Mariana

Original Text: 
Alfred Lord Tennyson, Poems, chiefly lyrical (London: E. Wilson, 1830). tenn T366 P645 1830 Fisher Rare Book Library (Toronto). Alfred lord Tennyson, Works (London: Macmillan, 1891). tenn T366 A1 1891a Fisher Rare Book Library (Toronto).
"Mariana in the Moated Grange"
(Shakespeare, Measure for Measure)
2      Were thickly crusted, one and all:
3The rusted nails fell from the knots
5The broken sheds look'd sad and strange:
6      Unlifted was the clinking latch;
7      Weeded and worn the ancient thatch
8Upon the lonely moated grange.
9           She only said, "My life is dreary,
10                He cometh not," she said;
11           She said, "I am aweary, aweary,
12                I would that I were dead!"
13Her tears fell with the dews at even;
14      Her tears fell ere the dews were dried;
15She could not look on the sweet heaven,
16      Either at morn or eventide.
17After the flitting of the bats,
19      She drew her casement-curtain by,
20And glanced athwart the glooming flats.
21           She only said, "The night is dreary,
22                He cometh not," she said;
23           She said, "I am aweary, aweary,
24                I would that I were dead!"
25Upon the middle of the night,
26      Waking she heard the night-fowl crow:
27The cock sung out an hour ere light:
28      From the dark fen the oxen's low
29Came to her: without hope of change,
30      In sleep she seem'd to walk forlorn,
31      Till cold winds woke the gray-eyed morn
32About the lonely moated grange.
33           She only said, "The day is dreary,
34                He cometh not," she said;
35           She said, "I am aweary, aweary,
36                I would that I were dead!"
37About a stone-cast from the wall
38      A sluice with blacken'd waters slept,
39And o'er it many, round and small,
41Hard by a poplar shook alway,
42      All silver-green with gnarled bark:
43      For leagues no other tree did mark
44The level waste, the rounding gray.
45           She only said, "My life is dreary,
46                He cometh not," she said;
47           She said "I am aweary, aweary
48                I would that I were dead!"
49And ever when the moon was low,
50      And the shrill winds were up and away,
51In the white curtain, to and fro,
52      She saw the gusty shadow sway.
53But when the moon was very low
54      And wild winds bound within their cell,
55      The shadow of the poplar fell
56Upon her bed, across her brow.
57           She only said, "The night is dreary,
58                He cometh not," she said;
59           She said "I am aweary, aweary,
60                  I would that I were dead!"
61All day within the dreamy house,
62      The doors upon their hinges creak'd;
63The blue fly sung in the pane; the mouse
64      Behind the mouldering wainscot shriek'd,
65Or from the crevice peer'd about.
66      Old faces glimmer'd thro' the doors
67      Old footsteps trod the upper floors,
68Old voices called her from without.
69           She only said, "My life is dreary,
70                He cometh not," she said;
71           She said, "I am aweary, aweary,
72                I would that I were dead!"
73The sparrow's chirrup on the roof,
74      The slow clock ticking, and the sound
75Which to the wooing wind aloof
76      The poplar made, did all confound
77Her sense; but most she loathed the hour
78      When the thick-moted sunbeam lay
79      Athwart the chambers, and the day
80Was sloping toward his western bower.
81           Then said she, "I am very dreary,
82                He will not come," she said;
83           She wept, "I am aweary, aweary,
84                Oh God, that I were dead!"

Notes

1] The hints for character and situation are found in Shakespeare's Measure for Measure (III, i, 277). Back to Line
4] pear to the gable-wall: altered in 1860 from the original "peach to the garden wall," as more characteristic of the Lincolnshire scene Tennyson had in mind. Back to Line
18] trance: this has been variously explained as "traverse" (E. K. Brown) and "to charm, or hold unnaturally still" (Beck and Snow). Back to Line
40] marish: marsh. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1830
RPO poem Editors: 
H. M. McLuhan
RPO Edition: 
3RP 3.21.
Rhyme: