Saturday, August 6th marks 202 years since the birth of Alfred, Lord Tennyson. So many treasures in his writings. The Lady of Shalott? Bliss. Becket? Brilliance. His Morte d’Arthur’? Divine. Ulysses? A composition that transcends time and space, a leader’s cautionary tale, a warrior’s conscience, a man’s thoughts known only to self.
Among his writings, there is a balance between delicacy and fire. To honor his birthday tomorrow, I offer excerpts of my two most beloved writings he crafted.
From Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere:
As she fled fast thro’ sun and shade,
The happy winds upon her play’d,
Blowing the ringlet from the braid:
She look’d so lovely, as she sway’d
The rein with dainty finger-tips,
A man had given all other bliss,
And all his worldly worth for this,
To waste his whole heart in one kiss
Upon her perfect lips.
And Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal:
Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white;
Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk;
Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font:
The fire-fly wakens: waken thou with me.
Now droops the milkwhite peacock like a ghost,
And like a ghost she glimmers on to me.
Now lies the Earth all Danaë to the stars,
And all thy heart lies open unto me.
Now slides the silent meteor on, and leaves
A shining furrow, as thy thoughts in me.
Now folds the lily all her sweetness up,
And slips into the bosom of the lake:
So fold thyself, my dearest, thou, and slip
Into my bosom and be lost in me.
As communication develops and we embrace the simplicity and convenience of 140 character limits, our relationship with our history becomes ever more important. From Archaic literature where the prose of Herodotus or Ovid, to the beauty of Tennyson and the wantonness in D. H. Lawrence, there is a chance to marvel at humanity.