I have to be honest. I'm not a huge fan of poetry. Never have been. Sometimes, it just seems like too much work for the benefits. And I feel stupid reading poetry. Words that don't make any sense....why wasn't my time?
Then I read Alfred, Lord Tennyson's The Lady of Shallot...and everything changed. Since The Once Upon a Time Reading Challenge started, I thought this would be a good time to talk about it. I mean, this is a Fantasy poem about Camelot, Sir Lancelot, and an evil curse?? Sounds like it fits the OUaT bill to a tee!
Originally written in 1833, The Lady of Shallot has been depicted in many paintings (a few pictures I've added here), song, and verse. It is an incredibly beautiful poem, and if you haven't read it, DO IT. Take the word of someone that really dislikes poetry. It's worth the time. Fair maiden cursed forever to never be able to see the world, except through a mirror, spends her time weaving a magical web. Until she sees the beautiful knight, Sir Lancelot....and risks the curse to glance at him. Unfortunately for her, she can't escape the curse, even for Lancelot. It's actually incredibly sad to think that she risked everything for love....a love that was never returned. In fact, Lancelot never even had a chance to meet the Lady of Shallot.
"There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with color gay
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay to look down on Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath, she
The Lady of Shallot."
Then she sees Lancelot:
"His broad clear bow in sunlight glowed;
On burnished hooves his war horse trode,
From underneath his helmet flowed
His coal-black curls as on he rode, as he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flashed into the crystal mirror
"Tirra Lirra", by the river
Sang Sir Lancelot.
She left her web, she left the loom,
She made Three paces through the room,
She saw the water lily bloom
She saw the helmet and the plume, She looked down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide,
The mirror cracked from side to side,
"The Curse is come upon me," cried, The Lady of Shallot."
Arthurian literature has always been something that has intrigued me. And after reading this wonderful poem, I know that I have to read more. This lovely poem made me cry the first time I read it. It brought on deep emotions, and I can see how it has stirred many an artist. The last picture, I found on the internet is a Steam-punk Version/rendition of The Lady of Shallot. So Cool. And if you have a few minutes, please listen to the Lorenna McKinnet video I posted at the end. She adapted this poem to music, and it is truly beautiful. It makes my heart ache.