Thursday, April 24, 2008

March BJP Page

The Lady of Shalott
by Alfred Lord Tennyson

This stunning epic poem is fraught with imagery, any stanza of which could prompt a page in itself. Realizing my limitations timewise and designwise, I tried to focus on a pivotal point in the poem with this page.

The Lady of Shalott is bound by a curse -- she must never look directly upon the landscape of Camelot but instead view her surroundings through a mirror. She weaves a magic web

with colours gay,
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
The Lady of Shalott.

You will never know how tempted I was to try to bead a magic web!

One day she was a little down and that is when the pivotal point of the poem occurs:

A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rode between the barley-sheaves,
The sun came dazzling thro-the leaves,
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A red-cross knight for ever kneel'd
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
Beside remote Shalott.

The gemmy bridle glitter'd free,
Like to some branch of stars we see
Hung in the golden Galaxy.
The bridle bells rang merrily
As he rode down to Camelot;
And from his blazon'd baldric slung
A mighty silver bugle hung,
And as he rode his armour rung,
Beside remote Shalott.

All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewell'd shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet feather
Burn'd like one burning flame together,
As he rode down to Camelot.
As often thro' the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, trailing light,
Moves over still Shalott.

His broad clear brow in sunlight glow'd;
On burnish'd hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow'd
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
As he rode down to Camelot,
From the bank and from the river
He flash'd into the crystal mirror,
"Tirra lirra," by the river
Sang Sir Lancelot.

She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces thro' the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She look'd down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack'd from side to side;
"The curse is come upon me," cried
The Lady of Shalott.

I sure hope my sister (who adores this poem) isn't disappointed in my interpretation of "the mirror crack'd" and Sir Lancelot's "helmet and helmet-feather burn'd like one burning flame together".

Believe it or not, the Hoffman floral fabric is entitled The Lady of Shalott and beautifully depicts the bloom of the water-lily. I have hoarded this fabric for over twenty years! Aquamarine is the birthstone for March and my attempt at a pseudo Celtic border features beads in this color.

If you wish to read this wonderful epic poem in it's entirety, go to


abeadlady said...

That fabric was well worth the hoarding. This is beautiful.


freebird said...

We hoard stuff and sometimes never use it. Glad you found the perfect spot for your treasured piece of fabric. I think your sister will like your interpretation!

Hélène H said...

Wow, that one made my heart beat faster.

Cyndi L said...

"I am Half Sick of Shadows" said the Lady of Shallot...

I can't believe that I missed this one!!! One of my favorite characters, lovely poem, and a wonderful interpretation :-)

Robin said...

My favorite thing about this piece is the cracked mirror. I like to click to enlarge the picture and study it before I read any of the words written about the piece. As soon as I saw this one, I thought of cracked ice and something, maybe a hat, under the ice. Not bad, huh? Love the choice of fabrics!

vivage said...

Lovely. the use of the fabric is brilliant. I love the border.

Zara Penney said...

I grew up on Richard Harris' Rendition of Camelot - and I love when Guinivere (Lynn Redgrave) chips in and in her sadness says:

"And I suppose all the leaves fall into neat little piles..."