Alfred Lord Tennyson

Here you will find the Long Poem ? of poet Alfred Lord Tennyson


There lies a vale in Ida, lovelier
 Than all the valleys of Ionian hills.
 The swimming vapour slopes athwart the glen,
 Puts forth an arm, and creeps from pine to pine,
 And loiters, slowly drawn. On either hand
 The lawns and meadow-ledges midway down
 Hang rich in flowers, and far below them roars
 The long brook falling thro' the clov'n ravine
 In cataract after cataract to the sea.
 Behind the valley topmost Gargarus
 Stands up and takes the morning: but in front
 The gorges, opening wide apart, reveal
 Troas and Ilion's column'd citadel,
 The crown of Troas. Hither came at noon
 Mournful Œnone, wandering forlorn
 Of Paris, once her playmate on the hills.
 Her cheek had lost the rose, and round her neck
 Floated her hair or seem'd to float in rest.
 She, leaning on a fragment twined with vine,
 Sang to the stillness, till the mountain-shade
 Sloped downward to her seat from the upper cliff.

 "O mother Ida, many-fountain'd Ida,
 Dear mother Ida, harken ere I die.
 For now the noonday quiet holds the hill:
 The grasshopper is silent in the grass:
 The lizard, with his shadow on the stone,
 Rests like a shadow, and the winds are dead.
 The purple flower droops: the golden bee
 Is lily-cradled: I alone awake.
 My eyes are full of tears, my heart of love,
 My heart is breaking, and my eyes are dim,
 And I am all aweary of my life.

 "O mother Ida, many-fountain'd Ida,
 Dear mother Ida, harken ere I die.
 Hear me, O Earth, hear me, O Hills, O Caves
 That house the cold crown'd snake! O mountain brooks,
 I am the daughter of a River-God,
 Hear me, for I will speak, and build up all
 My sorrow with my song, as yonder walls
 Rose slowly to a music slowly breathed,
 A cloud that gather'd shape: for it may be
 That, while I speak of it, a little while
 My heart may wander from its deeper woe.

 "O mother Ida, many-fountain'd Ida,
 Dear mother Ida, harken ere I die.
 I waited underneath the dawning hills,
 Aloft the mountain lawn was dewy-dark,
 And dewy-dark aloft the mountain pine:
 Beautiful Paris, evil-hearted Paris,
 Leading a jet-black goat white-horn'd, white-hooved,
 Came up from reedy Simois all alone.

 "O mother Ida, harken ere I die.
 Far-off the torrent call'd me from the cleft:
 Far up the solitary morning smote
 The streaks of virgin snow. With down-dropt eyes
 I sat alone: white-breasted like a star
 Fronting the dawn he moved; a leopard skin
 Droop'd from his shoulder, but his sunny hair
 Cluster'd about his temples like a God's:
 And his cheek brighten'd as the foam-bow brightens
 When the wind blows the foam, and all my heart
 Went forth to embrace him coming ere he came.

 "Dear mother Ida, harken ere I die.
 He smiled, and opening out his milk-white palm
 Disclosed a fruit of pure Hesperian gold,
 That smelt ambrosially, and while I look'd
 And listen'd, the full-flowing river of speech
 Came down upon my heart. `My own Œnone,
 Beautiful-brow'd Œnone, my own soul,
 Behold this fruit, whose gleaming rind ingrav'n
 "For the most fair," would seem to award it thine,
 As lovelier than whatever Oread haunt
 The knolls of Ida, loveliest in all grace
 Of movement, and the charm of married brows.'

 "Dear mother Ida, harken ere I die.
 He prest the blossom of his lips to mine,
 And added 'This was cast upon the board,
 When all the full-faced presence of the Gods
 Ranged in the halls of Peleus; whereupon
 Rose feud, with question unto whom 'twere due:
 But light-foot Iris brought it yester-eve,
 Delivering that to me, by common voice
 Elected umpire, Herè comes to-day,
 Pallas and Aphroditè, claiming each
 This meed of fairest. Thou, within the cave
 Behind yon whispering tuft of oldest pine,
 Mayst well behold them unbeheld, unheard
 Hear all, and see thy Paris judge of Gods.'

 "Dear mother Ida, harken ere I die.
 It was the deep midnoon: one silvery cloud
 Had lost his way between the piney sides
 Of this long glen. Then to the bower they came,
 Naked they came to that smooth-swarded bower,
 And at their feet the crocus brake like fire,
 Violet, amaracus, and asphodel,
 Lotos and lilies: and a wind arose,
 And overhead the wandering ivy and vine,
 This way and that, in many a wild festoon
 Ran riot, garlanding the gnarled boughs
 With bunch and berry and flower thro' and thro'.

 "O mother Ida, harken ere I die.
 On the tree-tops a crested peacock lit,
 And o'er him flow'd a golden cloud, and lean'd
 Upon him, slowly dropping fragrant dew.
 Then first I heard the voice of her, to whom
 Coming thro' Heaven, like a light that grows
 Larger and clearer, with one mind the Gods
 Rise up for reverence. She to Paris made