The Poem of the Lover’s Tale (the lover is supposed to be himself a poet) was written in my nineteenth year, and consequently contains nearly as many faults as words. That I deemed it not wholly unoriginal is my only apology for its publication—an apology lame and poor, and somewhat impertinent to boot: so that if its infirmities meet with more laughter than charity in the world, I shall not raise my voice in its defence. I am aware how deficient the Poem is in point of art, and it is not without considerable misgivings that I have ventured to publish even this fragment of it. ‘Enough,’ says the old proverb, ’is as good as a feast.’—(Tennyson’s original introductory note.)
Here far away, seen from the topmost cliff,
Filling with purple gloom the vacancies
Between the tufted hills the sloping seas
Hung in mid-heaven, and half-way down rare sails,
White as white clouds, floated from sky to sky.
Oh! pleasant breast of waters, quiet bay,
Like to a quiet mind in the loud world,
Where the chafed breakers of the outer sea
Sunk powerless, even as anger falls aside,
And withers on the breast of peaceful love,
Thou didst receive that belt of pines, that fledged
The hills that watch’d thee, as Love watcheth Love,—
In thine own essence, and delight thyself
To make it wholly thine on sunny days.
Keep thou thy name of ‘Lover’s bay’: See, Sirs,
Even now the Goddess of the Past, that takes
The heart, and sometimes toucheth but one string,
That quivers, and is silent, and sometimes
Sweeps suddenly all its half-moulder’d chords
To an old melody, begins to play
On those first-moved fibres of the brain.
I come, Great mistress of the ear and eye:
Oh! lead me tenderly, for fear the mind
Rain thro’ my sight, and strangling sorrow weigh
Mine utterance with lameness. Tho’ long years
Have hallowed out a valley and a gulf
Betwixt the native land of Love and me,
Breathe but a little on me, and the sail
Will draw me to the rising of the sun,
The lucid chambers of the morning star,
And East of life.