« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
And thro' the moss the ivi:s creep,
his life was easily imagined to be a And in the stream the long-leaved flowers beautiful dream, as sweet as those which
weep, And from the craggy ledge the poppy hangs
he had pictured. in sleep. ...
Yet the men who looked closer saw Lo! in the middle of the wood,
that there was a fire of passion under The folded leaf is woo'd from out the bud
this smooth surface. A genuine poetic With winds upon the branch, and there temperament never fails in this. It Grows green and broad, and takes no care, feels too acutely to be at peace. When Sun-teep'd at noon, and in the moon Nightly dew-fed ; and turning yellow
we quiver at the least touch, we shake Falls, and Loats adown the air.
and tremble under great shocks. Al. Lol sweeten'd with the summer light, ready here and there, in his pictures of The full-juiced apple, waxing over mellow
country and love, a brilliant verse broke Drops in a silent autumn night. All its allotted iength of days,
with its glowing color through the The flower ripens in its place,
calm and correct outline. He had Ripens and fades, and falls, and hath no toil, felt that strange growth of unknown Fast-rooted in the fruitful soil. ...
powers which suddenly arrest a man But, propt on beds of amaranth and moly, with fixed gaze before revealed beauty. How sweet (while warm airs lull us, blowing The specialty of the poet is to be ever
lowly), With half-dropt eyelids still,
young, forever virgin. For us, the Beneath a heaven dark and holy.
vulgar, things are threadbare; sixty To watch the long bright river drawing centuries of civilization have worn out slowly
their primitive freshness; things have His waters from the purple hillTo hear the dewy echoes calling
become commonplace; we perceive From cave to cave thro’ the thick-twined them only through a veil of ready-made vine
phrases ; we employ them, we no longer To watch the emerald-rolour'd water falling
comprehend them; we see in them no Thro' many a wov'n acanthus-wreath divine ! Only to hear and see the far-off sparkling longer, magnificent flowers, but good brine,
vegetables ; the luxuriant primeval Only to hear were sweet, stretch'd ont be forest is to us nothing but a well-planned neath the pine." *
and too well-known kitchen garden
On the other hand, the poet, in III.
presence of this world, is as the first
man on the first day. In a moment Was this charming dreamer simply our phrases, our reasonings, all the a dilettante ? Men liked to consider trappings of memory and prejudice, him so; he seemed too happy to admit vanish from his mind; things seem new violent passions. Fame came to him to him; he is astonished and ravished; easily and quickly, at the age of thirty. a headlong stream of sensations op The Queen had justified the public presses him; it is the all-potent sap of favor by creating him Poet Laureate. A human invention, which, checked in us, great writer declared him a more gen begins to flow in him. Fools call him uine poet than Lord Byron, and main. mad, but in truth he is a seer : for we tained that nothing so perfect had may indeed be sluggish, but nature is been seen since Shakspeare. The always full of life; the rising sun is as student, at Oxford, put Tennyson's beautiful as on the first dawn; the works between an annotated Euripides streaming floods, the teeming flowers, and a handbook of scholastic philoso- the trembling passions, the forces which phy. Young ladies found him amongst hurl onward the stormy whirlwind of their marriage presents. He was said existence, aspire and strive with the to be rich, venerated by his family, same energy as at their birth; the im adınired by his friends, amiable, with mortal heart of nature beats yet, heav out affectation, even unsophisticated. ing its coarse trappings, and its beatHe lived in the country, chiefly in the ir.gs work in the poet's heart when Isle of Wight, amongst books and they no longer echo in our own. Ten flowers, free from the annoyances, nyson felt this, not indeed always; but rivalries, and burdens of society, and twice or thrice at least he has dared to
• Poems by A. Tennyson, 7th ed. 1851; The make it heard. We have found anew Lotus-Ester's, 140
| the free action of full emotion, and
recognized the voice of a man in these What is this? W's eyes are heavy : think not verses of Locksley Hall :
they are gla sed with wine.
Go to him : it is thy duty: kiss him : take his " Then her cheek was pale and thinner than
hand in thine,
It may be my lord is weary, that his brain is observance hung.
Soothe him with thy fi ser fancies, touch him And I said, 'My cousin Amy, speak, and
with thy lighter thc ught. speak the truth to me,
He will answer to the purpose, easy things to Trusi me, cousin, all the current of my being
understand sets to thec.
