The Lady of Shalott (Afred, Lord Tennyson)

The Lady of Shalott (1832)

by 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-tower’d Camelot;
The yellow-leaved waterlily
The green-sheathed daffodilly
Tremble in the water chilly
Round about Shalott.

Willows whiten, aspens shiver.
The sunbeam showers break and quiver
In the stream that runneth 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.

Underneath the bearded barley,
The reaper, reaping late and early,
Hears her ever chanting cheerly,
Like an angel, singing clearly,
O’er the stream of Camelot.
Piling the sheaves in furrows airy,
Beneath the moon, the reaper weary
Listening whispers, ‘ ‘Tis the fairy,
Lady of Shalott.’

The little isle is all inrail’d
With a rose-fence, and overtrail’d
With roses: by the marge unhail’d
The shallop flitteth silken sail’d,
Skimming down to Camelot.
A pearl garland winds her head:
She leaneth on a velvet bed,
Full royally apparelled,
The Lady of Shalott.

Part II
No time hath she to sport and play:
A charmed web she weaves alway.
A curse is on her, if she stay
Her weaving, either night or day,
To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be;
Therefore she weaveth steadily,
Therefore no other care hath she,
The Lady of Shalott.

She lives with little joy or fear.
Over the water, running near,
The sheepbell tinkles in her ear.
Before her hangs a mirror clear,
Reflecting tower’d Camelot.
And as the mazy web she whirls,
She sees 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, came from 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 flam’d 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 from 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 from Camelot.
As often thro’ the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, trailing light,
Moves over green 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 from Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flash’d into the crystal mirror,
‘Tirra lirra, tirra lirra:’
Sang Sir Lancelot.

She left the web, she left the loom
She made three paces thro’ the room
She saw the water-flower 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;
Outside the isle a shallow boat
Beneath a willow lay afloat,
Below the carven stern she wrote,
The Lady of Shalott.

A cloudwhite crown of pearl she dight,
All raimented in snowy white
That loosely flew (her zone in sight
Clasp’d with one blinding diamond bright)
Her wide eyes fix’d on Camelot,
Though the squally east-wind keenly
Blew, with folded arms serenely
By the water stood the queenly
Lady of Shalott.

With a steady stony glance—
Like some bold seer in a trance,
Beholding all his own mischance,
Mute, with a glassy countenance—
She look’d down to Camelot.
It was the closing of the day:
She loos’d the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott.

As when to sailors while they roam,
By creeks and outfalls far from home,
Rising and dropping with the foam,
From dying swans wild warblings come,
Blown shoreward; so to Camelot
Still as the boathead wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her chanting her deathsong,
The Lady of Shalott.

A longdrawn carol, mournful, holy,
She chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her eyes were darken’d wholly,
And her smooth face sharpen’d slowly,
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 pale, pale corpse she floated by,
Deadcold, between the houses high,
Dead into tower’d Camelot.
Knight and burgher, lord and dame,
To the planked wharfage came:
Below the stern they read her name,
The Lady of Shalott.

They cross’d themselves, their stars they blest,
Knight, minstrel, abbot, squire, and guest.
There lay a parchment on her breast,
That puzzled more than all the rest,
The wellfed wits at Camelot.
‘The web was woven curiously,
The charm is broken utterly,
Draw near and fear not,—this is I,
The Lady of Shalott.’
_____________________________________________________

The four grey walls.

These four grey walls, they might be the only thing I’ve seen for as long as I can remember. It’s a dull sight really, compared to what is out there, what I know is out there. The marvelous island of Shalott,, stepped on by lovely people, covered by what I assume to be beautiful flowers, and surrounded next to a flowing river. These things, are however merely shadows to me, seen through a simple mirror. I feel it in me that the mirror does not do this landscape any justice, but sadly is the only way I can lay my eyes on this world out there, as I’ve been cursed. I wouldn’t know why, and I wouldn’t know by whom, and I don’t think I’ll ever find out. All I know is that if I do, there will be great consequences.  It took me a while, but I think I’ve made peace with my fate. When I look at the mirror, I see young men and women passing. As I hear them marching and cheerily talking on the highway nearby the river, I am reminded of how much I envy them. They are surrounded by lovely daisies and blue waters, while I’m surrounded by grey concrete and fear. Do they know I’m out here, could anyone know? During the daytime, I rarely show myself. No, I couldn’t have been seen, however I could have been heard. Early in the mornings, I tend to sing a song, I wouldn’t know I’ve anyone has ever heard it, but I will never hesitate to chant them.

During the day I don’t do much, I don’t have the time nor the patience to play games whatsoever. The only thing that keeps me sane and alive is weaving, on and on, and on and on. I have a magical web, weaved with beautiful colors.

Before, I hadn’t seen much that could’ve distracted me from my weaving, it should be the only thing I care about. On an afternoon, the same as any other one, something I saw in the mirror caught my eye. I saw something I’ve never seen before, what looked like a funeral, a real one. I decided to ignore it, as I could almost hear the mysterious whisper warning me about the curse. However, not even an hour later, something different caught my eye. It was a young couple, about to marry each other. The feeling I had before was back. And when i looked into the mirror, I stopped focusing on the cheerful colors of my weave, and on the grey walls behind it, but I looked at myself. And I decided that these shadows were what they were; merely shadows. I was half-sick of these shadows and of this life!

