To one knight whose business in Camelot lay,
Thou knowst not my name, nor my face, and I know not thee, save for the brief impression of thy features that I received to-day whilst thou wert unaware. My name I know not but the people of Camelot have always called me ‘The Lady of Shalott'. I was contained within the tower on the island of Shalott until I saw thy face, and then I had to leave to try to find thee - I know not wherefore. I have been here since I was a child.
I must have been compelled, as the bee is compelled to enter the cups of fine flowers. Was it thy gleaming armour, I wonder, which haunted my mind and inspired me to face the window, out of which I have heard it said I should be doomed to cast my gaze? Was it the sparkling gems which were truly blessed to adorn thy sword hilt and thy horse? Was it not thy possessions but thine own true hair, softer than the wings of butterflies and blacker than the depths of night?
I know not.
When I saw thee, in the mystical fathoms of my magic mirror, I rose from my loom: at which I wove by day and by night: at which I on occasion sang, particularly by the light of the moon; and walked towards my tower window in order that I could see thee more clearly.
Thou took away my interest in the pretty flowers, thou prevented my ponderings on the vast, azure sky, thou stopped me hearing the beautiful songs of the birds and thou made it so that I could only think on thee.
As thou rode away without noticing my regard, distress poured over me, like the icy, streaming ribbons of a waterfall. I knew that I must follow thee.
I turned to see the web that I had devoted my life to weaving hanging ominously in the air, and my magic mirror cracked: a most terrible sight. And I knew at that moment that the curse of which many villagers had spoken was upon me.
I left my tower. I know that I am dying. My last desire is to see thy features once again. I lie in this boat as I travel along the river. My first and last journey. When thou readst this letter, I may be alive or I may be dead.
A storm is raging around me. I disregard it. I disregard all and think to thee.
Thine enchanted, thy compelled by Nature to desert life for thee,
The Lady of Shalott