Alfred Lord Tennyson

Here you will find the Long Poem Geraint And Enid of poet Alfred Lord Tennyson

Geraint And Enid

O purblind race of miserable men, 
How many among us at this very hour 
Do forge a life-long trouble for ourselves, 
By taking true for false, or false for true; 
Here, through the feeble twilight of this world 
Groping, how many, until we pass and reach 
That other, where we see as we are seen! 

So fared it with Geraint, who issuing forth 
That morning, when they both had got to horse, 
Perhaps because he loved her passionately, 
And felt that tempest brooding round his heart, 
Which, if he spoke at all, would break perforce 
Upon a head so dear in thunder, said: 
'Not at my side. I charge thee ride before, 
Ever a good way on before; and this 
I charge thee, on thy duty as a wife, 
Whatever happens, not to speak to me, 
No, not a word!' and Enid was aghast; 
And forth they rode, but scarce three paces on, 
When crying out, 'Effeminate as I am, 
I will not fight my way with gilded arms, 
All shall be iron;' he loosed a mighty purse, 
Hung at his belt, and hurled it toward the squire. 
So the last sight that Enid had of home 
Was all the marble threshold flashing, strown 
With gold and scattered coinage, and the squire 
Chafing his shoulder: then he cried again, 
'To the wilds!' and Enid leading down the tracks 
Through which he bad her lead him on, they past 
The marches, and by bandit-haunted holds, 
Gray swamps and pools, waste places of the hern, 
And wildernesses, perilous paths, they rode: 
Round was their pace at first, but slackened soon: 
A stranger meeting them had surely thought 
They rode so slowly and they looked so pale, 
That each had suffered some exceeding wrong. 
For he was ever saying to himself, 
'O I that wasted time to tend upon her, 
To compass her with sweet observances, 
To dress her beautifully and keep her true'-- 
And there he broke the sentence in his heart 
Abruptly, as a man upon his tongue 
May break it, when his passion masters him. 
And she was ever praying the sweet heavens 
To save her dear lord whole from any wound. 
And ever in her mind she cast about 
For that unnoticed failing in herself, 
Which made him look so cloudy and so cold; 
Till the great plover's human whistle amazed 
Her heart, and glancing round the waste she feared 
In ever wavering brake an ambuscade. 
Then thought again, 'If there be such in me, 
I might amend it by the grace of Heaven, 
If he would only speak and tell me of it.' 

But when the fourth part of the day was gone, 
Then Enid was aware of three tall knights 
On horseback, wholly armed, behind a rock 
In shadow, waiting for them, caitiffs all; 
And heard one crying to his fellow, 'Look, 
Here comes a laggard hanging down his head, 
Who seems no bolder than a beaten hound; 
Come, we will slay him and will have his horse 
And armour, and his damsel shall be ours.' 

Then Enid pondered in her heart, and said: 
'I will go back a little to my lord, 
And I will tell him all their caitiff talk; 
For, be he wroth even to slaying me, 
Far liefer by his dear hand had I die, 
Than that my lord should suffer loss or shame.' 

Then she went back some paces of return, 
Met his full frown timidly firm, and said; 
'My lord, I saw three bandits by the rock 
Waiting to fall on you, and heard them boast 
That they would slay you, and possess your horse 
And armour, and your damsel should be theirs.' 

He made a wrathful answer: 'Did I wish 
Your warning or your silence? one command 
I laid upon you, not to speak to me, 
And thus ye keep it! Well then, look--for now, 
Whether ye wish me victory or defeat, 
Long for my life, or hunger for my death, 
Yourself shall see my vigour is not lost.' 

Then Enid waited pale and sorrowful, 
And down upon him bare the bandit three. 
And at the midmost charging, Prince Geraint 
Drave the long spear a cubit through his breast 
And out beyond; and then against his brace 
Of comrades, each of whom had broken on him 
A lance that splintered like an icicle, 
Swung from his brand a windy buffet out 
Once, twice, to right, to left, and stunned the twain 
Or slew them, and dismounting like a man 
That skins the wild beast after slaying him, 
Stript from the three dead wolves of woman born 
The three gay suits of armour which they wore, 
And let the bodies lie, but bound the suits 
Of armour on their horses, each on each, 
And tied the bridle-reins of all the three 
Together, and said to her, 'Drive them on 
Before you;' and she drove them through the waste. 

He followed nearer; ruth began to work 
Against his anger in him, while he watched 
The being he loved best in all the world, 
With difficulty in mild obedience 
Driving them on: he fain had spoken to her, 
And loosed in words of sudden fire the