Introduction

In this poem, the poet imagines himself as Lord of an imaginary land called Tartary. He describes his life as Tartary’s ruler, as well as all the beautiful sights and scenes in Tartary. The poem is divided into four stanzas. The rhyme scheme of the poem is XaXabbba XcccaaXc XdcdeXeX XfXfdddf, with X standing for the lines that do not end with any rhyming words.

Stanza 1

If I were Lord of Tartary,
Myself and me alone,
My bed should be of ivory,
Of beaten gold my throne;
And in my court should peacocks flaunt,
And in my forests tigers haunt,
And in my pools great fishes slant
Their fins athwart the sun.

The poet says that if he were Lord of Tartary, his bed should be of ivory, and his throne would be made of beaten gold. In his court, peacocks would flaunt their beautiful feathers, and his forests would be haunted by tigers. In his pools great fishes would turn their fins away from the sun. The poet imagines himself as the ruler of an imaginary land called Tartary. He describes the kind of life he wants to live as Lord of Tartary.

Stanza 2

If I were Lord of Tartary,
Trumpeters every day
To every meal would summon me,
And in my courtyard bray;
And in the evening lamps would shine,
Yellow as honey, red as wine,
While harp, and flute, and mandoline,
Made music sweet and gay.

The poet says that if he were Lord of Tartary, he would be summoned to every meal by trumpeters every day. The trumpeters would summon him by making loud sounds with their trumpets in his courtyard. In the evening, lamps would shine and glow as yellow as honey, and as red as wine. At the same time, musical instruments such as the harp, flute and mandolin would make sweet and happy music. The poet continues his imaginative and adventurous description of this land that he imagines himself ruling.

Stanza 3

If I were Lord of Tartary,
I’d wear a robe of beads,
White, and gold, and green they’d be -
And clustered thick as seeds;
And ere should wane the morning-star,
I’d don my robe and scimitar,
And zebras seven should draw my car
Through Tartary’s dark glades.

The poet says that if he were Lord of Tartary, he would wear a robe of beads that were coloured white, gold and green, and clustered thick as seeds. And before the morning star disappeared and dawn broke, he would put on his robe and scimitar (a short sword with a curved blade). Then seven zebras would draw his carriage through the dark valleys of Tartary. The poet describes the fineries and adventures he would want as Tartary’s ruler.

Stanza 4

Lord of the fruits of Tartary,
Her rivers silver-pale!
Lord of the hills of Tartary,
Glen, thicket, wood, and dale!
Her flashing stars, her scented breeze,
Her trembling lake like foamless seas,
Her bird-delighting citron-trees
In every purple vale!

The poet imagines himself as the Lord of the fruits of Tartary and her pale silver rivers. He imagines himself as not only the Lord of the hills of Tartary, but also its bushes, forests and valleys. He talks about Tartary’s flashing stars, its scented breeze, its lakes that look like foamless seas, and its citron-trees that delight birds in every purple valley. The poet describes Tartary and its natural beauty, and asserts that he wants to rule over all of it.

Conclusion

This poem takes us on a beautiful journey through the poet’s imagination. He imagines himself as the ruler of Tartary, and describes the many beautiful things in his imaginary court, and all the adventures he would have. This shows us how the power of imagination can take us to wonderful places.