Elaine-of-Shalott

literature women // elaine of astolat

lying, robed in snowy white
that loosely flew to left and right –
the leaves upon her falling light –
thro’ the noises of the night
           she floated down to camelot:
and as the boat-head wound along
the willowy hills and fields among,
they heard her singing her last song,
           the lady of shalott.

The complete poetical works of Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
Poet Laureate.
Illustrated.
New York.
Harper & Brothers, Publishers.
Franklin Square.
.1884.

The Lady of Shalott

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 look’d down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide :
The mirror crack’d from side to side ;
“The curse is come upon me,” cried
The Lady of Shalott.

John Atkinson Grimshaw (1836-1893)
“Elaine” (1877)
Oil on canvas
Currently in a private collection

Elaine of Astolat is a figure in Arthurian legend who dies of her unrequited love for Sir Lancelot. Also referred to as Elaine the White and Elaine the Fair, she is the daughter of Bernard of Astolat. Elaine’s story is also the inspiration for Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem “The Lady of Shalott”.

youtube

Au Merlin video about Elaine of Shalott and Lancelot.