The Princess (poem)

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'A prince I was' - one of Charles Howard Johnson's illustrations for the 1890 edition

The Princess is a serio-comic blank verse narrative poem, written by Alfred Tennyson, published in 1847. The poem tells the story of an heroic princess who forswears the world of men and founds a women's university where men are forbidden to enter. The prince to whom she was betrothed in infancy enters the university with two friends, disguised as women students. They are discovered and flee, but eventually they fight a battle for the princess's hand. They lose and are wounded, but the women nurse the men back to health. Eventually the princess returns the prince's love.

Quotes[edit]

Prologue[edit]

  • And one said smiling 'Pretty were the sight
    If our old halls could change their sex, and flaunt
    With prudes for proctors, dowagers for deans,
    And sweet girl-graduates in their golden hair.
    • Stanza 8, line 139.
  • A rosebud set with little wilful thorns,
    And sweet as English air could make her, she.
    • Stanza 9, line 153.

Part II[edit]

  • As thro' the land at eve we went,
    And pluck'd the ripen'd ears,
    We fell out, my wife and I,
    O we fell out I know not why,
    And kiss'd again with tears.
    • Song: As Through the Land, l. 1-5.
  • And quoted odes, and jewels five-words-long
    That on the stretch'd forefinger of all Time
    Sparkle for ever.
    • Lines 355-357.

Part III[edit]

Our echoes roll from soul to soul,
And grow for ever and for ever...
  • Sweet and low, sweet and low,
    Wind of the western sea,
    Low, low, breathe and blow,
    Wind of the western sea!

    Over the rolling waters go,
    Come from the dying moon, and blow,
    Blow him again to me;
    While my little one, while my pretty one, sleeps.
    • Song: Sweet and Low, stanza 1.
  • Blow, bugle, blow! set the wild echoes flying!
    Blow, bugle! answer, echoes! dying, dying, dying.
    • Line 352.
  • O Love! they die in yon rich sky,
    They faint on hill or field or river:
    Our echoes roll from soul to soul,
    And grow forever and forever.
    Blow, bugle, blow! set the wild echoes flying!
    And answer, echoes, answer! dying, dying, dying.
    • Line 360.

Part IV[edit]

  • The splendour falls on castle walls
    And snowy summits old in story:
    The long light shakes across the lakes,
    And the wild cataract leaps in glory.
    Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
    Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.
    • Song: The Splendor Falls, stanza 1.
  • There sinks the nebulous star we call the sun.
    • Line 1.
  • Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
    Tears from the depth of some divine despair
    Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
    In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,
    And thinking of the days that are no more.
    • Song: Tears, Idle Tears, stanza 1, line 21.
  • Unto dying eyes
    The casement slowly grows a glimmering square.
    • Line 33.
  • Dear as remembered kisses after death,
    And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feigned
    On lips that are for others; deep as love,—
    Deep as first love, and wild with all regret.
    Oh death in life, the days that are no more!
    • Line 36.
  • O love, they die in yon rich sky,
    They faint on hill or field or river:
    Our echoes roll from soul to soul,
    And grow for ever and for ever.
    • Song: The Splendor Falls, stanza 3.
  • Dear as remember'd kisses after death,
    And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feign'd
    On lips that are for others; deep as love,
    Deep as first love, and wild with all regret;
    O Death in Life, the days that are no more.
    • Song: Tears, Idle Tears, stanza 4, line 36.
  • O Swallow, Swallow, flying, flying South,
    Fly to her, and fall upon her gilded eaves,
    And tell her, tell her, what I tell to thee.
    • Song: O Swallow, stanza 1.

Part V[edit]

  • Man is the hunter; woman is his game:
    The sleek and shining creatures of the chase,
    We hunt them for the beauty of their skins;
    They love us for it, and we ride them down.
    • Lines 147-150.
  • Man for the field and woman for the hearth:
    Man for the sword and for the needle she:
    Man with the head and woman with the heart:
    Man to command and woman to obey;
    All else confusion.
    • Lines 427-431.

Part VI[edit]

  • Home they brought her warrior dead:
    She nor swoon'd, nor utter'd cry:
    All her maidens, watching, said,
    "She must weep or she will die."
    • Song: Home They Brought Her Warrior, stanza 1.
  • You wrong yourselves — the woman is so hard
    Upon the woman.
    • Lines 205-206.

Part VII[edit]

  • Ask me no more: thy fate and mine are seal'd:
    I strove against the stream and all in vain:
    Let the great river take me to the main:
    No more, dear love, for at a touch I yield;
    Ask me no more.
    • Song: Ask Me No More, stanza 3.
  • Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white;
    Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk;
    Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font:
    The fire-fly wakens: waken thou with me.
    • Song: Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal, stanza 1.
  • Now lies the Earth all Danaë to the stars,
    And all thy heart lies open unto me.
    • Song: Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal, stanza 3.
  • Sweet is every sound,
    Sweeter thy voice, but every sound is sweet;
    Myriads of rivulets hurrying thro' the lawn,
    The moan of doves in immemorial elms,
    And murmuring of innumerable bees.
    • Lines 203-207.
  • Like perfect music unto noble words.
    • Line 270.
  • Happy he
    With such a mother! faith in womankind
    Beats with his blood, and trust in all things high
    Comes easy to him
    ; and tho’ he trip and fall,
    He shall not blind his soul with clay.
    • Lines 308-311.

Conclusion[edit]

  • God bless the narrow sea which keeps her off,
    And keeps our Britain, whole within herself,
    A nation yet, the rulers and the ruled —
    Some sense of duty, something of a faith,
    Some reverence for the laws ourselves have made.
    Some patient force to change them when we will,
    Some civic manhood firm against the crowd.
    • Lines 51-57.

External links[edit]

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