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Photograph - Text of poem 'Guinevere' from 'Illustrations to Tennyson's Idylls of the King and Other Poems', vol. 1
  • Text of poem 'Guinevere' from 'Illustrations to Tennyson's Idylls of the King and Other Poems', vol. 1
    Tennyson, Alfred Lord,, born 1809 - died 1892
  • Enlarge image

Text of poem 'Guinevere' from 'Illustrations to Tennyson's Idylls of the King and Other Poems', vol. 1

  • Object:

    Photograph

  • Place of origin:

    London (printed)

  • Date:

    1875 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Tennyson, Alfred Lord,, born 1809 - died 1892 (poet)
    Cameron, Julia Margaret, born 1815 - died 1879 (photographer)
    Henry S. King & Co.
    Tennyson, Alfred Lord, (publisher)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Ink on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Gift of Miss M. Ffytche, 1927

  • Museum number:

    90:1-1970

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case X312, shelf I

In 1874, Julia Margaret Cameron's neighbor, and renowned poet, Alfred Tennyson suggested that Cameron create some illustrations for a new volume of his series of poems on Arthurian legends, "Idylls of the King." In the end, only three images were used, as woodcuts, but the full-size prints were later published in two volumes and were accompanied by excerpts from Tennyson's text and his signature. This is a section of verse from volume one.

Physical description

Printed page of poem text in book of poems with photographic illustrations.

Place of Origin

London (printed)

Date

1875 (printed)

Artist/maker

Tennyson, Alfred Lord,, born 1809 - died 1892 (poet)
Cameron, Julia Margaret, born 1815 - died 1879 (photographer)
Henry S. King & Co.
Tennyson, Alfred Lord, (publisher)

Materials and Techniques

Ink on paper

Marks and inscriptions

'Guinevere.

So the stately Queen abode
For many a week, unknown, among the nuns;
Nor with them mixed, nor told her name, nor sought,
Wrapt in her grief, for housel or for shrift,
But communed only with the little maid,
Who pleased her with a babbling heedlessness

Which often lured her from herself; but now,
This night, a rumour wildly blown about
Came, that Sir Modred had usurped the realm,
And leagued him with the heathen, while the King
Was waging war on Lancelot: then she thought,
‘With what a hate the people and the King
Must hate me,’ and bowed down upon her hands
Silent, until the little maid, who brooked
No silence, brake it, uttering, ‘Late! so late!
What hour, I wonder, now?’ and when she drew
No answer, by and by began to hum
An air the nuns had taught her; ‘Late, so late!’
Which when she heard, the Queen looked up, and said,
‘O Maiden, if indeed ye list to sing,
Sing, and unbind my heart that I may weep.’
Whereat full willingly sang the little maid.

Late, late, so late! and dark the night and chill!
Late, late, so late! but we can enter still.
Too late, too late! ye cannot enter now

No light had we: for that we do repent;
And learning this, the bridegroom will relent.
Too late, too late! ye cannot enter now.

No light: so late! and dark and chill the night!
O let us in, that we may find the light!
Too late, too late: ye cannot enter now.

Have we not heard the bridegroom is so sweet?
O let us in, though late, to kiss his feet!
No, no, too late! ye cannot enter now.’

So sang the novice;

A Tennyson'

Dimensions

Height: 44.9 cm book cover, Width: 39 cm book cover, Height: 43 cm page, Width: 33 cm page

Object history note

Originally part of a bound folio volume containing 11 photographs by Cameron and 11 pages of verse text by Tennyson and 3 other text pages (two photographs are missing, the frontispiece image of Tennyson and the last image, 'The Passing of Arthur'). Volume 1 of two albums of illustrations to Tennyson's 'Idylls of the King and other Poems' published by Henry S. King & Co., 1874-75). Each photograph is mounted on bluish mounts with gilt borders.

Descriptive line

Text of poem 'Guinevere' from 'Illustrations to Tennyson's Idylls of the King and Other Poems', vol. 1, 1875, illustrated with photographs by Julia Margaret Cameron

Categories

Photographs; Books; Allegory; Myths & Legends; A Year of Objects: October, Death of Alfred Lord Tennyson

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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