A POEMWHICH OBTAINEDTHE CHANCELLOR'S MEDALAT THECambridge CommencementMDCCCXXIXBYA. TENNYSONOf Trinity College
[Printed in Cambridge Chronicle and Journal of Friday, July 10, 1829, and at the University Press by James Smith, among the Prolusiones Academicæ Præmiis annuis dignatæ et in Curia Cantabrigiensi Recitatæ Comitiis Maximis, MDCCCXXIX. Republished in Cambridge Prize Poems, 1813 to 1858, by Messrs. Macmillan in 1859, without alteration; and in 1893 in the appendix to a reprint of Poems by Two Brothers].Timbuctoo Deep in that lion-haunted inland lies A mystic city, goal of high Emprize. —CHAPMAN. I stood upon the Mountain which o'erlooks The narrow seas, whose rapid interval Parts Afric from green Europe, when the Sun Had fall'n below th' Atlantick, and above The silent Heavens were blench'd with faery light, Uncertain whether faery light or cloud, Flowing Southward, and the chasms of deep, deep blue Slumber'd unfathomable, and the stars Were flooded over with clear glory and pale. I gaz'd upon the sheeny coast beyond, There where the Giant of old Time infixed The limits of his prowess, pillars high Long time eras'd from Earth: even as the sea When weary of wild inroad buildeth up Huge mounds whereby to stay his yeasty waves. And much I mus'd on legends quaint and old Which whilome won the hearts of all on Earth Toward their brightness, ev'n as flame draws air; But had their being in the heart of Man As air is th' life of flame: and thou wert then A center'd glory-circled Memory, Divinest Atalantis, whom the waves Have buried deep, and thou of later name Imperial Eldorado root'd with gold: Shadows to which, despite all shocks of Change, All on-set of capricious Accident, Men clung with yearning Hope which would not die. As when in some great City where the walls Shake, and the streets with ghastly faces throng'd Do utter forth a subterranean voice, Among the inner columns far retir'd At midnight, in the lone Acropolis. Before the awful Genius of the place Kneels the pale Priestess in deep faith, the while Above her head the weak lamp dips and winks Unto the fearful summoning without: Nathless she ever clasps the marble knees, Bathes the cold hand with tears, and gazeth on Those eyes which wear no light but that wherewith Her phantasy informs them. Where are ye Thrones of the Western wave, fair Islands green? Where are your moonlight halls, your cedarn glooms, The blossoming abysses of your hills? Your flowering Capes and your gold-sanded bays Blown round with happy airs of odorous winds? Where are the infinite ways which, Seraphtrod, Wound thro' your great Elysian solitudes, Whose lowest depths were, as with visible love, Fill'd with Divine effulgence, circumfus'd, Flowing between the clear and polish'd stems, And ever circling round their emerald cones In coronals and glories, such as gird The unfading foreheads of the Saints in Heaven? For nothing visible, they say, had birth In that blest ground but it was play'd about With its peculiar glory....