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JONES READERS BY GRADES

Book EIGHT

THE LADY OF SHALOTT

ALFRED TENNYSON

ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON was one of the great poets of the nineteenth century. He was born in 1809 and died in 1892. Tennyson's poetry is noted for its perfect form and for its melody and sweetness. Among the best known of his longer poems are “ The Idylls of the King,” in which he tells the old legends that cluster about King Arthur and his knights. 5 When Tennyson was forty years old he was made poet laureate, and in 1884 he was given a seat in the House of Lords.

PART I

10

On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And through the field the road runs by

To many-towered Camelot ;
And up and down the people go,

Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,

The island of Shalott.

Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Through the wave that runs for ever
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 imbowers

The Lady of Shalott.

10

15

By the margin, willow-veiled,
Slide the heavy barges trailed
By slow horses; and unhailed
The shallop flitteth silken-sailed

Skimming down to Camelot :
But who hath seen her wave her hand ?
Or at the casement seen her stand ?
Or is she known in all the land,

The Lady of Shalott?

20

Only reapers, reaping early
In among the bearded barley,
Hear a song that echoes cheerly

From the river winding clearly,

Down to towered Camelot: And by the moon the reaper weary, Piling sheaves in uplands airy, Listening, whispers “ 'T is the fairy

Lady of Shalott.”

PART II

10

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 to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,

The Lady of Shalott.

15

And moving through 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.

20

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