There is sweet music here that softer falls

Than petals from blown roses on the grass,

Or night-dews on still waters between walls

Of shadowy granite, in a gleaming pass;

Music that gentlier on the spirit lies,

Than tir'd eyelids upon tir'd eyes;

Music that brings sweet sleep down from the blissful skies.

Here are cool mosses deep,

And thro' the moss the ivies creep,

And in the stream the long-leaved flowers weep,

And from the craggy ledge the poppy hangs in sleep."

 

Tithonus

 

[Extract]

 

The woods decay, the woods decay and fall,

The vapours weep their burthen to the ground,

Man comes and tills the field and lies beneath,

And after many a summer dies the swan.

Me only cruel immortality

Consumes; I wither slowly in thine arms,

Here at the quiet limit of the world,

A white-hair'd shadow roaming like a dream

The ever-silent spaces of the East,

Far-folded mists, and gleaming halls of morn.

 

Ulysses

 

[Ending]

 

'T is not too late to seek a newer world.

Push off, and sitting well in order smite

The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds

To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths

Of all the western stars, until I die.

It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;

It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,

And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.

Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'

We are not now that strength which in old days

Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,—

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

 

Maud

 

O let the solid ground

Not fail beneath my feet

Before my life has found

What some have found so sweet;

Then let come what come may,

What matter if I go mad,

I shall have had my day.

 

Let the sweet heavens endure,

Not close and darken above me

Before I am quite sure

That there is one to love me;

Then let come what come may

To a life that has been so sad,

I shall have had my day.

 

 

I have led her home, my love, my only friend.

There is none like her, none.

And never yet so warmly ran my blood

And sweetly, on and on

Calming itself to the long-wish`d-for end,

Full to the banks, close on the promised good.

 

None like her, none.

Just now the dry-tongued laurels` pattering talk

Seem`d her light foot along the garden walk,

And shook my heart to think she comes once more,

But even then I heard her close the door,

The gates of Heaven are closed, and she is gone.

 

There is none like her, none.

Nor will be when our summers have deceased.

O, art thou sighing for Lebanon

In the long breeze that streams to thy delicious East,

Sighing for Lebanon,

Dark cedar, tho` thy limbs have here increased,

Upon a pastoral slope as fair,

And looking to the South, and fed

With honey`d rain and delicate air,

And haunted by the starry head

Of her whose gentle will has changed my fate,

And made my life a perfumed altar-flame;

And over whom thy darkness must have spread

With such delight as theirs of old, thy great

Forefathers of the thornless garden, there

Shadowing the snow-limb`d Eve from whom she came.

 

 

Come into the garden, Maud,

For the black bat, night, has flown,

Come into the garden, Maud,

I am here at the gate alone;

And the woodbine spices are wafted abroad,

And the musk of the roses blown.

 

For a breeze of morning moves,

And the planet of Love is on high,

Beginning to faint in the light that she loves

On a bed of daffodil sky,

To faint in the light of the sun she loves,

To faint in his light, and to die.

….

 

There has fallen a splendid tear

From the passion-flower at the gate.

She is coming, my dove, my dear;

She is coming, my life, my fate;

The red rose cries, "She is near, she is near;"

And the white rose weeps, "She is late,"

The larkspur listens, "I hear, I hear;"

And the lily whispers, "I wait."

 

She is coming, my own, my sweet,

Were it ever so airy a tread,

My heart would hear her and beat,

Were it earth in an earthy bed;

My dust would hear her and beat,

Had I lain for a century dead;

Would start and tremble under her feet,

And blossom in purple and red.

 

 

O that `twere possible

After long grief and pain

To find the arms of my true love

Round me once again!

 

When I was wont to meet her

In the silent woody places

By the home that gave me birth,

We stood tranced in long embraces

Mixt with kisses sweeter sweeter

Than anything on earth.

 

A shadow flits before me,

Not thou, but like to thee;

Ah Christ, that it were possible

For one short hour to see

The souls we loved, that they might tell us

What and where they be.

 

It leads me forth at evening,

It lightly winds and steals

In a cold white robe before me,

When all my spirit reels

At the shouts, the leagues of lights,

And the roaring of the wheels.

