Sir Launcelot and Queen Guinevere

by Alfred Tennyson


Like souls that balance joy and pain, With tears and smiles from heaven again The maiden Spring upon the plain Came in a sunlit fall of rain. In crystal vapor everywhere Blue isles of heaven laughed between, And far, in forest-deeps unseen, The topmost elm-tree gathered green From draughts of balmy air.
Sometimes the linnet piped his song: Sometimes the throstle whistled strong: Sometimes the sparhawk, wheeled along, Hushed all the groves from fear of wrong: By grassy capes with fuller sound In curves the yellowing river ran, And drooping chestnut-buds began To spread into the perfect fan, Above the teeming ground.
Then, in the boyhood of the year, Sir Launcelot and Queen Guinevere Rode through the coverts of the deer, With blissful treble ringing clear. She seemed a part of joyous Spring: A gown of grass-green silk she wore, Buckled with golden clasps before; A light-green tuft of plumes she bore Closed in a golden ring.
Now on some twisted ivy-net, Now by some tinkling rivulet, In mosses mixt with violet Her cream-white mule his pastern set: And fleeter now she skimmed the plains Than she whose elfin prancer springs By night to eery warblings, When all the glimmering moorland rings With jingling bridle-reins.
As she fled fast through sun and shade, The happy winds upon her played, Blowing the ringlet from the braid: She looked so lovely, as she swayed The rein with dainty finger-tips, A man had given all other bliss, And all his worldly worth for this, To waste his whole heart in one kiss Upon her perfect lips.