Better thou wert dead before me, tho' I slev
colbar and a light,
This is very frank and strong. Massa northern night.
appeared, and was still more so. In it And she turn-her bosom shaken with a
the rapture broke forth with all its insudden storm of sighs
equalities, familiarities, freedom, vioAll the spirit deeply dawning in the dark of lence. Th; correct, measured poct hazel eyes
betrayed himself, for he seemed to Saying, 'I have hid my feelings, fearing they think and weep aloud. This book is should do me wrong;
the diary of a gloomy young mer. Saying, "Dost thou love me, cousin ?' weep. soured by great family misfortunes, by ing, ‘ I have loved thee long.'
long solita-y meditations, who gradually Love took up the glass of Time, and turn'd became enamored, dared to speak, it in his glowing hands ;
found himself loved. He does not sing, Every moment, lightly shaken, ran itself in golden sands.
but speaks ; they are the hazarded, reck
less words of ordinary conversation; Love took up the harp of Life, and smote on all the chords with might;
details of everyday life; the description Smote the chord of Sell, that, trembling, of a toilet, a political dinner, a service pass'd in music out of sight.
and a sermon in a village church. The Many a morning on the moorland did we hear prose of Dickens and Thackeray did the copses ring,
not more firmly grasp real and actual And her whisper throng'd my pulses with the manners. And by its side, most splenfulness of the Spring.
did poetry abounded and blossomed, Many an evening by the waters did we watch as in fact it blossoms and abounds in the stately ships,
the midst of our commonplaces. The And our spirits rush'd together at the touch-smile of a richly-dressed girl, a sunbeam ing of the lips.
a stormy sea, or on a spray of O my cousin, shallow-hearted! O my Amy, roses,
throws all at
these mine no more ! O the dreary, dreary moorland! O the bar- sudden illuminations into impassioned ren, barren shore !
souls. What verses
are these, in
which he represents himself in his Falser than all fancy fashoms, falser than alt songs have sung,
dark little garden: Pappet to a father's threat, and servile to a “ A million emeralds break from the ruby-budshrewish tongue :
ded lime ls it well to wish thee happy ?-having known
In the little grove where I sit-ah, wherefore
cannot I be me-to decline
Like things of the season gay, like the bour De a range of lower feelings and a narrower
tiful season bland, heart than mine!
When the far-off sail'is blown by the breeza
of a softer clime, Yet it shad be: thou shalt lower to his level
Half lost in the liquíd azure bloom of a creen day by day,
cent of sea,
The silent sapphire-spangled marriage ring
of the land?" 1
What a holiday in his heart when he ia And the grossness of his nature will have loved! What madness in these cries, weight to drag thee down.
that intoxication, that tenderness which He will hold thee, when his passion shall would pour itself on all, and summon have spent its novel force,
• Poems by A. Tennyson, 7th ed. 1891; Something better than his dog, a little dearer Locksley Hall
, 266. than is horse.
† Tennyson's Maud, 1856, iv. I, p. 4
all to the spectacle and the participa
" And I stood on a giant deck and mix'd my
breath tion of his happiness ! How all is
With a loyal people sl outing a battle cry... transfigured in his eyes; and how con
Yet God's just wrath shall be wreak'd on a stantly he is himself transfigured ! giant liar; Gayety, then ecstasy, then archness, And many a darkness into the ligh shall leap, then satire, then disclosures, all ready
And shine in the sudden making of splendid
names, movements, all sudden changes, like a And noble thought be freer under the sun, crackling and Aaming fire, rerewing And the heart of a peor le beat with one de every moment its shape and color: how rich is the soul, and how it can
For the peace, that I deem'd no peace,
over and done, live a hundred years in a day! The And now by the side of the Black and to bero of the poem, surprised and in
Baltic deep, sulted by the brother of Maud, kills
And deathful-grinning inouths of the forties
flames him in a duel, and loses her whom he The blood-red blossom of war with a heart of loved. He flees; he is seen wandering in London. What a gloomy contrast This explosion of feeling was the only is that of the great busy careless town, one; Tennyson has not again encoun and a solitary man haunted by true tered it. In spite of the moral close. griei! We follow him down the noisy men said of Maud that he was imitat thoroughfares, through the yellow
fog, ing Byron ; they cried out against these under the wan sun which rises above bitter declamations; they thought tha! the river like a “dull red ball," and we hear the heart full of anguish, deep the Satanic school ; they blamed this
they perceived the rebellious accent of sobs, insensate agitation of a soul which would but cannot tear itself from its
uneven, obscure, excessive style; they
were shocked at these crudities and memories. Despair grows, and in the incongruities; they called on the poe! end the reverie becomes a vision :
