Monday, February 8, 2016

A film adaptation of Alfred Lord Tennyson's, 'The Lady of Shalott' by WagScreen


The Lady of Shalott a film by Wag Screen

According to WagScreen this film was made back in 2009 in honor of the bicentenary of Alfred Lord Tennyson. I just watched it and during this film you will see an actor playing Alfred Tennyson as a young man at a party reading his poem, The Lady of Shalott to a room full of people. He would have been a young man of twenty four years old when it was published in 1833. It was later published in 1842 and Tennyson would have been thirty three years old. So, I am happy that the film makers kept Tennyson a youngish man in this representation. However, I did not like his quirky outfit or his recitation of The Lady of Shalott. Alfred Tennyson had a deep voice with a thick Lincolnshire accent not a posh sounding British accent but I'm fussy when it comes to my Tennyson.  What I do love is the beautiful depiction of the John William Waterhouse painting of The Lady of Shalott brought beautifully to life right down to her dress, the boat absolutely everything. 

So, enjoy The Lady of Shalott by WagScreen. 

The Lady of Shalott by John William Waterhouse, 1888, oil on canvas, Tate Britain, London, UK 

This painting is based on The Lady of Shalott by Alfred Lord Tennyson.
It illustrates the lines: 

And down the river's dim expanse
Like some bold seer in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance -
With a glassy countenance
Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott. 

Now for both versions of the poem itself:  

 1833 edition

Part the First.

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 manytowered Camelot.
The yellowleavèd waterlily,
The greensheathèd daffodilly,
Tremble in the water chilly,
               Round about Shalott.

Willows whiten, aspens shiver,
The sunbeam-showers break and quiver
In the stream that runneth ever
By the island in the river,
 Flowing down to Camelot.
Four gray walls and four gray towers
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
               The Lady of Shalott.

Underneath the bearded barley,
The reaper, reaping late and early,
Hears her ever chanting cheerly,
Like an angel, singing clearly,
               O'er the stream of Camelot.
Piling the sheaves in furrows airy,
Beneath the moon, the reaper weary
Listening whispers, "'tis the fairy
               Lady of Shalott."

The little isle is all inrailed
With a rose-fence, and overtrailed
With roses: by the marge unhailed
The shallop flitteth silkensailed,
               Skimming down to Camelot.
A pearlgarland winds her head:
She leaneth on a velvet bed,
Full royally apparellèd
                The Lady of Shalott.

Part the Second.

No time hath she to sport and play:
A charmèd web she weaves alway.
A curse is on her, if she stay
Her weaving, either night or day,
              To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be;
Therefore she weaveth steadily,
Therefore no other care hath she,
              The Lady of Shalott.

She lives with little joy or fear.
Over the water, running near,
The sheepbell tinkles in her ear.
Before her hangs a mirror clear,
              Reflecting towered Camelot.
And, as the mazy web she whirls,
She sees the surly village-churls,
And the red cloaks of market-girls,
              Pass onward from Shalott.

Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
An abbot on an ambling pad,
Sometimes a curly shepherd lad,
Or longhaired page, in crimson clad,
              Goes by to towered Camelot.
And sometimes thro' the mirror blue,
The knights come riding, two and two.
She hath no loyal knight and true
              The Lady of Shalott.

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror's magic sights:
For often thro' the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights
              And music, came from Camelot.
Or, when the moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers, lately wed:
"I am half-sick of shadows," said
              The Lady of Shalott.

Part the Third.

A bowshot from her bower-eaves.
He rode between the barleysheaves:
The sun came dazzling thro' the leaves,
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
              Of bold Sir Launcelot.
A redcross knight for ever kneeled
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
              Beside remote Shalott.

The gemmy bridle glittered free,
Like to some branch of stars we see
Hung in the golden galaxy.
The bridle-bells rang merrily,
              As he rode down from Camelot.
And, from his blazoned baldric slung,
A mighty silver bugle hung,
And, as he rode, his armour rung,
              Beside remote Shalott.

All in the blue unclouded weather,
Thickjewelled shone the saddle-leather.
The helmet, and the helmet-feather
Burned like one burning flame together,
              As he rode down from Camelot.
As often thro' the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, trailing light,
              Moves over green Shalott.

