Please describe the following lines from "The Lady of Shallot" in detail.
On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And through the field the road run by
To many-tower'd Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
The island of Shalott.
Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Through the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river Flowing down to Camelot.
Four grey walls, and four grey towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
The Lady of Shalott.
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You have quoted the first two stanzas of this excellent and famous poem. You will want to think of the function of these two stanzas. What do they achieve? How do they introduce the poem and its central concepts and ideas? In particular, note the way that both stanzas introduce a contrast between the world of Camelot and the secluded island of Shalott. For example, in the first stanza, the majesty of "many-towered Camelot" contrasts with the rural setting and the separate island of Shalott. In the second stanza, this contrast is heightened in the way that lines 10-14 suggest a setting alive with colour and movement with reference to the "Little breezes" that "dusk and shiver." In contrast to this, note how lines 15-18 suggest drabness and silence with the repetition of "grey" in the description of the island of Shalott and how it keeps the Lady of Shalott "imbowered" in her own separate world that is distant from the movement, colour and activity of the outside world. Thus, we could argue that these two opening stanzas are important in the way that they present the division between the world of Camelot and real life, and then the world of the Lady of Shalott and that of art. This is a conflict that characterises the entire poem.
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