 

Half the night I waste in sighs,

Half in dreams I sorrow after

The delight of early skies;

In a wakeful doze I sorrow

For the hand, the lips, the eyes,

For the meeting of the morrow

The delight of happy laughter,

The delight of low replies.

 

 

But the broad light glares and beats,

And the shadow flits and fleets

And will not let me be;

And I loathe the squares and streets,

And the faces that one meets,

Hearts with no love for me:

Always I long to creep

Into some still cavern deep,

There to weep, and weep, and weep

My whole soul out to thee.

 

 

Dead, long dead,

Long dead!

And my heart is a handful of dust,

And the wheels go over my head,

And my bones are shaken with pain,

For into a shallow grave they are thrust,

Only a yard beneath the street,

And the hoofs of the horses beat, beat,

The hoofs of the horses beat,

Beat into my scalp and my brain,

With never an end to the stream of passing feet,

Driving, hurrying, marrying, burying,

Clamor and rumble, and ringing and clatter,

And here beneath it is all as bad

For I thought the dead had peace, but it is not so;

To have no peace in the grave, is that not sad?

But up and down and to and fro,

Ever about me the dead men go;

And then to hear a dead man chatter

Is enough to drive one mad.

 

[Series of extracts from Tennyson’s long poem published in the same volume as The Charge of the Light Brigade. This was Tennyson’s favourite poem and he would need little persuasion to recite extracts to guests after dinner]

 

Crossing the Bar

 

Sunset and evening star,

And one clear call for me!

And may there be no moaning of the bar,

When I put out to sea,

 

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,

Too full for sound and foam,

When that which drew from out the boundless deep

Turns again home.

 

Twilight and evening bell,

And after that the dark!

And may there be no sadness of farewell,

When I embark;

 

For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place

The flood may bear me far,

I hope to see my Pilot face to face

When I have crost the bar.

 

[Written by Tennyson towards the end of his life after taking the ferry from Lymmington to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight. Tennyson’s son on hearing it said “it is the crown of your life’s work”. Tennyson asked that it should always be the last poem in any volume of his poems]

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Excellent initiative, woofwoof: I'd no idea it was the bicentenary of Tennyson's birth this year - though I'd been made aware of a plethora of classical musical anniversaries: bicentenary of Haydn's death and of Mendelssohn's birth, 250th anniversary of Handel's death, 350th anniversary of Purcell's birth...

 

Tennyson is a poet I've often dipped into but never really got down to reading carefully... I'll look forward to having a good look at the poll and the extracts you've posted.

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On a gorgeous summer's day about ten years ago we drove through the virtually empty Lincolnshire Wolds and came unexpectedly upon Tennyson's old home in Somersby. I'd never read a lot of his poetry but have always rather liked The Lotos Eaters, Ulysses and, surprise surprise (I don't think) The Charge of the Light Brigade.

 

Thanks woofwood for this thread. I've had a vote.

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There has actually been quite a lot of BBC activity celebrating Tennyson's Bicentennial, especially on radio, where it essentially belongs. Tennyson's poetry demands being heard (at the very least with the 'ghost voice' we all carry in our heads). I've especially enjoyed readings of Maud and The Kraken in the past week. Tennyson is surely a gift to the reciter - I thinks of those lines (from memory) when he recalls Hallam in In Memoriam :

 

By night we lingered on the lawn

For underfoot the herb was dry

And genial warmth, and o'er the sky

The silv'ry haze of summer drawn.

 

The prose version of this is 'We used to hang about on the grass watching the sunset.'

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There's an awful lot more in the poem than there is in the 'prose version'! I would also query the reference to the sunset. Surely the 'silv'ry haze of summer' is the long-drawn-out midsummer twilight, which made it pleasant to linger outside on the warm, dry grass.

 

Lovely to see all my favourite bits of Tennyson quoted. I vote for 'Ulysses'.

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'The Lady of Shallott' for me. I came across it just after reading Roger Lancelyn-Green's 'King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table' and it struck a chord. I also love the rhythm of the words as the tension builds.

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I first read The Lady Of Shalott at school but thereafter the phrase The curse is come upon me was regularly used in another context amongst us girls.

