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And thro' the moss the ivies creep,
And in the stream the long-leaved flowers


And from the craggy ledge the poppy hangs in sleep.


Lo! in the middle of the wood,

The folded leaf is woo'd from out the bud
With winds upon the branch, and there
Grows green and broad, and takes no care,
Sun-steep'd at noon, and in the moon
Nightly dew-fed ; and turning yellow
Falls, and foats adown the air.
Lo! sweeten'd with the summer light,
The full-juiced apple, waxing over mellow
Drops in a silent autumn night.
All its allotted iength of days,
The fewer ripens in its place,

his life was easily imagined to be beautiful dream, as sweet as those which he had pictured.

Yet the men who looked closer saw that there was a fire of passion under this smooth surface. A genuine poetic temperament never fails in this. It feels too acutely to be at peace. When we quiver at the least touch, we shake and tremble under great shocks. Al ready here and there, in his pictures of country and love, a brilliant verse broke with its glowing color through the 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.


But, propt on beds of amaranth and moly,
How sweet (while warm airs lull us, blowing

With half-dropt eyelids still,
Beneath a heaven dark and holy.

powers which suddenly arrest a mar with fixed gaze before revealed beauty. The specialty of the poet is to be ever young, forever virgin. For us, the vulgar, things are threadbare; sixty

To watch the long bright river drawing centuries of civilization have worn out


His waters from the purple hill-
To hear the dewy echoes calling
From cave to cave thro' the thick-twined


To watch the emerald-olour'd water falling
Thro' many a wov'n acanthus-wreath divine!
Only to hear and see the far-off sparkling

Only to hear were sweet, stretch'd out be-
neath the pine." *


Was this charming dreamer simply a dilettante? Men liked to consider him so; he seemed too happy to admit violent passions. Fame came to him easily and quickly, at the age of thirty. The Queen had justified the public favor by creating him Poet Laureate. A great writer declared him a more genuine poet than Lord Byron, and maintained that nothing so perfect had been seen since Shakspeare. The student, at Oxford, put Tennyson's works between an annotated Euripides and a handbook of scholastic philosophy. Young ladies found him amongst their marriage presents. He was said to be rich, venerated by his family, admired by his friends, amiable, without affectation, even unsophisticated. He lived in the country, chiefly in the Isle of Wight, amongst books and flowers, free from the annoyances, rivalries, and burdens of society, and

Poems by A. Tennyson, 7th ed. 1851; The

Lotus-Eaters, 140.

their primitive freshness; things have become commonplace; we perceive them only through a veil of ready-made phrases; we employ them, we no longer comprehend them; we see in them no longer magnificent flowers, but good vegetables; the luxuriant primeval forest is to us nothing but a well-planned and too well-known kitchen garden On the other hand, the poet, in presence of this world, is as the first man on the first day. In a moment our phrases, our reasonings, all the trappings of memory and prejudice, vanish from his mind; things seem new to him; he is astonished and ravished; a headlong stream of sensations op presses him; it is the all-potent sap of human invention, which, checked in us, begins to flow in him. Fools call him mad, but in truth he is a seer: for we may indeed be sluggish, but nature is always full of life; the rising sun is as beautiful as on the first dawn; the streaming floods, the teeming flowers, the trembling passions, the forces which hurl onward the stormy whirlwind of existence, aspire and strive with the same energy as at their birth; the im mortal heart of nature beats yet, heav ing its coarse trappings, and its beatir.gs work in the poet's heart when they no longer echo in our own. Ten nyson felt this, not indeed always; but twice or thrice at least he has dared to make it heard. We have found anew the free action of full emotion, and

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her bosom shaken with a sudden storm of sighs—

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This is very frank and strong.
appeared, and was still more so.
the rapture broke forth with all its in-
equalities, familiarities, freedom, vio-

All the spirit deeply dawning in the dark of lence. The correct, measured poet

hazel eyes

Saying, I have hid my feelings, fearing they should do me wrong;

Saying, Dost thou love me, cousin?' weep
ing, I have loved thee long.'

Love took up the glass of Time, and turn'd
it in his glowing hands;
Every moment, lightly shaken, ran itself in
golden sands.

Love took up the harp of Life, and smote on
all the chords with might;
Smote the chord of Self, that, trembling,
pass'd in music out of sight.

Many a morning on the moorland did we hear

the copses ring,

And her whisper throng'd my pulses with the fulness of the Spring.

