THE LADY OF SHALOTT 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-tower'd 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 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. 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 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. 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 for ever kneel'd To a lady in his shield, That sparkled on the yellow field, Beside remote Shalott. The gemmy bridle glitter'd 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 blazon'd baldric slung A mighty silver bugle hung, And as he rode his armour rung, Beside remote Shalott. All in the blue unclouded weather Thick-jewell'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 flash'd into the crystal mirror, "Tirra lirra," by the river Sang Sir Lancelot. 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. Part IV 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 tower'd 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— Thro' 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. Heard a carol, mournful, holy, Chanted loudly, chanted lowly, Till her blood was frozen slowly, And her eyes were darken'd wholly, Turn'd to tower'd Camelot. For ere she reach'd 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 cross'd 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."
LIGHTS OUT I have come to the borders of sleep, The unfathomable deep Forest where all must lose Their way, however straight, Or winding, soon or late; They cannot choose. Many a road and track That, since the dawn’s first crack, Up to the forest brink, Deceived the travellers, Suddenly now blurs, And in they sink. Here love ends, Despair, ambition ends; All pleasure and all trouble, Although most sweet or bitter, Here ends in sleep that is sweeter Than tasks most noble. There is not any book Or face of dearest look That I would not turn from now To go into the unknown I must enter, and leave, alone, I know not how. The tall forest towers; Its cloudy foliage lowers Ahead, shelf above shelf; Its silence I hear and obey That I may lose my way And myself.
THE SNOW MAN One must have a mind of winter To regard the frost and the boughs Of the pine-trees crusted with snow; And have been cold a long time To behold the junipers shagged with ice, The spruces rough in the distant glitter Of the January sun; and not to think Of any misery in the sound of the wind, In the sound of a few leaves, Which is the sound of the land Full of the same wind That is blowing in the same bare place For the listener, who listens in the snow, And, nothing himself, beholds Nothing that is not there and nothing that is. FROM: Selected Poems Wallace Stevens FABER paper covered EDITIONS
SONG Goe, and catche a falling starre, Get with child a mandrake roote, Tell me, where all past yeares are, Or who cleft the Divels foot, Teach me to heare Mermaides singing, Or to keep off envies stinging, And finde What winde Serves to advance an honest minde. If thou beest borne to strange sights, Things invisible to see, Ride ten thousand daies and nights, Till age snow white haires on thee, Thou, when thou retorn’st, wilt tell mee All strange wonders that befell thee, And sweare No where Lives a woman true, and faire. If thou findst one, let mee know, Such a Pilgrimage were sweet; Yet doe not, I would not goe, Though at next doore wee might meet, Though she were true, when you met her, And last, till you write your letter, Yet shee Will bee False, ere I come, to two, or three. FROM: John Donne COMPLETE POETRY & SELECTED PROSE Edited by John Hayward THE NONESUCH PRESS
Today there will be a total solar eclipse, visible in China, India and the Far East.
The annular phase of this rare solstice solar eclipse is visible from parts of Africa and Asia, including the Central African Republic, Congo, Ethiopia, southern Pakistan, northern India, and China. The characteristic “ring of fire” will be visible, weather permitting.
J came down from Froe and we had an impromptu Midsummer Dinner.
Chop an onion
Fry in olive oil
Add two tins of chopped tomatoes
Add kalamata olives
Teaspoon of turmeric
Add three cloves of garlic
Simmer for an hour on low heat.
Served with grated Pecorino.
I had bought a good bottle of St Emilion from Lidl.
Considering it was Midsummer’s Day the weather was not great but at least it was not raining, at least, not much.
Amongst other things, mainly about books, talked about a film we had both seen “Mia Madre” by Nanni Moretti and La Strada and La Dolce Vita.
Reading was in the news today. In the Forbury Gardens some people enjoying a picnic were set upon by a maniac with a knife. Three dead. One was a history teacher.
Texted G who still lives there, hoping they were all OK. The response:
“Bless you. We are. But one of the victims was a friend who was a gentle and gorgeous human who deserved so much more. Strange times. Increasingly feels like a dystopian world. Hope you are OK and managing the madness.”
There is nothing really to add.
THE MYSTERY OF PAIN Pain has an element of blank; It cannot recollect When it began, or if there were A day when it was not. It has not future but itself, Its infinite realms contain Its past, enlightened to perceive New periods of pain.
GHOSTS One need not be a chamber to be haunted, One need not be a house; The brain has corridors surpassing Material place. Far safer, of a midnight meeting External ghost, Than an interior confronting That whiter host. Far safer through an Abbey gallop, The stones achase, Than, moonless, one’s own self encounter In lonesome place. Ourself, behind ourself concealed, Should startle most; Assassin, hid in our apartment, Be horror’s least. The prudent carries a revolver, He bolts the door, O’erlooking a superior spectre More near. FROM: Emily Dickinson SELECTED POEMS Unabridged Dover Thrift Editions