to return to his first well-proportioned “ Dead, long dead,
style. He was discouraged, left the Long dead
storm clouds, and returned to the And my heart is a handful of dust,
azure sky. He was right; he is better And the wheels go over my head,
there than anywhere else. A fine soul And my bones are shaken with pain, For into a shallow grave they are thrust,
may be transported, attain at times to Only a yard beneath the street,
the fire of the most violent and the And the hoofs of the horses beat, beat, strongest beings: personal memories The hoofs of the horses beat,
they say, had furnished the matter of Beat into my scalp and my brain, With never an end to the stream of passing Maud and of Locksley Hall; with a feet,
woman's delicacy, he had the nerves Driving, hurrying, marrying, burying, of a woman. The fit over, he fell Clamour and rumble, and ringing and clat- again into his golden languors,” into O mel why have they not buried me deep he wrote the Princess ; after Maud the
his calm reverie. After Lockscy Hali enough? Is it kind to have made me a grave so rough, Idylls of the King. Me, that was never a quiet sleeper? Maybe still I am but half-dead; Then I cannot be wholly dumb;
IV. I will cry to the steps above my head, The great task of an artist is to find And somebody, surely, some kind heart will subjects which suit his talent Tenny To bury me, bury me
son has not always succeeded in this Deeper, ever so little deeper." +
His long poem, In Memoriam, written
in praise and memory of a friend who However, he revives, and gradually died young, is cold, monotonous, and rises again. War breaks out, a liberal | too prettily arranged. He goes into and generous war, the war against Rus- mourning i but, like a correct gentle. sia; and the big, manly heart, wounded man, with bran new gloves, wipes away by deep love, is healed by action and his tears with a cambric handkerchie, courage.
and displays throughout the religious
service, which ends the ceremony, al • Tennyson's Maud, 1856. xxvii. ', p. 99. * Ibid. vii. 11, p. 105.
• Ibid. xxviii. 3 and 4. p. 108.
the compunction of a respectful and there is in them a sort of rustle of joy well-trained layman. He was to find anger, desire; they live more than we. his subjects elsewhere. To be poeti- more warmly and more quickly. They *cally happy is the object of a dilettante are ever in excess, refined, ready to artist. For this many things are neces. weep, laugh, adore, jest, inclined to sary. First of all, that the place, the mingle adoration and jests, urged by a events, and the characters shall not nervous rapture to opposite extremes. exist. Realities are coarse, and always, They sally in the poetic field with imin some sense, ugly; at least they are petuous ind ever changing caprice and be avy; we do not treat them as we joy. T satisfy the subtlety and super should like, they oppress the fancy; at abundance of their invention, they need bottom there is nothing truly sweet and fairy-tales and masquerades. In fact, beautiful in our life but our dreams. the Princess is both. The beautiful We are ill at ease whilst we remain Ida, daughter of King Gama, who is glued to earth, hobbling along on our monarch of the South (this country is two feet, which drag us wretchedly not to be found on the map), was here and there in the place which im- affianced in her childhood to a honautipounds us. We need to live in an- ful prince of the North. When the other world, to hover in the wide-air time appointed has arrived, she is kingdom, to build palaces in the clouds, claimed. She, proud and bred on to see them rise and crumble, to follow learned arguments, has become irritated in a hazy distance the whims of their against the rule of men, and in order moving architecture, and the turns of to liberate women has founded a unitheir golden volutes. In this fantastic versity on the frontiers, which is to world, again, all must be pleasant and raise her sex, and to be the colony of beautiful, the heart and senses must future equality. The prince sets out enjoy it, objects must be smiling or with Cyril and Florian, two friends, picturesque, sentiments delicate or obtains permission from good King lofty; no crudity, incongruity, brutal. Gama, and, disguised as a girl, gets ad. ity, savageness, must come to sully mission to the maiden precincts, which with its excess the modulated harmony no man may enter on pain of death. of this ideal perfection. This leads There is a charming and sportive grace the poet to the legends of chivalry. in this picture of a university for girls. Here is the fantastic world, splendid to The poet gambols with beauty; no the sight, noble and specially pure, in badinage could be more romantic or which love, war, adventures, generosity, tender. We smile to hear long learned courtesy, all spectacles and all virtues words come from these rosy lips : which suit the instincts of our Euro “There sat along the forms, like morning pean races, are assembled, to furnish them with the epic which they love, That sun their milky bosoms on the thatch, and the model which suits them.
