The poem is a great metaphor for modern life. A lady has a curse on her which means she can never look directly out of the window of her tower down onto Camelot, she must instead slave away a tapestry painting of it, only surveying the scene via a reflection in a mirror.
She left the web, she left the loom
She made three paces thro’ the room
She saw the water-flower bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She look’d down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack’d from side to side;
‘The curse is come upon me,’ cried
The Lady of Shalott.