The Lady of Shalott

File:John William Waterhouse The Lady of Shalott.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

John William Waterhouse’s”The Lady of Shalott” from 1888.

This painting illustrates Alfred Tennyson’s poem The Lady of Shalott. Draped over the boat is the fabric the lady wove in a tower near Camelot. But she brought a curse on herself by looking directly at Sir Lancelot. With her right hand she lets go of the chain mooring the boat. Her mouth is slightly open, as she sings ‘her last song’. She stares at a crucifix lying in front of her. Beside it are three candles, often used to symbolise life. Two have blown out. This suggests her life will end soon, as she floats down the river.

The poem in English and Greek (my translation) From part IV of Tennyson’s poem:

And down the river’s dim expanse

Like some bold seer in a trance,

Seeing all his own mischance

With 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


Και κάτω στου ποταμού τη θολή την έκταση

Σαν μάντης άφοβος σε πλήρη έκσταση,

τελειώνοντας των αναποδιών τη μέτρηση

Με όψη και ματιά ανέκφραστη

Στράφηκε εκείνη το Κάμελοτ να δει.

Και σαν πήρε η μέρα ν’ αποσώνει

Την αλυσίδα πετάει, κάτω ξαπλώνει·

Το ρεύμα ορμητικό μακριά την διώχνει

Του Σαλότ την κυρά.

© Translated by Greg Greggan Kondylis / Γρηγόρης Κονδύλης

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