Drawing from literature: Tennyson’s Maud


Small rose4


I’ve had these lines from Tennyson’s Maud stuck in my head all week:

Come into the garden, Maud,
For the black bat, night, has flown,
Come into the garden, Maud,
I am here at the gate alone;
And the woodbine spices are wafted abroad,
And the musk of the roses blown. (XXII, 850-855)

It’s funny, because I haven’t been reading any Tennyson lately, but it must have something to do with the incredibly memorable second line.

Since I’ve been meaning to attempt some illustrations for a while, and since I’m almost completely free at the moment (we’re on a uni break, and I don’t start work until this weekend), I decided to sketch something based on this stanza.

I opted against the garden (line one) – I’m not sure I have the patience or skill required to draw an entire landscape – and the metaphorical bat (line two) – for reasons you can probably guess – and eventually settled on the roses (line six): arguably one of the most hackneyed images in art and literature, but for good reason.

So I guess I haven’t really illustrated Maud at all – certainly not in any identifiable way – but the anonymous photograph I found online was just too good to pass up as a reference.

If you’re interested, you can read more of Tennyson’s poem here (part XXII) and here (full).


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