This is one of my most favorite poems by Alfred Tennyson.
The Lady of Shalott - Lord Alfred Tennyson
On either side the river lie Long fields of barley and of rye, That clothe the wold and meet the sky; And through the field the road runs by To many-towered 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 Through the wave that runs for ever By the island in the river Flowing down to Camelot. Four grey walls, and four grey towers, Overlook a space of flowers, And the silent isle imbowers The Lady of Shalott.
By the margin, willow-veiled, Slide the heavy barges trailed By slow horses; and unhailed The shallop flitteth silken-sailed 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 towered Camelot: And by the moon the reaper weary, Piling sheaves in uplands airy, Listening, whispers "'Tis the fairy Lady of Shalott."
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 through 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-haired page in crimson clad, Goes by to towered Camelot; And sometimes through 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 through 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.
A bow-shot from her bower-eaves, He rode between the barley-sheaves, The sun came dazzling through the leaves, And flamed upon the brazen greaves Of bold Sir Lancelot. A red-cross knight for ever kneeled To a lady in his shield, That sparkled on the yellow field, Beside remote Shalott.
The gemmy bridle glittered 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 blazoned baldric slung A mighty silver bugle hung, And as he rode his armour rung, Beside remote Shalott.
All in the blue unclouded weather Thick-jewelled shone the saddle-leather, The helmet and the helmet-feather Burned like one burning flame together, As he rode down to Camelot. As often through the purple night, Below the starry clusters bright, Some bearded meteor, trailing light, Moves over still Shalott.
His broad clear brow in sunlight glowed; On burnished hooves his war-horse trode; From underneath his helmet flowed His coal-black curls as on he rode, As he rode down to Camelot. From the bank and from the river He flashed into the crystal mirror, "Tirra lirra," by the river Sang Sir Lancelot.
She left the web, she left the loom, She made three paces through the room, She saw the water-lily bloom, She saw the helmet and the plume, She looked down to Camelot. Out flew the web and floated wide; The mirror cracked from side to side; "The curse is come upon me," cried The Lady of Shalott.
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 towered 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 seer 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 - Through 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 darkened wholly, Turned to towered Camelot. For ere she reached 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 crossed 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."
Post by Sir Ped of Ro on Aug 26, 2005 19:57:33 GMT
Shan and everyone
From a major portuguese poet, Fernando Pessoa.
i chose one of my fav. hope you like it
Poems from The Keeper of Sheep
I never kept sheep, But it is as I did watch over them. My soul is like a shepherd, Knows the wind and the sun, And goes hand in hand with the Seasons To follow and to listen. All peace of Nature without people Comes to sit by my side. But I remain sad like a sunset As our imagining shows it, When a chill falls at the side of the valley And you feel night has come in Like a butterfly through a window.
But my sadness is calm Because it is natural and right And is what there should be in the soul When it is thinking it exists And the hands are picking flowers without noticing which.
At a jangle of sheep-bells Beyond the bend of the road, My thoughts are contented. Only, I am sorry I know they are contented, Because, if I did not know it, Instead of being contented and sad, They would be cheerful and contented. To think is uncomfortable like walking in the rain When the wind is rising and it looks like raining more.
I have no ambitions or wants. To be a poet is not ambition of mine. It is way of staying alone.
From 'Selected Poems' translated from Fernando Pessoa by J.Griffin.
Post by Sir Ped of Ro on Aug 26, 2005 20:00:15 GMT
Poems from The Keeper of Sheep [...]
There is ample metaphysics in not thinking at all.
What do I think about the world? How should I know what I think about the world? If I were ill I would think about it.
What idea have I about things? What opinion do I have on causes and effects? What meditations have I had upon God and the soul And upon the creation of the World? I don't know. For me, to think about that is to shut me eyes. And not think. It is to draw the curtains Of my window (but it has no curtains).
The mystery of things? How should I know I know what mystery is? The only mystery is there being somebody who might think about mystery. A man who stands in the sun and shuts his eyes Begins not to know what the sun is And to think many things full of heat.
But he opens his eyes and sees the sun, And now he cannot think of anything, Because the light of the sun is worth more than the thoughts Of all the philosophers and all the poets. The light of the sun does not know what it is doing And so does stray and is common and good.
