St. Agnes' Eve

By Alfred, Lord Tennyson 1809–1892 Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Deep on the convent-roof the snows
         Are sparkling to the moon:
My breath to heaven like vapour goes;
         May my soul follow soon!
The shadows of the convent-towers
         Slant down the snowy sward,
Still creeping with the creeping hours
         That lead me to my Lord:
Make Thou my spirit pure and clear
         As are the frosty skies,
Or this first snowdrop of the year
         That in my bosom lies.

As these white robes are soil'd and dark,
         To yonder shining ground;
As this pale taper's earthly spark,
         To yonder argent round;
So shows my soul before the Lamb,
         My spirit before Thee;
So in mine earthly house I am,
         To that I hope to be.
Break up the heavens, O Lord! and far,
         Thro' all yon starlight keen,
Draw me, thy bride, a glittering star,
         In raiment white and clean.

He lifts me to the golden doors;
         The flashes come and go;
All heaven bursts her starry floors,
         And strows her lights below,
And deepens on and up! the gates
         Roll back, and far within
For me the Heavenly Bridegroom waits,
         To make me pure of sin.
The sabbaths of Eternity,
         One sabbath deep and wide—
A light upon the shining sea—
         The Bridegroom with his bride!

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Poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson 1809–1892

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects God & the Divine, Religion

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 Alfred, Lord  Tennyson

Biography

More than any other Victorian writer, Tennyson has seemed the embodiment of his age, both to his contemporaries and to modern readers. In his own day he was said to be—with Queen Victoria and Gladstone—one of the three most famous living persons, a reputation no other poet writing in English has ever had. As official poetic spokesman for the reign of Victoria, he felt called upon to celebrate a quickly changing industrial and . . .

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Poems by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT God & the Divine, Religion

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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