Ruined the poem a bit.

It's years since I've heard it called the Curse - I'd forgotten about that.

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It's interesting that Tennyson substantially revised the Lady of Shalott between its first publication in 1832 and the version that we know today which was issued in 1842. There's a comparison of the two versions at

 

http://www.pathguy.com/shalott.htm

 

Looking at the final verse, the original

 

They crossed themselves, their stars they blest,

Knight, minstrel, abbot, squire and guest,

There lay a parchment on her breast,

That puzzled more than all the rest,

The wellfed wits at Camelot.

"The web was woven curiously,

The charm is broken utterly,

Draw near and fear not -- this is I,

The Lady of Shalott."

 

definitely sounds odd - especially "the wellfed wits at Camelot"!

 

I think

 

Who is this? And what is here?

And in the lighted palace near

Died the sound of royal cheer;

And they crossed 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."

 

is an improvement though you would have thought that Lancelot could have managed something more than "She has a lovely face", though may be that just sums up "the kind of guy he was"! (It's interesting that he doesn't seem to recognise her - unless he's covering that up. many people think that The Lady of Shalott is based on the story of The Maid of Astolat told by malory. In this story The Lady has an affair with Lancelot years before. Guinevere in her jealousy has her shut up and puts the curse on her. But surely Lancelot would have recognised her if he'd had an affair with her - but then again maybe that also says something about the kind of guy he was!)

 

The story of The Maid of Astolat

 

http://csis.pace.edu/grendel/projs993a/arthurian/fairmaid.htm

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just an aside on the subject of "The Lady of Shallott" - a Lincolnshire group called "WAG films" have created a dramatised film version of the poem. It is superbly done - every scene looks like something by Waterhouse or Hunt. The film is available on DVD - it would be a wonderful resource for schools. You can see the trailer and other information (and ordering details) at

 

http://www.wagscreen.co.uk/site/ls-news.php

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  • 11 months later...
  • 5 months later...

Ahh I love Tennyson! My favourite poem has to be Maud, which I studied in great depth at university. The tension between Tennyson's role as poet laureate, writing about war for the public, and his roots in aesthetic poetry are perfectly embodied in Maud. The form and metre is constantly shifting and changing, indicative of the narrator's troubled mind, and his descriptions of beauty and the passion of love and desire always seem to be tainted with an edge of death or violence.

 

I also voted for 'The Lady of Shalott', 'Tithonus' and In Memoriam. All very rich poems with lots to analyse, which is what I like!

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Thank you LiteratureKitty for your votes. I think this is probably a good time to close the poll. So the final result is as follows:

 

Joint 17th place:

 

As thro' the land, The Bridesmaid, The Kraken, Mariana in the South

 

Joint 12th place:

 

Now sleeps the crimson petal, St Agnes Eve, In the valley of Cauteretz, The Eagle, "Other"

 

11th place:

 

Tears Idle Tears

 

Joint 9th place:

 

Idylls of the King

Maud: A monodrama

 

8th place:

 

Tithonus

 

7th place:

 

The Charge of the light brigade

 

6th place:

 

The Song of the Lotos Eaters

 

5th place:

 

Ulysses

 

4th place:

 

Break break break

 

3rd place:

 

In Memoriam

 

And our joint winners are:

 

The Lady of Shallott and Crossing the Bar

 

Thanks to everyone who took part. We ought to do this again with other poets. Any suggestions?

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    • By woofwoof
      Today is the 125th anniversary of the death of Alfred Lord Tennyson. It’s amazing how time flies, it doesn’t seem like 8 years since the 200th birth anniversary. The following are some links to blogs with very interesting descriptions of his passing away in that moonlit room at his Sussex house:
       
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      National Poetry Day seems to become lower and lower in status as the years go by. I remember when the BBC would organise polls with a special TV programme with Griff Rhys Jones. Now, it's relegated to a thrice repeated piece on BBC Radio 4 Extra i.e. not even on Radio 4!
       
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      O let the solid ground
      Not fail beneath my feet
      Before my life has found
      What some have found so sweet;
      Then let come what come may,
      What matter if I go mad,
      I shall have had my day.

