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The Ballad Of Oriana
by Lord Alfred Tennyson

English poet and dramatist, generally considered to be the chief representative of the Victorian age in poetry. Tennyson's major works include his Poems. Chiefly Lyrical (1830); his two volume work, again entitled Poems, of 1842 which includes, alongside rewritten earlier works, the dramatic monologue 'Ulysses', 'Morte d'Arthur' and 'Sir Galahad' - his first pieces dealing with Arthurian legend, 'Locksley Hall' and 'Break, Break, Break'; the novella Princess: a Medly (1847) and his In Memorium A.H.H. (1850), a tribute to his deceased friend Arthur Hallam.

Other major works, this time from Tennyson's second period of creative out put after being made poet laureate, include Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington (1852), The Charge of the Light Brigade (1854) and Maud (1855), what Tennyson referred to as his "monodrama".

He also wrote, in later years, a number of works centred on Arthurian legends, including The Idylls of the King (1859), The Holy Grail and Other Poems (1870) and Gareth and Lynette (1872), as well as some poetic dramas: Queen Mary (1875), Harold (1877), Becket (1884) and, his only prose work, The Promise of May (produced at the Globe Theatre in November 1882). Other important works are Despair (1881), Locksley Hall Sixty Years After (1886), Demeter and Other Poems (1889) and his famous Crossing the Bar (1889). At Alfred's request, his poem "Crossing the Bar," an epitaph of sorts, is always printed last in any collection of his works (our thanks to visitor Cynthia R. for reminding Passions of this oversight).


The Ballad Of Oriana
by Lord Alfred Tennyson

My heart is wasted with my woe,
   Oriana.
There is no rest for me below,
   Oriana.
When the long dun wolds are ribb’d with snow,
And loud the Norland whirlwinds blow,
   Oriana,
Alone I wander to and fro,
   Oriana.

Ere the light on dark was growing,
   Oriana,
At midnight the cock was crowing,
   Oriana;
Winds were blowing, waters flowing,
We heard the steeds to battle going,
   Oriana,
Aloud the hollow bugle blowing,
   Oriana.

In the yew-wood black as night,
   Oriana,
Ere I rode into the fight,
   Oriana,
While blissful tears blinded my sight
By star-shine and by moonlight,
   Oriana,
I to thee my troth did plight,
   Oriana.

She stood upon the castle wall,
   Oriana;
She watch’d my crest among them all,
   Oriana;
She saw me fight, she heard me call,
When forth there stept a foeman tall,
   Oriana,
Atween me and the castle wall,
   Oriana.

The bitter arrow went aside,
   Oriana:
The false, false arrow went aside,
   Oriana;
The damned arrow glanced aside,
And pierced thy heart, my love, my bride,
   Oriana!
Thy heart, my life, my love, my bride,
   Oriana!

O, narrow, narrow was the space,
   Oriana!
Loud, loud rung out the bugle’s brays,
   Oriana.
O, deathful stabs were dealt apace,
The battle deepen’d in its place,
   Oriana;
But I was down upon my face,
   Oriana.

They should have stabb’d me where I lay,
   Oriana!
How could I rise and come away,
   Oriana?
How could I look upon the day?
They should have stabb’d me where I lay,
   Oriana–
They should have trod me into clay,
   Oriana.

O breaking heart that will not break,
   Oriana!
O pale, pale face so sweet and meek,
   Oriana!
Thou smilest, but thou dost not speak,
And then the tears run down my cheek,
   Oriana.
What wantest thou? whom dost thou seek,
   Oriana?

I cry aloud; none hear my cries,
   Oriana.
Thou comest atween me and the skies,
   Oriana.
I feel the tears of blood arise
Up from my heart unto my eyes,
   Oriana.
Within thy heart my arrow lies,
   Oriana.

O cursed hand! O cursed blow!
   Oriana!
O happy thou that liest low,
   Oriana!
All night the silence seems to flow
Beside me in my utter woe,
   Oriana.
A weary, weary way I go,
   Oriana!

When Norland winds pipe down the sea,
   Oriana,
I walk, I dare not think of thee,
   Oriana.
Thou liest beneath the greenwood tree,
I dare not die and come to thee,
   Oriana.
I hear the roaring of the sea,
   Oriana.


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