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Vocabulary in The Lady of Shalott

Vocabulary Examples in The Lady of Shalott:

Text of the Poem

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"And from his blazoned baldric slung A mighty silver bugle hung, ..."   (Text of the Poem)

A baldric is a type of belt that is worn over the shoulder. Baldrics often carry weapons but they can also hold bugles or horns, as Lancelot’s does. A “blazoned” object is one that is marked with an emblem or crest that states whom it belongs to. This stanza associates Lancelot with sound, including the bells on his horse, his “ringing armor,” and the silver bugle, or horn, he is carrying. His approach is loud and musical, breaking the peace of the “silent isle.”

"if she stay..."   (Text of the Poem)

In this case, the verb “stay” means to stop or delay doing something. If the Lady stops weaving in order to look out at Camelot, the unknown curse will activate. Readers are not told what the terms of the curse are and the Lady herself does not even know where it came from. The lack of detail allows the conflict of the story to be contained within the Lady herself. She is the one who must make the choice between continuing her lonely existence or taking a risk and claiming a moment of freedom.

"the silent isle imbowers..."   (Text of the Poem)

“Imbower” is the archaic form of the word “embower,” which means to enclose or surround something. The image of a lady locked away in a castle or tower has strong ties to the tradition of medieval romances and usually portends the coming of a rescuer. Here, the Lady of Shalott is enclosed within the grey walls and towers on the silent island of Shalott, isolated from lively Camelot and human contact. Images of isolation recur throughout the poem, serving to emphasize the loneliness of the Lady and characterize her situation.

"pad..."   (Text of the Poem)

The noun “pad” derives from “padnag” and refers to an old, slow horse. Tennyson’s description of the road to Camelot includes people of all ages and from all walks of life, filtered through a lens of romantic idealization.

"shallop..."   (Text of the Poem)

A “shallop” is a small sailboat that can be both masted and oared. Though relatively small, shallops are associated with coastal exploration. In conjunction with the barges previously mentioned, these coastal vessels characterize the river as a large and bustling avenue for commerce, further emphasizing the divide between Lady and the rest of the world.

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