The Palace of Art

I built my soul a lordly pleasure-house,
  Wherein at ease for aye to dwell.
  I said, "O Soul, make merry and carouse,
  Dear soul, for all is well."
  A huge crag-platform, smooth as burnish'd brass
  I chose. The ranged ramparts bright
  From level meadow-bases of deep grass
  Suddenly scaled the light.
  Thereon I built it firm. Of ledge or shelf
  The rock rose clear, or winding stair.
  My soul would live alone unto herself
  In her high palace there.

  And "while the world runs round and round," I said,
  "Reign thou apart, a quiet king,
  Still as, while Saturn whirls, his steadfast shade
  Sleeps on his luminous ring."

  To which my soul made answer readily:
  "Trust me, in bliss I shall abide
  In this great mansion, that is built for me,
  So royal-rich and wide."* * * * *

  Four courts I made, East, West and South and North,
  In each a squared lawn, wherefrom
  The golden gorge of dragons spouted forth
  A flood of fountain-foam.

  And round the cool green courts there ran a row
  Of cloisters, branch'd like mighty woods,
  Echoing all night to that sonorous flow
  Of spouted fountain-floods.

  And round the roofs a gilded gallery
  That lent broad verge to distant lands,
  Far as the wild swan wings, to where the sky
  Dipt down to sea and sands.

  From those four jets four currents in one swell
  Across the mountain stream'd below
  In misty folds, that floating as they fell
  Lit up a torrent-bow.

  And high on every peak a statue seem'd
  To hang on tiptoe, tossing up
  A cloud of incense of all odour steam'd
  From out a golden cup.

  So that she thought, "And who shall gaze upon
  My palace with unblinded eyes,
  While this great bow will waver in the sun,
  And that sweet incense rise?"

  For that sweet incense rose and never fail'd,
  And, while day sank or mounted higher,
  The light aërial gallery, golden-rail'd,
  Burnt like a fringe of fire.

  Likewise the deep-set windows, stain'd and traced,
  Would seem slow-flaming crimson fires
  From shadow'd grots of arches interlaced,
  And tipt with frost-like spires.* * * * *

  Full of long-sounding corridors it was,
  That over-vaulted grateful gloom,
  Thro' which the livelong day my soul did pass,
  Well-pleased, from room to room.

  Full of great rooms and small the palace stood,
  All various, each a perfect whole
  From living Nature, fit for every mood
  And change of my still soul.

  For some were hung with arras green and blue,
  Showing a gaudy summer-morn,
  Where with puff'd cheek the belted hunter blew
  His wreathed bugle-horn.

  One seem'd all dark and red--a tract of sand,
  And some one pacing there alone,
  Who paced for ever in a glimmering land,
  Lit with a low large moon.

  One show'd an iron coast and angry waves.
  You seem'd to hear them climb and fall
  And roar rock-thwarted under bellowing caves,
  Beneath the windy wall.

  And one, a full-fed river winding slow
  By herds upon an endless plain,
  The ragged rims of thunder brooding low,
  With shadow-streaks of rain.

  And one, the reapers at their sultry toil.
  In front they bound the sheaves. Behind
  Were realms of upland, prodigal in oil,
  And hoary to the wind.

  And one a foreground black with stones and slags,
  Beyond, a line of heights, and higher
  All barr'd with long white cloud the scornful crags,
  And highest, snow and fire.

  And one, an English home--gray twilight pour'd
  On dewy pastures, dewy trees,
  Softer than sleep--all things in order stored,
  A haunt of ancient Peace.

  Nor these alone, but every landscape fair,
  As fit for every mood of mind,
  Or gay, or grave, or sweet, or stern, was there,
  Not less than truth design'd.* * * * *

  Or the maid-mother by a crucifix,
  In tracts of pasture sunny-warm,
  Beneath branch-work of costly sardonyx
  Sat smiling, babe in arm.

  Or in a clear-wall'd city on the sea,
  Near gilded organ-pipes, her hair
  Wound with white roses, slept St. Cecily;
  An angel look'd at her.

  Or thronging all one porch of Paradise
  A group of Houris bow'd to se
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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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"The Palace of Art" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 7 Apr. 2020. <>.

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