Metaphysics? What metaphysics do those trees have? That of being green and having crowns and branches And that of giving fruit at their hours, - which is not what makes us think, Us, who don't know to be aware of them. But what better metaphysics than theirs, Which is not knowing why they live And not knowing they don't know?
From 'Selected Poems' translated from Fernando Pessoa by J.Griffin.
Post by Sir Ped of Ro on Aug 26, 2005 20:00:42 GMT
Poems from The Keeper of Sheep [...]
One wildly clear day, The kind when you wish you had done a pile of work Not to have to do any that day, I caught sight, like a road ahead among trees, Of what may be the Great Secret, That Great Mystery the false poets speak of.
I saw that in no Nature, That Nature does not exist, That there are mountains, valleys, plains, That there are trees, flowers, grasses, That there are steams and stones, But that there's not a whole to which this belongs, That any real and true connection Is a disease of our ideas. Nature is parts without a whole. This perhaps is that mystery they speak of.
This was what without thought or even a pause I realised must be the truth Which all set out to find and do not find And I alone, because I did not try to find it, found.
I take myself indoors and shut the window. They bring the lamp and give me goodnight, And my contented voice gives them goodnight. O that my life may always be this: The day full of sun, or soft with rain, Or stormy as if the word were coming to an end, The evening soft and the groups of people passing Watched with interest from the window, The last friendly look given the calm of the trees, And then, the window shut, the lamp lit, Not reading anything, nor thinking of anything, not sleeping, To feel life flowing over me like a stream over its bed, And out there a great silence like a god asleep.
From 'Selected Poems' translated from Fernando Pessoa by J.Griffin.
Post by Sir Ped of Ro on Aug 30, 2005 13:12:35 GMT
Pedro, I like the poems you have posted. I like very much.
The person who translated them into English seems to have done a very good job. Have you read them in Portuguese? If so does the meaning seem to hold true to the English translation?
Thank you for sharing them.
I'm glad you like it. regarding the translation it isn't a good one imho, but i think some words are maybe too "worked out", because in portuguese the author presents a more simple and yet stricking choice of vocabulary.
a language has it's own colours, shapes and tastes (i think a language is something rather physical, near to intelectual and to the "body" itself). so there are always some "feelings" hard to transport to another cultural context.
but one itneresting thin tough, Fernando Pessoa was also an incredible translator, he translated to Portuguese the Poe's "raven" and it's has impressive has the original one.
to translate poetry you must be forced to be a poet and carry all those colours, shapes, odors to another house/language.
to better know the poet i just present you, here are some briefings about him, like that you can understand the social/cultural/literary envornment that surrounds the impressive poems posted above
Post by Sir Ped of Ro on Aug 30, 2005 13:13:19 GMT
To Shan and everyone
Fernando Pessoa is the extreme example of what may be the essentially modern kind of poet: the objective introvert. None has more consistently tried to find his poems impersonal. He accepted the dividedness of a human self so completely that he did something unique: wrote poetry under four names - his own and three 'heteronyms'. Not pseudonyms: they are imagery poets with real poems in them. Fernando Pessoa was four poets in one: Alberto Caeiro, Ricardo Reis, Alvaro dos Campos and himself; each strongly distinct from the others.
One is soon struck by an external difference between their poems. Those of Caeiro are free verse; so (though very different in tone) are nearly all those of Campos; those of Reis metrical but unrhymed; Pessoa's own, except a few of the early ones, metrical and closely rhymed. This may come about unconsciously, but was surely no accident. Pessoa was a poet who wrote poets as well as poems
He was born in Lisbon on 13 June 188, and died there on 30 November 1935. When still a small child he lost his father, his mother married again, and he was given a English education in Durban, where his stepfather was the Portuguese consul. At seventeen he return to Lisbon, and for thirty years he hardly stirred from there. Writing letters in English and French for commercial firms in Lisbon erned him a modest living and left him free to devote to poetry.