      Let the sweet heavens endure,
      Not close and darken above me
      Before I am quite sure
      That there is one to love me;
      Then let come what come may
      To a life that has been so sad,
      I shall have had my day.



      I have led her home, my love, my only friend.
      There is none like her, none.
      And never yet so warmly ran my blood
      And sweetly, on and on
      Calming itself to the long-wish`d-for end,
      Full to the banks, close on the promised good.

      None like her, none.
      Just now the dry-tongued laurels` pattering talk
      Seem`d her light foot along the garden walk,
      And shook my heart to think she comes once more,
      But even then I heard her close the door,
      The gates of Heaven are closed, and she is gone.

      There is none like her, none.
      Nor will be when our summers have deceased.
      O, art thou sighing for Lebanon
      In the long breeze that streams to thy delicious East,
      Sighing for Lebanon,
      Dark cedar, tho` thy limbs have here increased,
      Upon a pastoral slope as fair,
      And looking to the South, and fed
      With honey`d rain and delicate air,
      And haunted by the starry head
      Of her whose gentle will has changed my fate,
      And made my life a perfumed altar-flame;
      And over whom thy darkness must have spread
      With such delight as theirs of old, thy great
      Forefathers of the thornless garden, there
      Shadowing the snow-limb`d Eve from whom she came.



      Come into the garden, Maud,
      For the black bat, night, has flown,
      Come into the garden, Maud,
      I am here at the gate alone;
      And the woodbine spices are wafted abroad,
      And the musk of the roses blown.

      For a breeze of morning moves,
      And the planet of Love is on high,
      Beginning to faint in the light that she loves
      On a bed of daffodil sky,
      To faint in the light of the sun she loves,
      To faint in his light, and to die.
      ….

      There has fallen a splendid tear
      From the passion-flower at the gate.
      She is coming, my dove, my dear;
      She is coming, my life, my fate;
      The red rose cries, "She is near, she is near;"
      And the white rose weeps, "She is late,"
      The larkspur listens, "I hear, I hear;"
      And the lily whispers, "I wait."

      She is coming, my own, my sweet,
      Were it ever so airy a tread,
      My heart would hear her and beat,
      Were it earth in an earthy bed;
      My dust would hear her and beat,
      Had I lain for a century dead;
      Would start and tremble under her feet,
      And blossom in purple and red.



      O that `twere possible
      After long grief and pain
      To find the arms of my true love
      Round me once again!

      When I was wont to meet her
      In the silent woody places
      By the home that gave me birth,
      We stood tranced in long embraces
      Mixt with kisses sweeter sweeter
      Than anything on earth.

      A shadow flits before me,
      Not thou, but like to thee;
      Ah Christ, that it were possible
      For one short hour to see
      The souls we loved, that they might tell us
      What and where they be.

      It leads me forth at evening,
      It lightly winds and steals
      In a cold white robe before me,
      When all my spirit reels
      At the shouts, the leagues of lights,
      And the roaring of the wheels.

      Half the night I waste in sighs,
      Half in dreams I sorrow after
      The delight of early skies;
      In a wakeful doze I sorrow
      For the hand, the lips, the eyes,
      For the meeting of the morrow
      The delight of happy laughter,
      The delight of low replies.



      But the broad light glares and beats,
      And the shadow flits and fleets
      And will not let me be;
      And I loathe the squares and streets,
      And the faces that one meets,
      Hearts with no love for me:
      Always I long to creep
      Into some still cavern deep,
      There to weep, and weep, and weep
      My whole soul out to thee.



      Dead, long dead,
      Long dead!
      And my heart is a handful of dust,
      And the wheels go over my head,
      And my bones are shaken with pain,
      For into a shallow grave they are thrust,
      Only a yard beneath the street,
      And the hoofs of the horses beat, beat,
      The hoofs of the horses beat,
      Beat into my scalp and my brain,
      With never an end to the stream of passing feet,
      Driving, hurrying, marrying, burying,
      Clamor and rumble, and ringing and clatter,
      And here beneath it is all as bad
      For I thought the dead had peace, but it is not so;
      To have no peace in the grave, is that not sad?
      But up and down and to and fro,
      Ever about me the dead men go;
      And then to hear a dead man chatter
      Is enough to drive one mad.

