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The Lady of Shalott

The Lady of Shalott

by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Part 4, Lines 154-171 Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Lines 154-158

Under tower and balcony,
By garden-wall and gallery,
A gleaming shape she floated by,
Dead-pale between the houses high,
Silent into Camelot.

  • Now, at last, we enter the city of Camelot that we've heard so much about.
  • The lady floats by the towers, the gardens, and the houses of the town. She is described as a "gleaming shape," completely pale and cold. She is also silent; her song is over at last.
  • The images in this last part of the poem are simple and clear, and that's part of their power.

Lines 159-162

Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and burgher, lord and dame,
And round the prow they read her name,
The Lady of Shalott.

  • Everyone in the town comes out to see this sight. The people the speaker mentions are wealthy, noble people (a "burgher" was a wealthy man in a medieval town, usually a merchant or a businessman). They all crowd around by the river's edge and read the name written on the front of the boat.

Lines 163-167

Who is this? and what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they crossed themselves for fear,
All the knights at Camelot:

  • They have a lot of question about this mysterious sight. Who and what is this? It's a disturbing sight, and as the word gets out a party in the castle nearby quiets down. It's scary enough that even the famously brave knights of Camelot make the sign of the cross for protection.

Lines 168-171

But Lancelot mused a little space;
He said, "She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
The Lady of Shalott."

  • The poem closes with Lancelot's reaction to what he sees. He stops and thinks for a moment, and then declares that the lady is pretty. He also says a little prayer for her, hoping that God will have mercy and protect her now that she's passed on.
  • This probably wasn't the meeting with Lancelot that the Lady was hoping for. In the end, he comes too late, and she

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