[These verses parody one of the most popular mid-nineteenth-century poems, one that artists painted many times (see below). These lines have little poetic value. If anything, they show a lack of imagination by turning the original poem’s medievalist fantasy, which Tennyson derived in part of Malory’s tale of Lancelot and Elaine, into the cliché of the fallen woman. For Tennyson, “The Lady of Shallot functions” as fable about the dangers to artists of attempting to immerse themselves into everyday life, just as its companion poem “The Palace of Art” serve as a parable of what happens when an they live isolated from the world and too much in art. — George P. Landow]
After Tennyson’s “Lady of Shalott”
On either side of Market-street
Solid Stalls of vegetables meet
Domestic eyes[?]; and voices sweet
And voices hoarse their hearing greet
With cries of “Buy my fine shalots!
And up and down the million goes;
Gazing where, it varied rows,
Green stuff lies, and each nose knows
The odour of shalots.
Widows cheapes, urchins chatter,
little vagrants make much clatter;
Vulgar boys cry, “Who’s your hatter?”
And this time, the night of Satur-
Day’s the joy of all the sots.
Bright blue eyes, lips like the cherry,
Rosy cheeks, that ringlets bury,
Had an Irish girl, from Derry,
A girl who sold shalots!
To the market, pen a and bean?
Heavy lumbering machines
Bring thrice a veok, also greens;
And 'tis prime ’un to watch the scenes
At the biddings for the lots.
But who hath seen her buy her stock
Of onions, or white-headed broc-
Oli, before four of the clock,
That girl who sells shalots ?
Only peelers, walking early
(One there is a great, big, burly
Fellow, who is always surly,
And wouldn't even let a cur lie
Down in some sheltered corner spots);
Or, by the dawn, some loose young city
Cleric, home reading, hears the ditty
She oft sings — says, “’Tis that pretty
Girl who sells shalots.”
(A change comes o’er the spirit of the O[nion]. G[irl].)
Now she flaunts by night or day,
In gorgeous dress and and ribbons gay;
Conscience oflai whispers “nay!”
But love of finery cries "yea.”
Calling Conscience “horrid rot!”
She knows not what the end may be,
And so she hath a “jolly spree,”
But little other care hath she—
That girl who sold shalots!
And now, before a mirror clear.
She learns each wily glance and leer ;
Then puts an earring in each ear,
And donning some fast, flashy gear.
Starts for some den that London blots.
There the vicious eddy whirls;
And there is vice in gold and pearls;
And tbere are jewelled, wretched girls,
Who’d scorn to sell shalots !
Sometimes a trmp of swells — drunk — mad
(Who’d call a sober man a cad) —
Bring in a very verdant lad,
And teach him everything that's bad,
And slain his soul with cank’ring spots.
And there she sits, with eyes so blue,
Loudly and lightly chatted to;
Oh! she was brighter, happier too,
When she cried, “Fine shalots!”
For she must suffer many slights —
May never more know home’s delights—
Can scarcely claim a woman's rights;
Must writhe beneath the scorn that blights
Such cheerless, weary, dreary lots
And dies, at last, by some road-side;
Or, urged by sin’s despairing pride,
She sinks beneath the murky tide —
That girl who sold shalots!
Last modified 22 February 2016