(Poem #825) Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal, Now the White
Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white; Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk; Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font: The fire-fly wakens: waken thou with me. Now droops the milkwhite peacock like a ghost, And like a ghost she glimmers on to me. Now lies the Earth all Danaë to the stars, And all thy heart lies open unto me. Now slides the silent meteor on, and leaves A shining furrow, as thy thoughts in me. Now folds the lily all her sweetness up, And slips into the bosom of the lake: So fold thyself, my dearest, thou, and slip Into my bosom and be lost in me.
As is the case with much of Tennyson's poetry, today's excerpt from 'The Princess'  is notable not so much for its depth of insight or emotion as for the utter beauty of its language. Tennyson himself put it best when he commented that other people may have written better poetry than him, but nobody ever wrote poetry that sounded better . Incidentally, an interesting contrast obtains between this poem and Shelley's "Indian Serenade" : both poems express roughly the same (annoyingly vapid) sentiments, but whereas Shelley's work seems strained and pretentious, Tennyson's is unhurried and charming. Or maybe that's just me. thomas.  Tennyson's first long poem, published in 1847 and described by Britannica as "a singular anti-feminist fantasia". I have to confess ignorance of the poem beyond today's extract, which I came across in that lovely anthology, "Poems on the Underground".  See Martin's notes to Minstrels Poem #15, "The Eagle".  Minstrels Poem #399: one of my favourite poems - not! [Minstrels Links] After an initial flurry, the pace of Tennyson-inclusion in the Minstrels has slowed somewhat. Still, here are all the poems of his that we've covered: Poem #15, "The Eagle (a fragment)" Poem #31, "Break, break, break" Poem #80, "The Brook (excerpt)" Poem #121, "Ulysses" Poem #355, "The Charge of the Light Brigade" Poem #653 "Ring Out, Wild Bells" The first of these has a brief biography, as well as some critical notes describing Tennyson's peculiar mastery of atmosphere, and his position among the great Romantics. The second has more critical material on Tennyson's life and works. Both are worth a dekko. [Notes] Porphyry: a semi-precious mineral. Danaë: a character in Greek mythology, who, after being locked up in a tower by her father, was visited (ahem! euphemism alert!) by Zeus in a shower of gold.