Many an evening by the waters did we watch the stately ships,

betraved himself, for he seemed to
This book is
think and weep aloud.
the diary of a gloomy young mar
soured by great family misfortunes, by
long solitary meditations, who gradually
became enamored, dared to speak,
found himself loved. He does not sing,
but speaks; they are the hazarded, reck-
less words of ordinary conversation;
details of everyday life; the description
of a toilet, a political dinner, a service
and a sermon in a village church. The
prose of Dickens and Thackeray did
not more firmly grasp real and actual
manners. And by its side, most splen-
did poetry abounded and blossomed,
as in fact it blossoms and abounds in
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.

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on a stormy sea, or on a spray of roses, throws all at once these sudden illuminations into impassioned souls. What verses are these, in which he represents himself in his dark little garden :

"A million emeralds break from the ruby-budded lime

In the little grove where I sit-ah, wherefore cannot I be

Like things of the season gay, like the bountiful season bland,

When the far-off sail is blown by the breeza of a softer clime,

Half lost in the liquid azure bloom of a crescent of sea,

The silent sapphire-spangled marriage ring of the land?"+

What a holiday in his heart when he is loved! What madness in these cries, that intoxication, that tenderness which would pour itself on all, and summon

Poems by A. Tennyson, 7th ed. 1881 ; Locksley Hall, 266. + Tennyson's Maud, 1856, iv. 1, p. 13

all to the spectacle and the participation of his happiness! How all is transfigured in his eyes; and how constantly he is himself transfigured! Gayety, then ecstasy, then archness, then satire, then disclosures, all ready movements, all sudden changes, like a crackling and flaming fire, rerewing every moment its shape and color: how rich is the soul, and how it can live a hundred years in a day! The hero of the poem, surprised and insulted by the brother of Maud, kills him in a duel, and loses her whom he loved. He flees; he is seen wandering in London. What a gloomy contrast is that of the great busy careless town, and a solitary man haunted by true grief! We follow him down the noisy thoroughfares, through the yellow fog, under the wan sun which rises above the river like a "dull red ball," and we hear the heart full of anguish, deep sobs, insensate agitation of a soul which would but cannot tear itself from its memories. Despair grows, and in the end the reverie becomes a vision :

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O me! why have they not buried me deep enough?

Is it kind to have made me a grave so rough,
Me, that was never a quiet sleeper?
Maybe still I am but half-dead;

Then I cannot be wholly dumb

I will cry to the steps above my head,

"And I stood on a giant deck and mix'd my breath

With a loyal people sl outing a battle cry.. Yet God's just wrath shall be wreak'd on a giant liar ;

And many a darkness into the ligh shall leap, And shine in the sudden making of splendid


And noble thought be freer under the sun, And the heart of a people beat with one de sire ;

For the peace, that I deem'd no peace, is
over and done,

And now by the side of the Black and the
Baltic deep,

And deathful-grinning mouths of the fort

The blood-red blossom of war with a heart of

This explosion of feeling was the only one; Tennyson has not again encoun tered it. In spite of the moral close. men said of Maud that he was imitat ing Byron; they cried out against these bitter declamations; they thought that they perceived the rebellious accent of the Satanic school; they blamed this uneven, obscure, excessive style; they were shocked at these crudities and incongruities; ; they called on the poet to return to his first well-proportioned style. He was discouraged, left the storm clouds, and returned to the azure sky. He was right; he is better there than anywhere else. A fine soul may be transported, attain at times to the fire of the most violent and the strongest beings: personal memories. they say, had furnished the matter of woman's delicacy, he had the nerves Maud and of Locksley Hall; with a of a woman. The fit over, he fell again into his "golden languors," into he wrote the Princess; after Maud the his calm reverie. After Locksley Hali Idylls of the King.


And somebody, surely, some kind heart will subjects which suit his talent. Tenny

The great task of an artist is to find


To bury me, bury me

Deeper, ever so little deeper."†

However, he revives, and gradually rises again War breaks out, a liberal and generous war, the war against Russia; and the big, manly heart, wounded by deep love, is healed by action and courage.

* Tennyson's Maud, 1856. xxvii. , P. 99. ↑ Ibid. xxvii. 11, p. 105.

son has not always succeeded in this. His long poem, In Memoriam, written in praise and memory of a friend who died young, is cold, monotonous, and too prettily arranged. He goes into mourning; but, like a correct gentle. man, with bran new gloves, wipes away his tears with a cambric handkerchief, and displays throughout the religious service, which ends the ceremony, all

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 and ever changing caprice and heavy; 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 reed 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 beautipounds 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 adity, 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, and the model which suits them.


