Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. IV. The Higher Life
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume IV. The Higher Life.  1904.
VI. Human Experience
The Foolish Virgins
Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892)
From “Idyls of the King: Guinevere”

    THE QUEEN looked up, and said,
“O maiden, if indeed you list to sing,
Sing, and unbind my heart, that I may weep.”
Whereat full willingly sang the little maid:
  “Late, late, so late! and dark the night and chill!        5
Late, late, so late! but we can enter still.
Too late, too late! Ye cannot enter now.
  “No light had we: for that we do repent;
And learning this, the bridegroom will relent.
Too late, too late! Ye cannot enter now.        10
  “No light; so late! and dark and chill the night!
O, let us in, that we may find the light!
Too late, too late! Ye cannot enter now.
  “Have we not heard the bridegroom is so sweet?
O, let us in, though late, to kiss his feet!        15
No, no, too late! Ye cannot enter now.”
  So sang the novice, while full passionately,
Her head upon her hands, wept the sad Queen.

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