It came copiously in 1914, when the tree heteronyms arose. How this happened Pessoa himself has told, in his letter of 13 January 1935, to A. Casais Monteiro. Even in childhood, he had held long dialogues with imagery individuals, whom he not only heard but saw and named. In about 1912 he tried to write some pagan poems: it was a failure, but there stayed with him 'a vague portrait' of their writer - 'without my knowing, Ricardo Reis had been born'. Rather less than two years later, as a joke to play on Sá-Carneiro, he was trying to invent a complicated kind of bucolic poet. Then:
On the day when I finally desisted - it was the 8th of March, 1914 - I went over to a high desk and, taking a sheet of paper, began to write, standing, as I always write when I can. And I wrote thirty-odd poems straight off, in a kind of ecstasy whose nature I cannot define. It was the triumphal day of my life, and I shall never be able to have another like it. I started with a title - 'The Keeper of Sheep'. And what followed was the apparition of somebody in me, to whom I at once gave the name of Alberto Caeiro. Forgive me that absurdity of the phrase: my master had appeared in me. This was the immediate sensation I had As soon as he had written the thirty-odd poems of Caeiro's,
I immediately seized another sheet of paper and wrote, also straight off, the six poems that make up Fernando Pessoa's 'Chuva Obliqua'. Immediately and completely ... It was the return of Fernando Pessoa Alberto Caeiro to Fernando Pessoa himself alone. Or better, it was the reaction of Fernando Pessoa against his own non-existence as Alberto Caeiro. He soon went on - 'instinctively and subconsciously' - to discover some disciples for Caeiro: I jerked the latent Ricardo Reis out of his false paganism, discovered his name, and adjust him to himself, because at this stage I already saw him. And suddenly, in a derivation opposed to that of Ricardo Reis, there arose in me impetuously a new individual. At one go, and on the typewriter, without interruption or correction, there arose the 'Triumphal Ode' of Alvaro de Campos - the Ode along with this name and the man along with the name he has He then created an imaginary coterie: I fitted it all into moulds of reality. I graded their influences, recognised their friendship, hear, inside me, their discussions and divergencies of criteria, and in all this it seemed to me that I, the creator of it all, was the least thing there. It is if it all happened independently of me. And it is if it still happens like that... A fact not mentioned in the letter: the first six poems of Ricardo Reis bear the same data (6 June 1914), which suggest, though it does not prove, that they too came in one rush.
* Jonathan GRIFFIN died in 1990. He translated widely from many languages and deeply from French and Portuguese. His translations of Pessoa are much admired by discerning readers who talk of Griffin's Pessoa as they talk of Hamburger's Holderlin or Bosley's Kelevala. N.B. From the Introduction to 'Selected Poems' of Fernando Pessoa, by Jonathan Griffin - Penguin Poetry ISBN 0-14-018845-2
Post by Sir Ped of Ro on Aug 30, 2005 13:14:12 GMT
Fernando Pessoa was four poets in one: Alberto Caeiro, Ricardo Reis, Alvaro de Campos and himself; each strongly distinct from the others.
One is soon struck by an external difference between their poems.
Alberto Caeiro are free verse; so (though very different in tone) are nearly all those of Alvaro de Campos. Ricardo Reis metrical but unrhymed. Pessoa's own, except a few of the early ones, metrical and closely rhymed. Concerning their characteristics Jonathan Griffin say, with Fernando Pessoa sayings "noted this way", that: Caeiro is what Pessoa longed "all the simplicity, all the grandeur the ancients had", all their "possession of things" and it is was Pessoa longed to be and could not. Reis is the nearest that Pessoa could come to being Caeiro. A disciple of Caeiro, Reis works paganism into an ethical doctrine, part epicurean, part stoic, yet conscious, and kept clear of, a human environment conditioned by Christianity Through Campos, Pessoa saved himself from settling down into Reis. He starts as an extrovert, ends as an introvert; starts determined "to feel all every way there is", and ends up obsessed, asking if he is real. As poet in his own name, Fernando Pessoa matured fully almost as soon as his heteronym poets appeared. Caeiro is ideal; Reis the good second best; Campos doing Pessoa's travelling for him: but no escape from coming home to the real exploring. N.B. From the introduction to 'Selected Poems' of Fernando Pessoa, by Jonathan Griffin - Penguin Poetry ISBN 0-14-018845-2