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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 Sunteep'd at noon, and in the moon Nightly dew-fed ; and turning yellow
we quiver at the least touch, we shake Falls, and toats 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 ficwer ripens in its place,
calm and correct outline. He hac 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 longermagnificent 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-Eaters, 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
understandsels to thee.
Better thou wert dead before me, tho' 1 slev On her pallid check and forehead came a thee with my hand I" *
colbar and a light, As I have seen the rosy red flushing in the This is very frank and strong. Mased northern night.
appeared, and was still more so. In it And she turn's -her bosom shaken with a
the rapture broke forth with all its insudden storm of sighs
equalities, familiarities, freedom, vio. All the spirit deeply dawning in the dark of lence. Th: correct, measured poet
betraved 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 ; Every moment, lightly shaken, ran itself in but speaks ; they are the hazarded, reck
found himself loved. He does not sing, golden sands.
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 fathoms, falser than ah 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 Is it well to wish thee happy ?-having known
In the little grove where I sit-ah, wherefore
cannot I be
Like things of the season gay, like the boun
tiful season bland, heart than mine!
When the far-off sail is blown by the breeze
of a softer clime, Yet it shad be: thou shalt low to his level
Half lost in the liquid azure bloom of a crea day by day,
cent of sea, What is fine within thee growing course to
The silent sapphire-spangled marriage ring sympathize with clay.
of the land?" As the husband is, the wife is: thou art mated What a holiday in his heart when he is
with a clown, 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 his horse.
+ Tennyson's Maud, 1856, iv. I, p. of
all to the spectacle and the participa
“ And I stood on a giant deck and mix'd my 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 ghall leap, then satire, then disclosures, all ready
And shine is the sudden making of splendid
names, movements, all sudden changes, like a And noble thought be freer under the sun, crackling and faming fire, rer.ewing 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 o hero 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, grier! 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 they perceived the rebellious accent of hear the heart full of anguish, deep the Satanic school ; they blamed this sobs, insensate agitation of a soul which would but cannot tear itself from its were shocked at these crudities and
uneven, obscure, excessive style; they memories. Despair grows, and in the incongruities; they called on the poet 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 woman's delicacy, he had the nerves
Maud and of Locksley Hall; with a feet, 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 me! 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; 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 handkerchiei, courage.
and displays throughout the religious
service, which ends the ceremony, al • Tennyson's Maud, 1856. xxvü. , p. 99. Ibid. uvii. 11, p. 1og.
• Ibid. xxviii. 3 and 4, p. 108.
the compunction of a respectful and there is in them a sort of rustle of Joy
A patient range of pupils." *
“ Acadernic silks 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 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, a Mccary, 19th ed. 1864, ü nature is over-rich; at every sbock 34
1 Ibid. ü. 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 ite 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 nar. Gather'd together : from the illumined hall ble architecture, bossed with
Long lanes of splendour slanted o'er a press sculp
snowy shoulders, thick as herded ewes, 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, “smoothed a petted peacock And some they cared not; till a clamour grew
As of a new-world Babel, woman-built, down ;
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 man. 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“ Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
sult him, and suddenly breaks out ;
dress : Dear as remember'd kisses after death,
Well have you done and like a gentleman. And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feign'd
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 ;.
doodO Death in Life, the days that are no more."
Then men had said-but nowWhat hinders 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 quenchen of the light to be,
Barbarians, grosser than your native bear Tale or in Twelfth Night.
Owould 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 gull'd 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 hateful to w secret. Ida, indignant, turns to leave;
I trample on your offers and on you: • The Princess, a Medley, 13th ed. 1864, iii. 1 Ibid. v. 76.
• Ibid. iv. 99.