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Alfred Tennyson, 1809-1892

"Mariana"
from Poems, Chiefly Lyrical (London: Effingham Wilson, 1830).


"Mariana in the moated Grange."--Measure for Measure.

 WITH blackest moss the flowerplots
   Were thickly crusted, one and all,
 The rusted nails fell from the knots
   That held the peach to the gardenwall.
 The broken sheds looked sad and strange,
   Unlifted was the clinking latch,
   Weeded and worn the ancient thatch
 Upon the lonely moated grange.
     She only said, "My life is dreary,
       He cometh not," she said;                              10
     She said, "I am aweary, aweary;
       I would that I were dead!" 

II.
Her tears fell with the dews at even, Her tears fell ere the dews were dried, She could not look on the sweet heaven, Either at morn or eventide. After the flitting of the bats, When thickest dark did trance the sky, She drew her casementcurtain by, And glanced athwart the glooming flats. 20 She only said, "The night is dreary, He cometh not," she said: She said, "I am aweary, aweary, I would that I were dead!"
III.
Upon the middle of the night, Waking she heard the nightfowl crow: The cock sung out an hour ere light: From the dark fen the oxen's low Came to her: without hope of change, In sleep she seemed to walk forlorn, 30 Till cold winds woke the grey-eyed morn About the lonely moated grange. She only said, "The day is dreary, He cometh not," she said; She said, "I am aweary, aweary, I would that I were dead!"
IV.
About a stonecast from the wall, A sluice with blackened waters slept, And o'er it many, round and small, The clustered marishmosses crept. 40 Hard by a poplar shook alway, All silvergreen with gnarled bark, For leagues no other tree did dark The level waste, the rounding grey. She only said, "My life is dreary, He cometh not," she said; She said "I am aweary, aweary, I would that I were dead!"
V.
And ever when the moon was low, And the shrill winds were up an' away, 50 In the white curtain, to and fro, She saw the gusty shadow sway. But when the moon was very low, And wild winds bound within their cell, The shadow of the poplar fell Upon her bed, across her brow. She only said, "The night is dreary, He cometh not," she said; She said "I am aweary, aweary, I would that I were dead!" 60
VI.
All day within the dreamy house, The doors upon their hinges creaked; The blue fly sung i' the pane; the mouse Behind the mouldering wainscot shrieked, Or from the crevice peer'd about. Old faces glimmered through the doors, Old footsteps trod the upper floors, Old voices called her from without. She only said, "My life is dreary, He cometh not," she said; 70 She said, "I am aweary, aweary, I would that I were dead!"
VII.
The sparrow's chirrup on the roof, The slow clock ticking, and the sound Which to the wooing wind aloof The poplar made, did all confound Her sense; but most she loathed the hour When the thickmoted sunbeam lay Athwart the chambers, and the day Downsloped was westering in his bower. 80 Then, said she, "I am very dreary, He will not come," she said; She wept, "I am aweary, aweary, Oh God, that I were dead!"


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Updated 2 August 1999 by the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.
Copyright © 1999, the University of South Carolina.
URL: http://www.sc.edu/library/spcoll/britlit/tenn/mariana.html