His broad clear brow in sunlight glowed.
On burnished hooves his warhorse trode.
From underneath his helmet flowed
His coalblack curls, as on he rode,
              As he rode down from Camelot.
From the bank, and from the river,
He flashed into the crystal mirror,
"Tirra lirra, tirra lirra,"
              Sang Sir Launcelot.

She left the web: she left the loom:
She made three paces thro' the room:
She saw the waterflower bloom:
She saw the helmet and the plume:
              She looked down to Camelot.
Out flew the web, and floated wide,
The mirror cracked from side to side,
'The curse is come upon me," cried
              The Lady of Shalott.

Part the Fourth.

In the stormy eastwind straining
The pale-yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining,
Heavily the low sky raining
              Over towered Camelot:
Outside the isle a shallow boat
Beneath a willow lay afloat,
Below the carven stern she wrote,
              THE LADY OF SHALOTT.

A cloudwhite crown of pearl she dight.
All raimented in snowy white
That loosely flew, (her zone in sight,
Clasped with one blinding diamond bright,)
              Her wide eyes fixed on Camelot,
Though the squally eastwind keenly
Blew, with folded arms serenely
By the water stood the queenly
               Lady of Shalott.

With a steady, stony glance—
Like some bold seer in a trance,
Beholding all his own mischance,
Mute, with a glassy countenance—
              She looked down to Camelot.
It was the closing of the day,
She loosed the chain, and down she lay,
The broad stream bore her far away,
              The Lady of Shalott.

As when to sailors while they roam,
By creeks and outfalls far from home,
Rising and dropping with the foam,
From dying swans wild warblings come,
              Blown shoreward; so to Camelot
Still as the boathead wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her chanting her deathsong,
              The Lady of Shalott.

A longdrawn carol, mournful, holy,
She chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her eyes were darkened wholly,
And her smooth face sharpened slowly
              Turned to towered Camelot:
For ere she reached upon the tide
The first house by the waterside,
Singing in her song she died,
              The Lady of Shalott.

Under tower and balcony,
By gardenwall and gallery,
A pale, pale corpse she floated by,
Deadcold, between the houses high,
              Dead into towered Camelot.
Knight and burgher, lord and dame,
To the plankèd wharfage came:
Below the stern they read her name,
              "The Lady of Shalott."

They crossed themselves, their stars they blest,
Knight, minstrel, abbot, squire and guest.
There lay a parchment on her breast,
That puzzled more than all the rest,
              The wellfed wits at Camelot.
"The web was woven curiously
 The charm is broken utterly,
 Draw near and fear not – this is I,
             


 The Lady of Shalott. 1842 edition
Part I.

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;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
                The island of Shalott.

Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Thro' the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river
               Flowing down to Camelot.
Four gray walls, and four gray towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
               The Lady of Shalott.

By the margin, willow-veil'd
Slide the heavy barges trail'd
By slow horses; and unhail'd
The shallop flitteth silken-sail'd
               Skimming down to Camelot:
But who hath seen her wave her hand?
Or at the casement seen her stand?
Or is she known in all the land,
                The Lady of Shalott?

Only reapers, reaping early
In among the bearded barley,
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly,
              Down to tower'd Camelot.
And by the moon the reaper weary,
Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers "'Tis the fairy
              Lady of Shalott."

Part II.

There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
              To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
              The Lady of Shalott.

And moving thro' a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near
              Winding down to Camelot:
There the river eddy whirls,
And there the surly village-churls,
And the red cloaks of market girls,
               Pass onward from Shalott.

Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
An abbot on an ambling pad,
Sometimes a curly shepherd-lad,
Or long-hair'd page in crimson clad,
              Goes by to tower'd Camelot;
And sometimes thro' the mirror blue
The knights come riding two and two:
She hath no loyal knight and true,
              The Lady of Shalott.

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror's magic sights,
For often thro' the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights
              And music, went to Camelot:
Or when the moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed;
"I am half-sick of shadows," said
              The Lady of Shalott.

Part III.

A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rode between the barley-sheaves,
The sun came dazzling thro' the leaves,
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
              Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A redcross knight for ever kneel'd
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
              Beside remote Shalott.

