1. Morning arises stormy and pale, No sun, but a wannish glare In fold upon fold of hueless cloud, And the budded peaks of the wood are bow'd Caught and cuff'd by the gale: I had fancied it would be fair. 2. Whom but Maud should I meet Last night, when the sunset burn'd On the blossom'd gable-ends At the head of the village street, Whom but Maud should I meet? And she touch'd my hand with a smile so sweet She made me divine amends For a courtesy not return'd. 3. And thus a delicate spark Of glowing and growing light Thro' the livelong hours of the dark Kept itself warm in the heart of my dreams, Ready to burst in a colour'd flame; Till at last when the morning came In a cloud, it faded, and seems But an ashen-gray delight. 4. What if with her sunny hair, And smile as sunny as cold, She meant to weave me a snare Of some coquettish deceit, Cleopatra-like as of old To entangle me when we met, To have her lion roll in a silken net And fawn at a victor's feet. 5. Ah, what shall I be at fifty Should Nature keep me alive, If I find the world so bitter When I am but twenty-five? Yet, if she were not a cheat, If Maud were all that she seem'd, And her smile were all that I dream'd, Then the world were not so bitter But a smile could make it sweet. 6. What if tho' her eye seem'd full Of a kind intent to me, What if that dandy-despot, he, That jewell'd mass of millinery, That oil'd and curl'd Assyrian Bull Smelling of musk and of insolence, Her brother, from whom I keep aloof, Who wants the finer politic sense To mask, tho' but in his own behoof, With a glassy smile his brutal scorn -- What if he had told her yestermorn How prettily for his own sweet sake A face of tenderness might be feign'd, And a moist mirage in desert eyes, That so, when the rotten hustings shake In another month to his brazen lies, A wretched vote may be gain'd. 7. For a raven ever croaks, at my side, Keep watch and ward, keep watch and ward, Or thou wilt prove their tool. Yea too, myself from myself I guard, For often a man's own angry pride Is cap and bells for a fool. 8. Perhaps the smile and tender tone Came out of her pitying womanhood, For am I not, am I not, here alone So many a summer since she died, My mother, who was so gentle and good? Living alone in an empty house, Here half-hid in the gleaming wood, Where I hear the dead at midday moan, And the shrieking rush of the wainscot mouse, And my own sad name in corners cried, When the shiver of dancing leaves is thrown About its echoing chambers wide, Till a morbid hate and horror have grown Of a world in which I have hardly mixt, And a morbid eating lichen fixt On a heart half-turn'd to stone. 9. O heart of stone, are you flesh, and caught By that you swore to withstand? For what was it else within me wrought But, I fear, the new strong wine of love, That made my tongue so stammer and trip When I saw the treasured splendour, her hand, Come sliding out of her sacred glove, And the sunlight broke from her lip? 10. I have play'd with her when a child; She remembers it now we meet. Ah well, well, well, I may be beguiled By some coquettish deceit. Yet, if she were not a cheat, If Maud were all that she seem'd, And her smile had all that I dream'd, Then the world were not so bitter But a smile could make it sweet.
About the headline (FAQ)
Confirmed with Maud, and Other Poems. By Alfred Tennyson, D.C.L., Poet Laureate. A New Edition, London: Edward Moxon & Co., Dover Street, 1859.
- by Alfred Tennyson, Lord (1809 - 1892), no title, appears in Maud, Part 1, no. 6 [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive):
- by Alice Foster , "Maud", published 1860? [ voice and piano ], London : Chappell & Co.; note: the song begins 'What if with her sunny hair' (stanza 4) [sung text not yet checked]
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website: 2023-06-29
Line count: 105
Word count: 650