Despite this incident, I continued to weave and to weave. The shadows still to be seen in my mirror. Until that day arrived,  that marked the beginning of my life, and with that the end.

I was busy with my weaving, until I looked in my mirror and saw a shadow in no way like all the others I’ve seen. A man, surely a knight, riding a horse. The brass armor worn by the knight, was struck by the rays of sunlight, causing it to sparkle. The bells on the bridle of his horse rang cheerfully, sounds that I could never forget. The gems on the bridle sparkled as well, they reminded me of a thousand stars in the galaxy, all together. I thought I had seen everything; men, women, crimsons. Beautiful and hideous. But none as god-like as this man.

I dropped my web, and I paced around three times before I decided I couldn’t hold myself in anymore, and I looked down on Camelot. I saw his Helmet and his plume, and after a huge wave of joy came over me, a bigger wave of fear came crashing into me. The mirror broke into a thousand pieces and the colorful web flew away. ‘The curse is upon me now’ I cried!

The previously clear clouds, had started to rumble. A storm was on its way. As I ran outside, the very first thing I saw was a boat, this was my only way to be free. On the prow of the boat, i carved my name: The lady of Shalott. I laid down and let the stream take me wherever it would go. I started singing my last song..

by Anonymous

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Ozymandias (Percy Bysshe Shelley)

Ozymandias

by Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: `Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear —
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.’

_____________________________________________________

Once upon a time in the West there was a little town. It was a very peaceful town with about fifty citizens. They were the only people there in a large desert. No one else would be so crazy to go to that place. It was rather boring. Each day was just like the previous day. Till an certain day, because this day would totally change someone´s live.

It was Sunday in the afternoon. On Sunday everyone is free, just as God had taken his free day. It was very peaceful like always, also in the desert around the village. Suddenly there was a dust-cloud, which became continually bigger and bigger and it came closer and closer. You could see a silhouette from a man on a horse. It was Lucky Luke. No, I am joking I don’t know who he was, actually nobody knows, and no one will ever know. Then he entered the village and after he had nearly rode old lady Johnson down, who unsuspectingly crossed the street, he stopped in front of the Saloon. He fastened his horse and he entered the Saloon. Everyone was actively talking with each other, but everyone stopped, when they saw him. They all looked at him, but he did not mind them and he set himself down by the bar. He ordered a whole lunch, because he was hungry. When he was finished, he called the barkeeper and he asked him the following: “I am looking for someone, who comes sometimes in this area here. Do you know someone?” He pointed out the area he meant on his map. The barkeeper looked momentarily weird at him and asked then: “Who are you? And why did you ask this to me?” He answered: “It doesn’t matter who I am and I ask this to you, because you are the barkeeper. You know everyone in this village, except for me.” “Yes, that is true, but who would say that we can trust. Maybe you are a dangerous psychopath”, said the barkeeper. “I don’t have time for this nonsense. You must help me”, said he and he looked at him deep in his eyes.

“Okay fine”, said the barkeeper, “do you see that man there? That is Jack. He has a farm and he is sometimes in that area with his cows.” “Thanks”, he stood up and he would go, but then the barkeeper said: “Wait, you haven’t paid for this lunch yet.” After he paid his lunch, he went to Jack and he asked Jack to come with him outwards. A few minutes later went Jack back in the Saloon. His friends asked him: “Who is that man? What does he want from you?” Jack had no idea, the only thing he knew, was that the stranger would visit him this evening.

That evening rang the bell by the Family Waes. Mrs. Mary Waes opened the door and there right before her eyes stood he. She was frightened to death. Who was he? What was this total stranger intending? He asked: “Where is your man, Jack?”

“Uh… who are you?”, stuttered Mary. “That doesn’t matter. Your man knows that I would come, so where is he?”, said he. His piercing eyes did the work for him and she pointed him to cowshed. “There is Jack”. He walked straight on to the cowshed. Jack was surprised. Jack had not thought that the stranger would know where he lives, but there stood. He asked: “I must talk to you, Jack.” “Who is there?”, said an unknown voice. “Who is that”,asked he. “Oh, that is our son, Michael”, said Jack, “It is nobody, Michael” Michael appeared and said: “He looked to me as somebody. Who are you.” “Not now, Michael, he has to talk with me”, said Jack.

“No, I will tell who I am”, said he, “I am a man on a mission.” He grabbed his map. “And to succeed, I need someone, who can help me to find the way in this area.

I know that you sometimes come there, Jack”. “Yes dad, we came there formerly with the cows”, said Michael. “Yeah, but we don’t come there any more. It is to dangerous now. For some reason has there arisen a lot of shrubbery”, said Jack.

“So you know that area very well”, said he. “Yes, but we won’t go there”, said Jack.

“I would like to go”, said Michael. “No, you don’t go there. Are you forgotten what happened there?”, said Jack. “No, of course no.” “So, don’t be so stupid”, said Jack.

“I am now eighteen and I decide by myself, what I do and don’t do. This is the perfectly select chance to be a few days away from the farm,” said Michael. “You are right. You have the right to choose by yourself, but your Mother and I find this not a good plan”. “Dad, you don’t have to worry”, said Michael, “In a few days I would safely back at home”. “Yes we will be a few days away”, said he, “we would be back before you can say the word: Waterpolo”. “Nothing to worry about, dad.” After that he and Michael arranged what the plan was. They agreed that he tomorrow in the morning would come to pick up Michael. Then would the Journey start.

The next morning they went on their journey to…., Uh…, we actually do not know were they are going to, but they went to something. The first part was very easy. Close by the village, where other people often walk, but the further they go the more difficult it was. Michael knows the road and they were already at twelve o’clock by the border of the concerned area. By the border was a sign: ‘Stop, go back, extremely dangerous’. “My father has placed this sigh here”, said Michael. “Why?”, asked he. “I won’t preferably tell you why”, said Michael. “In that case I don’t have to know”. They went on, but It was rather difficult to went through the shrubbery. The nature was free here and that was noticeable. They went further till the point Michael said: “This is the furthest I have ever been in this area, after this I don’t recognize it any more”. “Okay than, we are going to spend the night here”, said he, “Tomorrow we must do it with only the map and our well thinking mind”. They sat around a self-made camp-fire, when Michael asked: “What are you looking for here in this area?” “I would explain it”, said he, “Centuries ago was here a great empire, named Ozym, and his king was Ozymandias. Ozymandias found himself the greatest king ever. For his greatness, he let build a statue of himself. There is being said that this statue is the biggest statue ever made.” “So you are looking for that statue”, interrupted Michael. “Yes, and according to some old scriptures is this statue the only thing left from Ozym and in the same scriptures stand that the statue is located somewhere in this area.” “Wow, it would be awesome if we find that ancient statue”, said Michael, “But how precisely do you know the place of it?” “Enough to know which way we must go”, said he, “Don’t worry, all will be fine at the end.”

The next day they went on with a good feeling. They looked good on the map to indicate their way. Suddenly there was an open place with only sand and no shrubbery. “Are we still on the good way”, asked Michael. “Yes, this place stands also on the map and we are indeed still on the good way”. “Great”, said Michael and Michael walked on, but after a few steps he felt over a stone. “Wow, that is weird there is no other stone in this whole area”, said Michael after he stood up. “Wait, maybe is this a stone of the statue”, said he, “Come, we are going to dig this stone up”. They grabbed their shovel and they dug the stone up. “Look, there is a text

on it”, said Michael, “What does it mean?” “Let me see”, said he, “It’s an ancient language. They spoke this language in Ozym. It’s called Urath and luckily I can read it a little bit. There stands: ‘My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings, Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!’ “Haha, he found himself really great, didn’t he”, said Michael. “With emphasis on the word ‘found’, said he cynical, “he died a long time…

He was being interrupted by the sand, what slowly slid away. “Wow, what is happening!”, shouted Michael. “Go back, Go back”, said he, “we must go back to a secure place”. “Where is that secure place”, shouted Michael. “There by the shrubs, there is a secure place”, said he. They both managed them self safely to that place. They looked around and they saw the all the sand disappearing. When the most of  the sand was disappeared, there lays the big statue of Ozymandias. “Wow, the text on that stone looks to be a aphorism”, said Michael. “Yes, you’re right”, said he,“And  there is Ozymandias. We stood already above him.” “You didn’t lie, it is really big”, said Michael, “And surprisingly it is in such a good condition.” He looked to the statue and he gets twinkling eyes. “It lays here under the sand for centuries”, said he, “Now we have found it, it is unbelievable. I’ve worked so hard to find Ozymandias and now finally the work is done.” “What are your plans now with it?”, asked Michael. “Hmm, It’s to big to transport and to set this in a museum”, said he, “So it will stay here and I think that there are more people, who want to see Ozymandias.”

“And we will be known as the finders of Ozymandias”, said Michael, “That should be great”. They were looking to each other and they both felt very satisfied. The next five minutes they just were staring to the statue. “Soon there will go millions of people to this place to see Ozymandias”, said he, “Ozym may be gone, but the remembrance of it always existed and still exist and that is what we will show the world: a remembrance of Ozym and Ozymandias. Material things will disappear first, but the thoughts, which belongs to those things will be remembered. But there comes a day that even those thoughts will disappear and then it is all gone, for ever.”

“Now we have found Ozymandias, would become the remembrance of Ozym much bigger”, said Michael. “Yes, you are right, but that is momentarily as well. Time absorbs everything.” After he had said this, they went back to home. And when they have told the world about Ozymandias, they will be known as the finders of the statue of Ozymandias. “Yes we will be famous, but also we will be forgotten at some time”, said the man, whose name we still do not know.

by Wouter Kroon