Alfred Lord Tennyson: Song ("The lintwhite and the throstlecock")

Updated September 23, 2019 | Infoplease Staff



The lintwhite and the throstlecock
Have voices sweet and clear;
All in the bloomèd May.
They from the blosmy brere
Call to the fleeting year,
If that he would them hear
And stay.
Alas! that one so beautiful
Should have so dull an ear.


Fair year, fair year, thy children call,
But thou art deaf as death;
All in the bloomèd May.
When thy light perisheth
That from thee issueth,
Our life evanisheth:
Oh! stay.
Alas! that lips so cruel dumb
Should have so sweet a breath!


Fair year, with brows of royal love
Thou comest, as a King.
All in the bloomèd May.
Thy golden largess fling,
And longer hear us sing;
Though thou art fleet of wing,
Yet stay.
Alas! that eyes so full of light
Should be so wandering!


Thy locks are full of sunny sheen
In rings of gold yronne,[3]
All in the bloomèd May,
We pri' thee pass not on;
If thou dost leave the sun,
Delight is with thee gone,
Oh! stay.
Thou art the fairest of thy feres,
We pri' thee pass not on.

[3] His crispè hair in ringis was yronne.—Chaucer, Knight's Tale. (Tennyson's note.)

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