Exploring The Waste Land
A miscellaneous page linked from The Waste Land, Part II, line 172

Ophelia's death by water
Line 172

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John Everett Millais
Odilon Redon
Millais: Ophelia Redon: Ophelia

An except from act 4, scene 7 of William Shakespeare's Hamlet, Prince of Denmark where Queen Gertrude tells Laertes of his sister Ophelia's death by water.

There is a willow grows aslant a brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream.
There with fantastic garlands did she come
Of crowflowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples,
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do dead men's fingers call them.
There on the pendant boughs her coronet weeds
Clamb'ring to hang, an envious sliver broke,
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up;
Which time she chaunted snatches of old tunes,
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element; but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull'd the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.

Exploring The Waste Land
File name: mq172.html
File date: Sunday, September 29, 2002
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