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Short poem

Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

Of Old Sat Freedom on the Heights

              1  Of old sat Freedom on the heights,
              2    The thunders breaking at her feet:
              3Above her shook the starry lights:
              4    She heard the torrents meet.

              5  There in her place she did rejoice,
              6    Self-gather'd in her prophet-mind,
              7But fragments of her mighty voice
              8    Came rolling on the wind.

              9  Then stept she down thro' town and field
            10    To mingle with the human race,
            11And part by part to men reveal'd
            12    The fulness of her face--

            13  Grave mother of majestic works,
            14    From her isle-altar gazing down,
            15Who, God-like, grasps the triple forks,
            16    And, King-like, wears the crown:

            17  Her open eyes desire the truth.
            18    The wisdom of a thousand years
            19Is in them. May perpetual youth
            20    Keep dry their light from tears;

            21  That her fair form may stand and shine,
            22    Make bright our days and light our dreams,
            23Turning to scorn with lips divine
            24    The falsehood of extremes!

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Alfred lord Tennyson, Works (London: Macmillan, 1891). tenn T366 A1 1891a Fisher Rare Book Library (Toronto).
First publication date: 1842
RPO poem editor: J. D. Robins
RP edition: 2RP 2.378.
Recent editing: 2:2002/3/13

Composition date: 1833
Rhyme: abba

Other poems by Alfred Lord Tennyson