Something for Thursday (National Poetry Month Edition)

 Today is April 1, which means that it’s another National Poetry Month! This month, each of my Thursday music posts will involve poetry, either by direct setting or…something else. (What “something else” may be, I’m not really sure. It might just be settings.)

This is a gorgeous setting of a slightly revised version of one of my favorite poems by one of my very favorite poets, Alfred, Lord Tennyson. The poem is “The Lady of Shalott”, and the musician is the great Loreena McKennitt.

John Atkinson Grimshaw - "The Lady of Shalott" - Google Art Project.jpg

This poem has appealed to me ever since I read in high school, either my junior or senior year. Its lyricism and its capture of the sadness of one of the tales that takes place at the periphery of the Arthurian legend (which is ultimately a collection of very sad stories). Tennyson’s work continues to move me greatly; no matter how poetry changes or what has come after, I always find myself responding to his sense of rhyme and meter, as well as his content. Reading Tennyson is like coming home.

“The Lady of Shalott” begins thusly:

On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And thro’ the field the road runs by
       To many-tower’d Camelot;
The yellow-leaved waterlily
The green-sheathed daffodilly
Tremble in the water chilly
       Round about Shalott.

As it’s lengthy, I won’t quote it here in its entirety. But you can read it here.

And here is Loreena McKennitt’s setting.

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