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The Lady of Shalott

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Wade Hampton III

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The Lady of Shalott

PostSat Oct 07, 2017 6:40 pm

“The Lady of Shalott” by John William Waterhouse, 1888

Based on a ballad by Tennyson, the painting depicts the ill-fated Lady
of Shalott as she embarks on what will be her only and final journey,
down to Camelot.

“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.”

Something about this Pre-Raphaelite painting has resonated with me since
the moment I first laid eyes on it. The Lady, cursed to live isolated in
an island tower, weaving a magic web, and partaking of life only through
the shadows in her mirror. Then one day she sees the reflection of Sir
Lancelot and for the first time, her heart filled with love, she looks
out of her window at him. The mirror cracks, the curse is upon her, and
knowing her demise is imminent, she sets sail down the river, perishing
in sleep as she lay, the ultimate sacrifice. It is exquisitely tragic,
hauntingly beautiful, and incredibly depressing simultaneously. Perhaps
that is because I find I relate to her so very much.

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