Saturday, 10 December 2011

John William Waterhouse

'I am Half Sick of Shadows' said the Lady of Shalott

She left the web, she left the loom,

She made three paces thro' the room,

She saw the water lily boom,

She saw the helmet and the plume,

She looked 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.

And down the river's dim expanse,

Like some bold seer in a trance,


The broad stream bore her far away.

('The Lady of Shalott' by Tennyson)

I met a lady in the meads,

Full beautiful -a faery's child,

Her hair was long, her foot was light,

And her eyes were wild.

She took me to her elfin grot,

And there she wept, and sigh'd full sore,

And there I shut her wild wild eyes

With kisses four.

And there she lulled me asleep,

And there I dream'd -Ah! woe betide!

The latest dream I ever dream'd

On the cold hill's side.

I saw pale kings and princes too,

Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;

They cried -'La Belle Dam sans Merci

Hath thee in a thrall!'

('La Belle Dame Sans Merci' by Keats)

.. in a clear wall'd city on the sea,

Near gilded organ pipes, her hair

Wound with white roses, slept St. Cecily;

An angel look'd at her.

('The Palace of Art' by Tennyson)

Miranda (1875), the daughter of Prospero

('The Tempest' by Shakespeare)

'Get out of my sunshine', replied Diogenes

Nothing could be more pitiably effeminate than the appearance of this young man.. An unmeaning smiled dilated his thin, colourless lips; and as he looked down on his strange favourites, he occasionally whispered to them a few broken expressions of endearment, almost infantine in their simplicity. His whole soul seemed to be engrossed by the labour of distributing his grain, and he followed the different movements of the poultry with an earnestness of attention, which seemed almost idiotic in its ridiculous intensity. If it be asked, why a person so contemptible as this soltiary youth has been introduced with so much care, and described with so much minuteness, it must be answered, that, though destined to form no important figure in this work, he played, from his position, a remarkable part in the great drama on which it is founded -for this feeder of chickens was no less a person than Honorius, Emperor of Rome.

('Antonina; or, the Fall of Rome' by Collins)

'Where's my serpent of old Nile? For so he calls me'

('Antony and Cleopatra' by Shakespeare)

The Oracle or Teraph was a human head, cured with spices, which was fixed against the wall, and lamps being lit before it and other rites performed, the imagination of diviners was so excited that they supposed that they heard a low voice speaking future events.

Waterhouse, 1884.

Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses

('Odyssey' by Homer)

Ulysses and the Sirens
('Odyssey' by Homer)

caerulaque induitur velamina perque ferarum

(Metamorphoses, Book XIV by Ovid)

Who would be a

A mermaid fair,

Singing alone,

Combing her hair

('The mermaid' by Tennyson)

So spake she, and our high hearts consented thereto. So then in the daytime she would weave the mighty web, and in the night unravel the same.

('Odyssey' by Homer)

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