The gemmy bridle glitter'd free,
Like to some branch of stars we see
Hung in the golden Galaxy.
The bridle-bells rang merrily
              As he rode down to Camelot:
And from his blazon'd baldric slung
A mighty silver bugle hung,
And as he rode his armour rung,
              Beside remote Shalott.

All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewell'd shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather
Burn'd like one burning flame together,
              As he rode down to Camelot.
As often thro' the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, trailing light,
              Moves over still Shalott.

His broad clear brow in sunlight glow'd;
On burnish'd hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow'd
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
              As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flash'd into the crystal mirror,
"Tirra lirra," by the river
              Sang Sir Lancelot.

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.

Part IV.

In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale-yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining,
Heavily the low sky raining
              Over tower'd Camelot;
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And round about the prow she wrote
              The Lady of Shalott.

And down the river's dim expanse—
Like some bold seër in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance—
With a glassy countenance
              Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
              The Lady of Shalott.

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.

Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darken'd wholly,
               Turn'd to tower'd Camelot;
For ere she reach'd upon the tide
The first house by the water-side,
Singing in her song she died,
              The Lady of Shalott.

Under tower and balcony,
By garden-wall and gallery,
A gleaming shape she floated by,
A corse between the houses high,
              Silent into Camelot.
Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and burgher, lord and dame,
And round the prow they read her name,
              The Lady of Shalott.

Who is this? and what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they cross'd themselves for fear,
              All the knights at Camelot:
But Lancelot mused a little space;
He said, "She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
              The Lady of Shalott."
 

7 comments:

Daniela said...

Oh my, how I loved it, it gave life to Waterhouse's painting in a so wonderful way, thank you for sharing it !!!
With so much heartfelt gratitude, I wish you all the best for the reamainder of your week
xox
Daniela

Kimberly Eve said...

Hi Daniela,
I couldn't agree more! Thanks for stopping by.

Hels said...

We know the Pre-Raphaelite artists were influenced by literature, especially evocative, romantic, tragic literature. So The Lady of Shalott was always going to be adored by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

Lots of other artists did drawings or paintings for Lady of Shalott, including Rossetti, but Waterhouse's paintings of the lady seem to still dominate our thinking. Rightly so!

Kimberly Eve said...

Hi Hels,
I think you meant to say that the Pre-Raphaelites always adored The Lady of Shalott by Alfred Lord Tennyson and not that Tennyson would have adored his own poem? Maybe I'm wrong, though! Either way, thanks for stopping by.

WoofWoof said...

I remember getting the dvd of the film when it came out and in fact I watched it on the bicentenary day, Aug 6th 2009! I think it's a beautifully done film by a local group in Lincolnshire. As you say, they have matched the Waterhouse paintings perfectly! The costumes of the guests at the reading have also been done very carefully eg I believe one of the dresses is taken from the April Love painting. (The guests if you look at the end credits are supposed to be Rossetti, Millais, Hunt etc! I agree with you that the actor playing Tennyson doesn't read it brilliantly. However I don't think mimicking Tennyson's own reading style would have worked? No doubt you've heard the recording of The Charge of the Light Brigade which he reads in that affected Victorian almost chanting style! It is interesting to see the two versions of the poem. I have to say that I think the 1842 version is a big improvement especially the last verse. 1832 does sound a bit odd - those "well-fed wits at Camelot" and "God in his mercy lend her grace" is such a beautiful line compared with what was there before. Regarding Tennyson's relationship with the pre-raphs, they clearly hero-worshipped him, but I get the impression, he sort of kept them at arms length. I know he collaborated with them on one illustrated edition of the poems but even with this, I think he was critical of the drawings - eg he didn't like Hunt's sketch for this poem because it had too much stuff which wasn't in the poem. Personally I agree. I think Hunt's painting of the Lady is awful - too fussy with too much packed in, all those graeco-roman wrestlers etc. I don't know if he ever saw Waterhouse's depictions? Surely he would have loved those paintings? (Incidentally, I remember reading how he didn't like Millais's portrait of himself, which I personally think is wonderful). Anyway, thanks again for another fascinating post. Hopefully Wagscreens film will get more well known. It would be wonderful to see it used widely in schools.

Kevin Marsh said...

A splendid piece indeed, I do love The Lady of Shalott.
Thank you for posting.

Kimberly Eve said...

Thanks Kevin. Hopefully, the company makes another film in the future.

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