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Even the Jester, on his bed of straw,
With haggard eyes the unwonted splendor saw, .
He felt within a power unfelt before,
And, kneeling humbly on the chamber floor,
He heard the rushing garments of the Lord
Sweep through the silent air, ascending heavenward.

And now the visit ending, and once more
Valmond returning to the Danube's shore,
Homeward the Angel journeyed, and again
The land was made resplendent with his train,
Flashing along the towns of Italy
Unto Salerno, and from thence by sea.
And when once more within Palermo's wall,
And, seated on the throne in his great hall,
He heard the Angelus from convent towers,
As if a better world conversed with ours,
He beckoned to King Robert to draw higher,
And with a gesture bade the rest retire;
And when they were alone, the Angel said,
"Art thou the King ?” Then, bowing down his head,
King Robert crossed both hands upon his breast,
And meekly answered him: “Thou knowest best !
My sins as scarlet are; let me go hence,
And in some cloister's school of penitence,
Across those stones that pave the way to heaven,
Walk barefoot, till my guilty soul be shriven!”

The Angel smiled, and from his radiant face
A holy light illumined all the place,
And through the open window, loud and clear,
They heard the monks chant in the chapel near,
Above the noise and tumult of the street:
“He has put down the mighty from their seat,

And has exalted them of low degree !"
And through the chant a second melody
Rose like the throbbing of a single string:
“I am an Angel, and thou art the King !”
King Robert, who was standing near the throne,
Lifted his eyes, and lo! he was alone!
But all appareled as in days of old,
With ermined mantle and with cloth of gold,
And when his couriers came, they found him there
Kneeling upon the floor, absorbed in silent prayer.

THE LADY OF SHALOTT

ALFRED LORD TENNYSON

PART I

On either side 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-towerd 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
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 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 tower'd Camelot:
And by the moon the reaper weary
Piling sheaves in uplands 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 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.

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 shepherd 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 rode 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 kneelid
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,

Beside remote Shalott.

All in the blue unclouded weather Thick jewel'd shone the saddle-leather, The helmet 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 hooves 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 flashed into the crystal mirror,
“Tirra lirra,” by the river

Sang Sir Lancelot.

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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.

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