       
    • By woofwoof
      The BBC is broadcasting a series of programmes to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Alfred Lord Tennyson (all on the Radio). Some of these programmes have already been broadcast but are still available on the BBC Iplayer:
       
      Wednesday 5th August 23:00 Radio 3 - The Essay. Welsh poet Gwyneth Lewis discusses the importance to her of Tennyson's poem The Kraken.
       
      Thursday 6th August 23:00 Radio 3 - The Essay. Brian Patten discusses the importance to him of Tennyson's poem Come into the Garden, Maud
       
      Friday 7th August 23:00 Radio 3 - The Essay. Kit Wright on the importance to him of Tennyson's lyric poem Tears, Idle Tears.
       
      Friday 7th August 23:00 Radio 4 - Andrew Motion champions the life of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Poet Laureate for over 40 years and creator of In Memoriam and The Charge of the Light Brigade. Ann Thwaite provides further details of Tennyson's often-troubled life
       
      Saturday 8th August 23:30 Radio 4 - Tennyson's Ulysses revisited. Poet Sean O'Brien explores Alfred, Lord Tennyson's great poem, Ulysses.
       
      Sunday 9th August 16:30 Radio 4 - Tennyson: Poetry Please. Roger McGough presents a special edition devoted to the poetry of Tennyson, as part of the poet's bicentenary celebrations. Tennyson is one of the most frequently requested 19th-century poets on the programme.
       
      Sunday 9th August 22:45 Radio 3 - To Strive, to Seek, to Find and Not to Yield. In a programme celebrating the work of Tennyson, Beth Goddard and Michael Pennington read poetry from Tennyson himself and others on the theme of destiny, alongside with music inspired by, and reflecting the texts. The poet is represented by excerpts from favourites such as The Lady of Shalott and Ulysses
       
      Sunday 15th August 23:30 Radio 4 - Tennyson: Poetry Please. Roger McGough presents a special edition devoted to the poetry of Tennyson, as part of the poet's bicentenary celebrations. Tennyson is one of the most frequently requested 19th-century poets on the programme.
       
      Some programmes now gone but on the iplayer for a few days only:
      ----------------------------------------------------------------
       
      Andrew Motion discussing Tennyson at the Proms LIterary Festival:
       
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00lxrp3
       
      Searching for Alfred in the Shadow of Tennyson. Poet and writer Ruth Padel goes in search of the real Alfred, Lord Tennyson, a poet who for many people today is an iconic image of the Victorian era. We know him as Queen Victorian's Poet Laureate, an imposing figure with a beard and cape and the author of long poems often based on myths and legends. But this image hides other facets of Tennyson and obscures the fact that many creative artists today are drawing on his work.
       
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00lxrp7
       
      The Essay - Vicki Feaver on Ulysses. Vicki Feaver talks about Tennyson's long poem Ulysses, about the aged hero of Greek myth, driven to travel onwards even after reaching his home on Ithaca and his long-suffering wife Penelope.
       
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00lxs1q
    • By woofwoof
      To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Arthur Hallam, the BBC put on a reading of In Memoriam as the afternoon play today on Radio 4. Only listened to a short part of it so far but already heard my favourite
      bits, "Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all" and "Be near me when my faith is dry..." David Bamber (Mr Collins from BBC Pride & Prejudice?) reads it superbly. If you missed it it'll be on the BBC Iplayer for a week:
       
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00y2d7z
       
      One or two other Tennyson things on TV/radio: Tuesday 8th Feb at 20:00 BBC4 TV. Clare Balding cycling around the Isle of Wight. Includes some stuff on Tennyson (probably a visit to Farringford or Tennyson Down)
       
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00t9r0n
       
       
      Also, http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00rh7xn/The_Power_of_Poetry/
      4AM Friday 4th February BBC2 looks to be worth recording
    • By woofwoof
      There's a 2 hour dramatised version of this epic work on BBC Radio 3 this Sunday 7th July at 20:30 starring Tim Piggott-Smith.
       
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00lk6vj
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