Saturday, December 11, 2010

Classic Poetry - (The lotos-Eaters - Lord Alfred Tennyson)

The Lotos-Eaters

"Courage!" he said, and pointed toward the land,
"This mounting wave will roll us shoreward soon."
In the afternoon they came unto a land
In which it seemed always afternoon.
All round the coast the languid air did swoon,
Breathing like one that hath a weary dream.
Full-faced above the valley stood the moon;
And like a downward smoke, the slender stream
Along the cliff to fall and pause and fall did seem.

A land of streams! some, like a downward smoke,
Slow-dropping veils of thinnest lawn, did go;
And some thro' wavering lights and shadows broke,
Rolling a slumbrous sheet of foam below.
They saw the gleaming river seaward flow
From the inner land: far off, three mountain-tops,
Three silent pinnacles of aged snow,
Stood sunset-flush'd: and, dew'd with showery drops,
Up-clomb the shadowy pine above the woven copse.

The charmed sunset linger'd low adown
In the red West: thro' mountain clefts the dale
Was seen far inland, and the yellow down
Border'd with palm, and many a winding vale
And meadow, set with slender galingale;
A land where all things always seem'd the same!
And round about the keel with faces pale,
Dark faces pale against that rosy flame,
The mild-eyed melancholy Lotos-eaters came.

Branches they bore of that enchanted stem,
Laden with flower and fruit, whereof they gave
To each, but whoso did receive of them,
And taste, to him the gushing of the wave
Far far away did seem to mourn and rave
On alien shores; and if his fellow spake,
His voice was thin, as voices from the grave;
And deep-asleep he seem'd, yet all awake,
And music in his ears his beating heart did make.

They sat them down upon the yellow sand,
Between the sun and moon upon the shore;
And sweet it was to dream of Fatherland,
Of child, and wife, and slave; but evermore
Most weary seem'd the sea, weary the oar,
Weary the wandering fields of barren foam.
Then some one said, "We will return no more";
And all at once they sang, "Our island home
Is far beyond the wave; we will no longer roam."

~ Alfred Tennyson

Lord Alfred Tennyson (6 August 1809 - 6 October 1892)

This poem was suggested by Jordan the author and poet responsible for the blog Six Metamorphoses

After having read this poem what are your thoughts?  I read a little on the history of Tennyson and this poem and found it all fairly interesting.  I linked Wikepidea to the poem title above so if have you have the chance take a gander.  If you have any thoughts on this poem or any of Tennyson's other writings please feel free to share them with us in the comments section below. We look forward to hearing what you have to say or share. 

Poets United posts a classic poem once weekly. We want to do this to introduce classic poets and their poems to our members. It is also a way to display different styles, genres and approaches to poetry. Our intent is to further expand the world of poetry while educating ourselves.

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  1. I'm to read and review a book called The Lotus Eaters, about the war in Vietnam and an American photographer who stayed on after the war ended and the North moved down into the South. Tennyson's poem refers to poppies and opium from Asia, I bet.

  2. Odysseus bewared the lotus plant. Wise words.

  3. Lotos-Eaters, one of my desert island poems an all-time classic and favorite. Great post, Tennyson is still under-read in academia today. Will anyone ever write like this again?
    I hope so, but it might be a long long time.

  4. You didn't post the whole thing! It is interesting to see how the excerpt by itself has a different feel than it does within the context of the entire poem.


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