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The Lady of Shalott

This song is by Loreena McKennitt and appears on the album The Visit (1992) and on the album Nights From The Alhambra (2007).

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The Lady of Shalott
On either side of the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye
That clothe the wold and meet the sky
And thro' the field the road run by
To many-towered Camelot
And up and down the people go
Gazing where the lilies flow
Round an island there below
The island of Shalott

Willows whiten, aspens quiver
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Thro' the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river
Flowing down to Camelot
Four grey walls, and four grey towers
Overlook a space of flowers
And the silent isle embowers
The Lady of Shalott

Only reapers, reaping early
In among the bearded barley
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly
Down to tower'd Camelot
And by the moon the reaper weary
Piling sheaves in uplands airy
Listening, whispers "'tis the fairy
The Lady of Shalott"

There she weaves by night and day
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

And moving through a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year
Shadows of the world appear
There she sees the highway near
Winding down to Camelot
And sometimes thro' the mirror blue
The knights come riding two and two
She hath no loyal knight and true
The Lady Of Shalott

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror's magic sights
For often thro' the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights
And music, went to Camelot
Or when the moon was overhead
Came two young lovers lately wed
"I am half sick of shadows," she said
The Lady Of Shalott

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

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 flashed 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 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 Shalott

In the stormy east-wind straining
The pale yellow woods were waning
The broad stream in his banks complaining
Heavily the low sky raining
Over towered Camelot
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat
And round about the prow she wrote
The Lady of Shalott

And down the river's dim expanse
Like some bold seer in a trance
Seeing all his own mischance
With a glassy countenance
Did she look to Camelot
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain and down she lay
The broad stream bore her far away
The Lady of Shalott

Heard a carol, mournful, holy
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly
Till her blood was frozen slowly
And her eyes were darkened wholly
Turn'd to towered Camelot
For ere she reach'd upon the tide
The first house by the water-side
Singing in her song she died
The Lady of Shalott

Under tower and balcony
By garden-wall and gallery
A gleaming shape she floated by
Dead-pale between the houses high
Silent into Camelot
Out upon the wharfs they came
Knight and burgher, lord and dame
And round the prow they read her name
The Lady of Shalott

Who is this? And what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer
And they crossed themselves for fear
All the knights at Camelot
But Lancelot mused a little space
He said, "She has a lovely face
God in his mercy lend her grace
The Lady of Shalott"

Written by:

lyrics by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1842) adapted by McKennitt, music by McKennitt

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