Alfred Lord Tennyson

(6 August 1809 – 6 October 1892 / Lincoln / England)

The Owl

Poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson

When cats run home and light is come,
And dew is cold upon the ground,
And the far-off stream is dumb,
And the whirring sail goes round,
And the whirring sail goes round;
Alone and warming his five wits,
The white owl in the belfry sits.

When merry milkmaids click the latch,
And rarely smells the new-mown hay,
And the cock hath sung beneath the thatch
Twice or thrice his roundelay,
Twice or thrice his roundelay;
Alone and warming his five wits,
The white owl in the belfry sits.

Comments about The Owl by Alfred Lord Tennyson

  • Hazel Harrison (9/9/2017 4:59:00 PM)

    My uncle learned this as a young boy in school in the 1930's...he can still recite it today. i think that is why it is a special poem for me. Tennyson's words stir my imagination and I can picture these scenes in such vivid detail in my mind's eye.(Report)Reply

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  • Arlene Philips (5/12/2016 6:54:00 AM)

    We learned this at school in the late 1940's and it was sung, but not having musical know how I can't put the notes down, always loved it as it conjured up countryside and a different way of living, to a child living in Glasgow. So glad I've found it.(Report)Reply

    Hazel Harrison(9/9/2017 5:06:00 PM)

    My uncle lived in the Manchester area and learned this in school in the late 1930's..maybe it was on the curriculum for city kids! It did the same thing for stirred a curiosity of the countryside..he became a warden and patrolled a large area of countryside in the Lancashire/Derbyshire area..he still has a great love of the countryside and the animals and can still recite this poem. Nice to hear that you sang it too in Glasgow.

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Read poems about / on: alone, home, light, cat, running

Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004