That sun their milky bosoms on the thatch,
A patient range of pupils."
They listen to historic dissertations
and promises of a social revolution, in


The Princess is a fairy tale as sentimental as those of Shakspeare. Tennyson here thought and felt like a "Acadernic silk; in hue the lilac, with young knight of the Renaissance. The a silken nood to 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 child— as in those of As You Like It, there is an over-fulness of fancy and emotion. They have recourse, to express their thought, to all ages and lands; they carry speech to the most reckless rashness; they clothe and burden every idea with a sparkling image, which drags and glitters around it like a bro-hances the magic of the scene. The cade clustered with jewels. Their * The Princess, a Med.ey, rath ed. 1864, ii nature is over-rich; at every shock 34 ↑ Ibid. ii. 46.

"A rosy blonde, and in a college gown
That clad her like an April daffodilly
(Her mother's colour), with her lips apart,
And all her thoughts as fair within her eyes,
As bottom agates seem to wave and float
In crystal currents of clear morning seas.” ↑
The site of this university for girls_en.


words "College” and “ Faculty " bring
before the mind of Frenchmen only
wretched and dirty buildings, which we
might mistake for barracks or board-
ing-houses. Here, as in an English
university, flowers creep up the porches,
vines cling round the bases of the mon-
aments, roses strew the alleys with their
petals; the laurel thickets grow around
the gates, the courts pile up their mar-
ble architecture, bossed with sculp-
tured friezes, varied with urns from
which droops the green pendage of the
plants. The Muses and the Graces,
group'd in threes, enring'd a billowing
fountain in the midst." After the lec-
ture, some girls, in the deep meadow
"smoothed a petted peacock

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down;" others,

"Leaning there on those balusters, high

her foot slips, and she falls into the river; the prince saves her, and wishes to flee. But he is seized by the Proctors and brought before the throne." where the haughty maiden stands ready to pronounce sentence. At this mo ment


There rose

A hubbub in the court of half the maids
Gather'd together: from the illumined hall
of snowy shoulders, thick as herded ewes,
Long lanes of splendour slanted o'er a press
And rainbow robes, and gems and gemlike eyes,
And gold and golden heads; they to and fro
Fluctuated, as flowers in storm, some red, some
All open-mouth'd, all gazing to the light,
Some crying there was an army in the land,
And some that men were in the very walls,
And some they cared not; till a clamour grew
As of a new-world Babel, woman-built,
And worse-confounded: high above them stood
The placid marble Muses, looking peace."

Above the empurpled champaign, drank the The father of the prince has come with


That blown about the foliage underneath,
And sated with the innumerable rose
Beat balm upon our eyelids." *

At every gesture, every attitude, we
recognize young English girls; it is
their brightness, their freshness, their
innocence. And here and there, too,
we perceive the deep expression of
their large dreamy eyes:

"Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more...

Dear as remember'd kisses after death,
And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feign'd
On lips that are for others; deep as love,
Deep as first love, and wild with all regret ;
O Death in Life, the days that are no more."t
This is an exquisite and strange volup-
tuousness, a reverie full of delight, and
full, too, of anguish, the shudder of
delicate and melancholy passion which
we have already found in Winter's
Tale or in Twelfth Night.

The three friends have gone forth with the princess and her train, all on horseback, and pause near a coppicefeather'd chasm,"


"till the Sun

Grew broader toward his death and fell, and all The rosy heights came out above the lawns." Cyril, heated by wine, begins to troll a careless tavern-catch, and betrays the secret. Ida, indignant, turns to leave;

• The Princess, a Medley, 12th ed. 1864, iii. ↑ Ibid. v. 76.


his army to deliver him, and has seized
King Gama as a hostage. The prin-
cess is obliged to release the young
man. With distended nostrils, waving
hair, a tempest raging in her heart, she
thanks him with bitter irony.
trembles with wounded pride; she
stammers, hesitates; she tries to con-
strain herself in order the better to in-
sult him, and suddenly breaks out;
"You have done well and like a gentleman,
And like a prince: you have our thanks for

And you look well too in your woman's

Well have you done and like a gentleman.
You saved our life: we owe you bitter thanks:
Better have died and spilt our bones in the

Then men had said-but now-What hinders

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