Medieval & Arthurian

The Lady of Shalott

But in her web she still delights

To weave the mirror's magic sights,

For often through 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.


'I am Half-Sick of Shadows'
said The Lady of Shalott
by John William Waterhouse

 

 


The Lady of Shallot was a favorite subject of many Pre-Raphaelite artists. Written by Alfred Lord Tennyson,The Lady of Shalott is a story where passion for life evokes death. The the poor Lady of Shallot is cursed to never look directly out of her window. She may, however, view the world by looking into a mirror. Cursed to spend her life away from humanity, she weaves the images she sees in her mirror all day long. From up in her room, she watches the "shadows of the world". When the handsome knight Sir Lancelot passes by her window, she is overwhelmed by him. In her passion, she forgets the curse and looks down toward Camelot to catch a glimpse of Lancelot. The mirror cracks and the curse comes upon her. The Lady of Shalott goes down to the riverside and finds a boat. She unties the boat and lies down. As she floats down the river toward Camelot, she sings a song. Her blood freezes to her cold death. The boat finds its way to the shore of Camelot where it is greeted by the curious. They see that she has written her name on the front of the boat. Among the crowd is Sir Lancelot. Unaware of what has happened, he looks upon her and says, "She has a lovely face; God in his mercy lend her grace, The Lady of Shalott."

'Lady of Shalot' by John William Waterhouse


She left the web, she left the loom,

She made three paces through the room,

She saw the water-lily 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.


'The Lady of Shalott'
by John William Waterhouse

 

Read 'The Lady of Shalott'
by Sir Alfred Lord Tennyson