A patient range of pupils." + The Princess is a fairy tale as senti- | They listen to historic dissertations mental as those of Shakspeare. Ten and promises of a social revolution, in nyson here thought and felt like a
“ Acadernic silk; in hue the lilac, with young knight of the Renaissance. The la silken nood te cach, and zoned with mark of this kind of mind is a super gold; . as rich as moth from dusk abundance, as it were, a superfluity of cocoons. Amongst these girls was sap. In the characters of the Princess, Melissa, a childas in those of As You Like It, there is an over-fulness of fancy and emotion.
" A rosy blonde, and in a college gown
That clad her like an April daffodilly They have recourse, to express their (Her mother's colour), with her lips apart, thought, to all ages and lands; they And all her thoughts as fair within her eyes, carry speech to the most reckless rash- As bottom agates seem to wave and float
In.crystal currents of clear morning seas." | ness; they clothe and burden every idea with a sparkling image, which The site of his university for girls en. drags and glitters around it like a bro hances the magic of the scene. The cade clustered with jewels. Their
* The Princess, . Meley, rath ed. 1864, ü nature is over-rich; at every shock
* Ibid. i. 46.
words“ Coliege ” and “Faculty ” bring her foot slips, and she falls into the before the mind of Frenchmen only river ; the prince saves her, and wishes wretched and dirty buildings, which we to flee. But he is seized by the Procmight mistake for barracks or board- tors and brought before the throne, ing-houses. Here, as in an English where the haughty maiden stands ready university, flowers creep up the porches, to pronounce sentence. At this mo vines cling round the bases of the mon- ment uments, roses strew the alleys with their
There rose petals; the laurel thickets grow around A hubbub in the court of half the maids the gates, the courts pile up their mar. Gather'd together : from the illumined hall ble architecture, bossed with sculp- of snowy shoulders, thick as herded ewes,
Long lanes of splendour slanted o'er a press tured friezes, varied with urns from And rainbow robes, and gems and gemlike eyes which droops the green pendage of the And gold and golden heads; they to and fro plants. “ The Muses and the Graces, Fluctuated, as flowers in storm, some red, some group'd in threes, enring’d a billowing All open-mouth'd, all gazing to the light,
pale, fountain in the midst.” After the lec- Some crying there was an army in the land, ture, some girls, in the deep meadow And some that men were in the very walls, grass,
And some they cared not ; till a clamour grew smoothed a petted peacock
As of a new-world Babel, woman-built, down ;” others,
And worse-confounded : high above them stood “Leaning there on those balusters, high The placid marble Muses, looking peace." Above the empurpled champaign, drank the gale
The father of the prince has come with That blown about the foliage underneath, his army to deliver him, and has seized And sated with the innumerable rose
King Gama as a hostage. The prinBeat balm upon our eyelids.” *
cess is obliged to release the young - At every gesture, every attitude, we With distended nostrils, waving recognize young English girls ; it is hair, a tempest raging in her heart, she their brightness, their freshness, their thanks him with bitter irony. She innocence. And here and there, too, trembles with wounded pride ; she we perceive the deep expression of stammers, hesitates; she tries to contheir large dreamy eyes :
strain herself in order the better to in.
sult him, and suddenly breaks out ; “ Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair " . You have done well and like a gentleman, Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes, And like a prince : you have our thanks for In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,
all : And thinking of the days that are no more... And you look well too in your woman's
dress : Dear as remember'd kisses after death, And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feign'd
Well have you done and like a gentlemao.
You saved our life: we owe you bitter thanks: On lips that are for others; deep as love,
Better have died and spilt our bones in the Deep as first love, and wild with all regret
foodO Death in Life, the days that are no more."
Then men had said-but nowWhat hinden This is an exquisite and strange volup
To take such bloody vengeance on you tuousness, "a reverie full of delight, and both full, too, of anguish, the shudder of Yet since our father-Wasps in our good delicate and melancholy passion which
hive, we have already found in Winter's
You would-be quenchers of the light to be,
Barbarians, grosser than your native bear Tale or in Twelfth Night.
O would I had his sceptre for one hour! The three friends have gone forth You that have dared to break our bound, and with the princess and her train, all on gullid horseback, and pause near a coppice
Our servants, wronged and lied and thwarted feather'd chasm,'
I wed with thee! I bound by precontract " till the Sun
Your bride, your bondslave not tho' all the Grew broader toward his death and fell, and all gold The rosy heights came out above the lawns." That veins the world were pack'd to make
your crown, Cyril, heated by wine, begins to troll a And every spoken tongue should kurd you careless tavern-catch, and betrays the Sir,
Your falsehood and yourself are batetul to w secret. Ida, indignant, turns to leave;
I trample on your offers and on you : * The Princess, a Medley mouse ed.,6864, iü.
• Ibid. iv. 99.