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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 or 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 crossed the bar.

    Alfred, Lord Tennyson


    IT LITTLE profits that an idle king,
    By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
    Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole
    Unequal laws unto a savage race,
    That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
    I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
    Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy'd
    Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those
    That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when
    Thro' scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
    Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;
    For always roaming with a hungry heart
    Much have I seen and known; cities of men
    And manners, climates, councils, governments,
    Myself not least, but honour'd of them all;
    And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
    Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
    I am a part of all that I have met;
    Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
    Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades
    For ever and forever when I move.
    How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
    To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use!
    As tho' to breathe were life! Life piled on life
    Were all too little, and of one to me
    Little remains: but every hour is saved
    From that eternal silence, something more,
    A bringer of new things; and vile it were
    For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
    And this gray spirit yearning in desire
    To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
    Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

    This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
    To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,--
    Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
    This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
    A rugged people, and thro' soft degrees
    Subdue them to the useful and the good.
    Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
    Of common duties, decent not to fail
    In offices of tenderness, and pay
    Meet adoration to my household gods,
    When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

    There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
    There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
    Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought with me--
    That ever with a frolic welcome took
    The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
    Free hearts, free foreheads--you and I are old;
    Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
    Death closes all: but something ere the end,
    Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
    Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
    The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
    The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
    Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
    '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.

    Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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.

    Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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 vanish'd 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.

    Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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 and secret cell
    Unnumber'd and enormous polypi
    Winnow with giant arms the lumbering green.
    There hath he lain for ages, and will lie
    Battening upon huge sea-worms in his sleep,
    Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
    Then once by man and angels to be seen,
    In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.

    Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Charge of the Light Brigade

    HALF a league, half a league,
    Half a league onward,
    All in the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.
    "Forward, the Light Brigade!
    Charge for the guns!" he said:
    Into the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.

    "Forward, the Light Brigade!"
    Was there a man dismayed?
    Not tho' the soldiers knew
    Someone had blundered:
    Theirs was not to make reply,
    Theirs was not to reason why,
    Theirs was but to do and die:
    Into the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.

    Cannon to the right of them,
    Cannon to the left of them,
    Cannon in front of them
    Volleyed and thunder'd;
    Storm'd at with shot and shell,
    Boldly they rode and well,
    Into the jaws of Death,
    Into the mouth of Hell,
    Rode the six hundred.

    Flashed all their sabres bare,
    Flashed as they turned in air,
    Sab'ring the gunners there,
    Charging an army, while
    All the world wondered:
    Plunging in the battery smoke,
    Right through the line they broke;
    Cossack and Russian
    Reeled from the sabre-stroke
    Shattered and sundered.
    Then they rode back, but not--
    Not the six hundred.

    Cannon to the right of them,
    Cannon to the left of them,
    Cannon in front of them
    Volleyed and thundered;
    Stormed at with shot and shell,
    While horse and hero fell,
    They that fought so well,
    Came thro' the jaws of Death,
    Back from the mouth of Hell,
    All that was left of them,
    Left of the six hundred.

    When can their glory fade?
    Oh, the wild charge they made!
    All the world wondered.
    Honor the charge they made!
    Honor the Light Brigade,
    Noble Six Hundred!

    Alfred, Lord Tennyson

The Oak

    YOUNG and old,
    Like yon oak,
    Bright in spring,
    Living gold;

    Then; and then
    Soberer hued
    Gold again.

    All his leaves
    Fall'n at length,
    Look, he stands,
    Trunk and bough,
    Naked strength.

    Alfred, Lord Tennyson

In Memoriam: VII

    DARK house, by which once more I stand
    Here in the long unlovely street,
    Doors, where my heart was used to beat
    So quickly, waiting for a hand,

    A hand that can be clasped no more--
    Behold me, for I cannot sleep,
    And like a guilty thing I creep
    At earliest morning to the door.

    He is not here; but far away
    The noise of life begins again
    And ghastly through the drizzling rain
    On the bald street breaks the blank day.

    Alfred, Lord Tennyson

The Splendor Falls

    from The Princess

      THE splendor 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 forever and forever.
    Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
    And answer, echoes, answer, dying, dying, dying.

    Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Tears, Idle Tears

    from The Princess

      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.

      Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns
    The earliest pipe of half-awakened birds
    To dying ears, when unto dying eyes
    The casement slowly grows a glimmering square;
    So sad, so strange, the days that are no more.

      Dear as remembered kisses after death,
    And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feigned
    On lips that are for others; deep as love,
    Deep as first love, and wild with all regret;
    O Death in Life, the days that are no more!

    Alfred, Lord Tennyson

The Palace of Art

    ONE seemed all dark and red--a tract of sand,
    And some one pacing there alone,
    Who paced for ever in a glimmering land,
    Lit with a low large moon.

    One showed an iron coast and angry waves.
    You seemed to hear them climb and fall
    And roar rock-thwarted under bellowing caves,
    Beneath the windy wall.

    And one, a full-fed river winding slow
    By herds upon an endless plain,
    The ragged rims of thunder brooding low,
    With shadow-streaks of rain.

    And one, the reapers at their sultry toil.
    In front they bound the sheaves. Behind
    Were realms of upland, prodigal in oil,
    And hoary to the wind.

    And one a foreground black with stones and slags,
    Beyond, a line of heights, and higher
    All barr'd with long white cloud the scornful crags,
    And highest, snow and fire.

    And one, an English home-gray twilight pour'd
    On dewey pastures, dewey trees,
    Softer than sleep-all things in order stored,
    A haunt of ancient Peace.

    Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Sweet and Low

    from The Princess

    SWEET and low, sweet and low,
    Wind of the western sea,
    Low, low, breathe and blow,
    Wind of the western sea!
    Over the rolling waters go,
    Come from the dying moon, and blow,
    Blow him again to me;
    While my little one, while my pretty one, sleeps.

    Sleep and rest, sleep and rest,
    Father will come to thee soon;
    Rest, rest, on mother's breast,
    Father will come to thee soon;
    Father will come to his babe in the nest,
    Silver sails all out of the west
    Under the silver moon:
    Sleep, my little one, sleep, my pretty one, sleep.

    Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Ask No More

    from The Princess

    ASK me no more: the moon may draw the sea;
    The cloud may stoop from heaven and take the shape,
    With fold to fold, of mountain or of cape;
    But O too fond, when have I answer'd thee?
    Ask me no more.

    Ask me no more: what answer should I give?
    I love not hollow cheek or faded eye:
    Yet, O my friend, I will not have thee die!
    Ask me no more, lest I should bid thee live;
    Ask me no more.

    Ask me no more: thy fate and mine are seal'd:
    I strove against the stream and all in vain:
    Let the great river take me to the main:
    No more, dear love, for at a touch I yield;
    Ask me no more.

    Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Mariana in the South

    WITH one black shadow at its feet,
    The house thro' all the level shines,
    Close-latticed to the brooding heat,
    And silent in its dusty vines:
    A faint-blue ridge upon the right,
    An empty river-bed before,
    And shallows on a distant shore,
    In glaring sand and inlets bright.
    But "Aye Mary," made she moan,
    And "Aye Mary," night and morn,
    And "Ah," she sang, "to be all alone,
    To live forgotten, and love forlorn."

    She, as her carol sadder grew,
    From brow and bosom slowly down
    Thro' rosy taper fingers drew
    Her streaming curls of deepest brown
    To left and right, and made appear,
    Still-lighted in a secret shrine,
    Her melancholy eyes divine,
    The home of woe without a tear.
    And "Aye Mary," was her moan,
    "Madonna, sad is night and morn;"
    And "Ah," she sang, "to be all alone,
    To live forgotten, and love forlorn."

    Till all the crimson changed, and past
    Into deep orange o'er the sea,
    Low on her knees herself she cast,
    Before Our Lady murmur'd she:
    Complaining, "Mother, give me grace
    To help me of my weary load."
    And on the liquid mirror glow'd
    The clear perfection of her face.
    "Is this the form," she made her moan,
    "That won his praises night and morn?"
    And "Ah," she said, "but I wake alone,
    I sleep forgotten, I wake forlorn."

