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First published in 1830.


Thou art not steep'd in golden languors, No tranced summer calm is thine, Ever varying Madeline. Thro' [1] light and shadow thou dost range, Sudden glances, sweet and strange, Delicious spites and darling angers, And airy [2] forms of flitting change.


Smiling, frowning, evermore, Thou art perfect in love-lore. Revealings deep and clear are thine Of wealthy smiles: but who may know Whether smile or frown be fleeter? Whether smile or frown be sweeter, Who may know? Frowns perfect-sweet along the brow Light-glooming over eyes divine, Like little clouds sun-fringed, are thine, Ever varying Madeline. Thy smile and frown are not aloof From one another, Each to each is dearest brother; Hues of the silken sheeny woof Momently shot into each other. All the mystery is thine; Smiling, frowning, evermore, Thou art perfect in love-lore, Ever varying Madeline.


A subtle, sudden flame, By veering passion fann'd, About thee breaks and dances When I would kiss thy hand, The flush of anger'd shame O'erflows thy calmer glances, And o'er black brows drops down A sudden curved frown: But when I turn away, Thou, willing me to stay, Wooest not, nor vainly wranglest; But, looking fixedly the while, All my bounding heart entanglest In a golden-netted smile; Then in madness and in bliss, If my lips should dare to kiss Thy taper fingers amorously, [3] Again thou blushest angerly; And o'er black brows drops down A sudden-curved frown.

[Footnote 1: 1830. Through.]

[Footnote 2: 1830. Aery.]

[Footnote 3: 1830. Three-times-three; though noted as an _erratum_ for amorously.]

Lord Alfred Tennyson

Early Poems

Suppressed Poems

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