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Come Into the Garden, Maud

A poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, first appearing in his 1855 Maud and Other Poems. — Webster, 1882

note Laura tried to read again her favorite of Tennyson’s poems… but she could not sit still. – Little Town on the Prairie (Chapter 20, “The Birthday Party”)

In Little Town on the Prairie (Chapter 12, “Snug for Winter”), Laura Ingalls finds a copy of Tennyson’s Poems hidden in Ma’s bureau drawer. Laura reads a portion of the poem “The Lotus Eaters” before realizing the book must have been hidden there as a Christmas present for her. She keeps the secret, and later receives the book as a gift (see Chapter 19, “The Whirl of Gaiety”).

While waiting for Mary Power to come by to walk to Ben Woodworth’s birthday party with her, Laura Ingalls tried to overcome her restlessness by reading one of her favorite Tennyson poems. “Maud” is a quite lengthy poem of twenty-two parts; the verses used in Little Town on the Prairie (Chapter 20, “The Birthday Party”) begin Part XXII. It first appeared in Tennyson’s 1855 volume: Maud, and Other Poems; it was also included in The Poetical Works of Alfred Tennyson, published in both one- and two-volume editions by various publishers. The navigation button is the illustration for “Come into the garden, Maud” from Lord Tennyson’s Maud (Boston: James R. Osgood & Co., 1877), 63.

by Alfred, Lord Tennyson


Come into the garden, Maud,
For the black bat, night, has flown,
Come into the garden, Maud,
I am here at the gate alone;
And the woodbine spices are wafted abroad,
And the musk of the rose is blown.

For a breeze of morning moves,
And the planet of Love is on high,
Beginning to faint in the light that she loves
On a bed of daffodil sky,
To faint in the light of the sun she loves,
To faint in his light, and to die.

All night have the roses heard
The flute, violin, bassoon;
All night has the casement jessamine stirr’d
To the dancers dancing in tune;
Till silence fell with the waking bird,
And a hush with the setting moon.

I said to the lily, “There is but one
With whom she has heart to be gay.
When will the dancers leave her alone?
She is weary of dance and play.”
Now half to the setting moon are gone,
And half to the rising day;
Low on the sand and loud on the stone
The last wheel echoes away.

I said to the rose, “The brief night goes
In babble and revel and wine.
O young lord-lover, what sighs are those,
For one that will never be thine?
But mine, but mine,” I swear to the rose,
“For ever and ever, mine.”

And the soul of the rose went into my blood,
As the music clash’d in the hall:
And long by the garden lake I stood,
For I heard your rivulet fall
From the lake to the meadow and on to the wood,
Our wood, that is dearer than all;

From the meadow your walks have left so sweet
That whenever a March-wind sighs
He sets the jewel-print of your feet
In violets blue as your eyes,
To the woody hollows in which we meet
And the valleys of Paradise.

The slender acacia would not shake
One long milk-bloom on the tree;
The white lake-blossom fell into the lake
As the pimpernel doz’d on the lea;
But the rose was awake all night for your sake,
Knowing your promise to me;
The lilies and roses were all awake,
They sigh’d for the dawn and thee.

Queen rose of the rosebud garden of girls,
Come hither, the dances are done,
In gloss of satin and glimmer of pearls,
Queen lily and rose in one;
Shine out, little head, sunning over with curls,
To the flowers, and be their sun.

There has fallen a splendid tear
From the passion-flower at the gate.
She is coming, my dove, my dear;
She is coming, my life, my fate;
The red rose cries, “She is near, she is near;”
And the white rose weeps, “She is late;”
The larkspur listens, “I hear, I hear;”
And the lily whispers, “I wait.”

She is coming, my own, my sweet;
Were it ever so airy a tread,
My heart would hear her and beat,
Were it earth in an earthy bed;
My dust would hear her and beat,
Had I lain for a century dead;
Would start and tremble under her feet,
And blossom in purple and red.


“Come into the garden, Maud” (LTP 20), see also Tennyson’s Poems