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Rosalind

Not reprinted till 1884 when it was unaltered, as it has remained since: but the poem appended and printed by Tennyson (in the footnote) has not been reprinted.

My Rosalind, my Rosalind, My frolic falcon, with bright eyes, Whose free delight, from any height of rapid flight, Stoops at all game that wing the skies, My Rosalind, my Rosalind, My bright-eyed, wild-eyed falcon, whither, Careless both of wind and weather, Whither fly ye, what game spy ye, Up or down the streaming wind?


II

The quick lark's closest-carolled strains, The shadow rushing up the sea, The lightningflash atween the rain, The sunlight driving down the lea, The leaping stream, the very wind, That will not stay, upon his way, To stoop the cowslip to the plains, Is not so clear and bold and free As you, my falcon Rosalind. You care not for another's pains, Because you are the soul of joy, Bright metal all without alloy. Life shoots and glances thro' your veins, And flashes off a thousand ways, Through lips and eyes in subtle rays. Your hawkeyes are keen and bright, Keen with triumph, watching still To pierce me through with pointed light; And oftentimes they flash and glitter Like sunshine on a dancing rill, And your words are seeming-bitter, Sharp and few, but seeming-bitter From excess of swift delight.


III

Come down, come home, my Rosalind, My gay young hawk, my Rosalind: Too long you keep the upper skies; Too long you roam, and wheel at will; But we must hood your random eyes, That care not whom they kill, And your cheek, whose brilliant hue Is so sparkling fresh to view, Some red heath-flower in the dew, Touched with sunrise. We must bind And keep you fast, my Rosalind, Fast, fast, my wild-eyed Rosalind, And clip your wings, and make you love: When we have lured you from above, And that delight of frolic flight, by day or night, From North to South; We'll bind you fast in silken cords, And kiss away the bitter words From off your rosy mouth. [1]

[Footnote 1: Perhaps the following lines may be allowed to stand as a separate poem; originally they made part of the text, where they were manifestly superfluous:--

My Rosalind, my Rosalind, Bold, subtle, careless Rosalind, Is one of those who know no strife Of inward woe or outward fear; To whom the slope and stream of life, The life before, the life behind, In the ear, from far and near, Chimeth musically clear. My falconhearted Rosalind, Fullsailed before a vigorous wind, Is one of those who cannot weep For others' woes, but overleap All the petty shocks and fears That trouble life in early years, With a flash of frolic scorn And keen delight, that never falls Away from freshness, self-upborne With such gladness, as, whenever The freshflushing springtime calls To the flooding waters cool, Young fishes, on an April morn, Up and down a rapid river, Leap the little waterfalls That sing into the pebbled pool. My happy falcon, Rosalind; Hath daring fancies of her own, Fresh as the dawn before the day, Fresh as the early seasmell blown Through vineyards from an inland bay. My Rosalind, my Rosalind, Because no shadow on you falls Think you hearts are tennis balls To play with, wanton Rosalind?]


Lord Alfred Tennyson

Early Poems

Suppressed Poems

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