The Lady of Shalott Poem

The Lady of Shalott, William Holman Hunt
The Lady of Shalott, William Holman Hunt

The Lady of Shalott

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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 grey walls, and four grey towers, 
Overlook a space of flowers, 
And the silent isle imbowers 
     The Lady of Shalott. 

The Lady of Shalott, Elizabeth Siddal
The Lady of Shalott, Elizabeth Siddal (1854)

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?

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 “‘Tis the fairy
     Lady of Shalott.”

There she weaves by night and day 
A magic web with colours 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.

Meteyard, Lady of Shalott
I am Half-Sick of Shadows, Sidney Harold Meteyard

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. 

Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
An abbot on an ambling pad, 
Sometimes a curly shepherd-lad,
Or long-haired page in crimson clad,
     Goes by to towered Camelot;
And sometimes through 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 through 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.

The Lady of Shalott, John William Waterhouse
The Lady of Shalott, John William Waterhouse

A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rode between the barley-sheaves,
The sun came dazzling through the leaves,
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
     Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A red-cross knight for ever kneeled 
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
     Beside remote Shalott.

The gemmy bridle glittered 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 blazoned baldric slung
A mighty silver bugle hung,
And as he rode his armour rung,
     Beside remote Shalott. 

The Lady of Shalott, John William Waterhouse
The Lady of Shalott, John William Waterhouse

All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewelled shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather 
Burned like one burning flame together,
     As he rode down to Camelot. 
As often through the purple night, 
Below the starry clusters bright, 
Some bearded meteor, trailing light,
     Moves over still Shalott. 

His broad clear brow in sunlight glowed;
On burnished hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flowed 
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
     As he rode down to Camelot. 
From the bank and from the river 
He flashed into the crystal mirror,
“Tirra lirra,” by the river 
     Sang Sir Lancelot. 

The Lady of Shalott, William Maw Egley

She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces through the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
     She looked down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror cracked from side to side; 
“The curse is come upon me,” cried 
     The Lady of Shalott.

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 towered 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 seër 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.

Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to left and right–
The leaves upon her falling light–
Through 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.

The Lady of Shalott, John William Waterhouse
The Lady of Shalott, John William Waterhouse

Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly, 
Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darkened wholly,
     Turned to towered Camelot. 
For ere she reached upon the tide
The first house by the water-side,
Singing in her 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 wharfs they came,
Knight 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 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.”

The Lady of Shalott, Arthur Hughes
The Lady of Shalott, Arthur Hughes


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