Locksley Hall

Comrades, leave me here a little, while as yet 't is early morn:
  Leave me here, and when you want me, sound upon the bugle-horn.

  'T is the place, and all around it, as of old, the curlews call,
  Dreary gleams about the moorland flying over Locksley Hall;

  Locksley Hall, that in the distance overlooks the sandy tracts,
  And the hollow ocean-ridges roaring into cataracts.

  Many a night from yonder ivied casement, ere I went to rest,
  Did I look on great Orion sloping slowly to the West.

  Many a night I saw the Pleiads, rising thro' the mellow shade,
  Glitter like a swarm of fire-flies tangled in a silver braid.

  Here about the beach I wander'd, nourishing a youth sublime
  With the fairy tales of science, and the long result of Time;

  When the centuries behind me like a fruitful land reposed;
  When I clung to all the present for the promise that it closed:

  When I dipt into the future far as human eye could see;
  Saw the Vision of the world and all the wonder that would be.--

  In the Spring a fuller crimson comes upon the robin's breast;
  In the Spring the wanton lapwing gets himself another crest;

  In the Spring a livelier iris changes on the burnish'd dove;
  In the Spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.

  Then her cheek was pale and thinner than should be for one so young,
  And her eyes on all my motions with a mute observance hung.

  And I said, "My cousin Amy, speak, and speak the truth to me,
  Trust me, cousin, all the current of my being sets to thee."

  On her pallid cheek and forehead came a colour and a light,
  As I have seen the rosy red flushing in the northern night.

  And she turn'd--her bosom shaken with a sudden storm of sighs--
  All the spirit deeply dawning in the dark of hazel eyes--

  Saying, "I have hid my feelings, fearing they should do me wrong";
  Saying, "Dost thou love me, cousin?" weeping, "I have loved thee long."

  Love took up the glass of Time, and turn'd it in his glowing hands;
  Every moment, lightly shaken, ran itself in golden sands.

  Love took up the harp of Life, and smote on all the chords with might;
  Smote the chord of Self, that, trembling, pass'd in music out of sight.

  Many a morning on the moorland did we hear the copses ring,
  And her whisper throng'd my pulses with the fulness of the Spring.

  Many an evening by the waters did we watch the stately ships,
  And our spirits rush'd together at the touching of the lips.

  O my cousin, shallow-hearted! O my Amy, mine no more!
  O the dreary, dreary moorland! O the barren, barren shore!

  Falser than all fancy fathoms, falser than all songs have sung,
  Puppet to a father's threat, and servile to a shrewish tongue!

  Is it well to wish thee happy?--having known me--to decline
  On a range of lower feelings and a narrower heart than mine!

  Yet it shall be; thou shalt lower to his level day by day,
  What is fine within thee growing coarse to sympathize with clay.

  As the husband is, the wife is: thou art mated with a clown,
  And the grossness of his nature will have weight to drag thee down.

  He will hold thee, when his passion shall have spent its novel force,
  Something better than his dog, a little dearer than his horse.

  What is this? his eyes are heavy; think not they are glazed with wine.
  Go to him, it is thy duty, kiss him, take his hand in thine.

  It may be my lord is weary, that his brain is overwrought:
  Soothe him with thy finer fancies, touch him with thy lighter thought.

  He will answer to the purpose, easy things to understand--
  Better thou wert dead before me, tho' I slew thee with my hand!

  Better thou and I were lying, hidden from the heart's disgrace,
  Roll'd in one another's arms, and silent in a last embrace.

  Cursed be the social wants that sin against the strength of youth!
  Cursed be the social lies that warp us from the living truth!

  Cursed be the sickly forms that err from honest Nature's rule!
  Cursed be the gold that gilds the straiten'd forehead of the fool!

  Well--'t is well that I should bluster!--Hadst thou less unworthy proved--
  Would to God--for I had loved thee more than ever wife was loved.

  Am I mad, that I should cherish that which bears but bitter fruit?
  I will pluck it from my bosom, tho' my heart be at the root.

  Never, tho' my mortal summers to such length of years should come
  As the many-winter'd crow that
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Alfred Lord Tennyson

Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson, FRS was Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland during much of Queen Victoria's reign and remains one of the most popular British poets.  more…

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"Locksley Hall" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 5 Jun 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/1037/locksley-hall>.

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