Poesie: Tennyson’s Eagle

An old favorite, learned by heart long ago.

The Eagle

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ringed with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.


A brief, flawless, heraldic realization of a creature in all the spikily tangible properties of his creatureliness…  Poetry can do that, you know, much like painting, and even good photography.  I did not take these photos, but found them on pixabay.  While we see bald eagles in the sky regularly and they even land in the yard from time to time, you’d be hard pressed to find either sea or crag around here, and hence very little chance to capture in a different medium what Tennyson expressed so aptly.


Poesie: From Tennyson’s In Memoriam

November is a good time to ponder things. Memento mori.

In Memoriam A.H.H.

To-night the winds begin to rise
And roar from yonder dropping day:
The last red leaf is whirl’d away,
The rooks are blown about the skies.

–Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809 – 1892)

In Memoriam A. H. H. contains some of Tennyson’s most wonderful verses, and is remarkable also for its sheer length.  The original title of In_Memoriam_A.H.H. was “The Way of the Soul”, giving us an idea of Tennyson’s thoughts and emotions surrounding the death of a close friend.  This work is widely considered to be one of the greatest poems of the 19th century, they say.

featured sky.jpg

Cultured Wednesday: The Springtime Days of the Round Table

A glorious company, the flower of men, /
To serve as model for the mighty world, /
And be the fair beginning of a time.

In Lord Alfred Tennysson‘s Idylls of the King, we have a wonderfully romantic retelling of the ancient tale of the King, with everything you expect to find.

round table
La Quête du Graal: Arrivée de Galaad à la cour Milan, vers 1380-1385. Copié par Albertolus de Porcelis

In old age, Arthur recalled the springtime days of the Round Table and the hopes of glory with which he had begun. 

But I was first of all the kings who drew
The knighthood-errant of this realm and all
The realms together under me, their Head,
In that fair Order of my Table Round,
A glorious company, the flower of men,
To serve as model for the mighty world,
And be the fair beginning of a time.
I made them lay their hands in mine and swear
To reverence the King, as if he were
Their conscience, and their conscience as their King,
To break the heathen and uphold the Christ,
To ride abroad redressing human wrongs,
To speak no slander, no, nor listen to it,
To honour his own word as if his God’s,
To lead sweet lives in purest chastity,
To love one maiden only, cleave to her,
And worship her by years of noble deeds,
Until they won her; for indeed I knew
Of no more subtle master under heaven
Than is the maiden passion for a maid,
Not only to keep down the base in man,
But teach high thought, and amiable words
And courtliness, and the desire of fame,
And love of truth, and all that makes a man.

If you are interested in the Arthurian legend, you might find The Camelot Project of the University of Rochester to be of interest.

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