    Nor bird would sing, nor lamb would bleat,
    Nor any cloud would cross the vault,
    But day increased from heat to heat,
    On stony drought and steaming salt;
    Till now at noon she slept again,
    And seem'd knee-deep in mountain grass,
    And heard her native breezes pass,
    And runlets babbling down the glen.
    She breathed in sleep a lower moan,
    And murmuring, as at night and morn
    She thought, "My spirit is here alone,
    Walks forgotten, and is forlorn."

    Dreaming, she knew it was a dream:
    She felt he was and was not there.
    She woke: the babble of the stream
    Fell, and, without, the steady glare
    Shrank one sick willow sere and small.
    The river-bed was dusty-white;
    And all the furnace of the light
    Struck up against the blinding wall.
    She whisper'd, with a stifled moan
    More inward than at night or morn,
    "Sweet Mother, let me not here alone
    Live forgotten and die forlorn."

    And, rising, from her bosom drew
    Old letters, breathing of her worth,
    For "Love", they said, "must needs be true,
    To what is loveliest upon earth."
    An image seem'd to pass the door,
    To look at her with slight, and say,
    "But now thy beauty flows away,
    So be alone for evermore."
    "O cruel heart," she changed her tone,
    "And cruel love, whose end is scorn,
    Is this the end to be left alone,
    To live forgotten, and die forlorn?"

    But sometimes in the falling day
    An image seem'd to pass the door,
    To look into her eyes and say,
    "But thou shalt be alone no more."
    And flaming downward over all
    From heat to heat the day decreased,
    And slowly rounded to the east
    The one black shadow from the wall.
    "The day to night," she made her moan,
    "The day to night, the night to morn,
    And day and night I am left alone
    To live forgotten, and love forlorn."

    At eve a dry cicada 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."

    Alfred, Lord Tennyson

The Flower

    ONCE in a golden hour
    I cast to earth a seed.
    Up there came a flower,
    The people said, a weed.

    To and fro they went
    Thro' my garden bower,
    And muttering discontent
    Cursed me and my flower.

    Then it grew so tall
    It wore a crown of light,
    But thieves from o'er the wall
    Stole the seed by night.

    Sow'd it far and wide
    By every town and tower,
    Till all the people cried,
    "Splendid is the flower!"

    Read my little fable:
    He that runs may read.
    Most can raise the flowers now,
    For all have got the seed.

    And some are pretty enough,
    And some are poor indeed;
    And now again the people
    Call it but a weed.

    Alfred, Lord Tennyson

A Farewell

    FLOW down, cold rivulet, to the sea,
    Thy tribute wave deliver:
    No more by thee my steps shall be,
    For ever and for ever.

    Flow, softly flow, by lawn and lea,
    A rivulet then a river:
    Nowhere by thee my steps shall be
    For ever and for ever.

    But here will sigh thine alder tree
    And here thine aspen shiver;
    And here by thee will hum the bee,
    For ever and for ever.

    A thousand suns will stream on thee,
    A thousand moons will quiver;
    But not by thee my steps shall be,
    For ever and for ever.

    Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Of Old Sat Freedom

    OF OLD sat Freedom on the heights,
    The thunders breaking at her feet:
    Above her shook the starry lights:
    She heard the torrents meet.

    There in her place she did rejoice,
    Self-gather'd in her prophet-mind,
    But fragments of her mighty voice
    Came rolling on the wind.

    Then stept she down thro' town and field
    To mingle with the human race,
    And part by part to men reveal'd
    The fullness of her face --

    Grave mother of majestic works,
    From her isle-alter gazing down,
    Who, God-like, grasps the triple forks,
    And, King-like, wears the crown:

    Her open eyes desire the truth.
    The wisdom of a thousand years
    Is in them. May perpetual youth
    Keep dry their light from tears;

    That her fair form may stand and shine
    Make bright our days and light our dreams,
    Turning to scorn with lips divine
    The falsehood of extremes!

    Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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