« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
Begone : we will not look upon you more. This is the acceat of the Renaissance, Here, push them out at gates.
as it left the heart of Spenser and How is this fierce heart to be softened, Shakspeare; they had this voluptuous feve:ed with feminine anger, embittered adorati on of form and soul, and this by disappointment and insult, excited divine sentiment of beauty. by long dreams of power and ascend
V. ency, and rendered more savage by its virginity! But how anger becomes There is another chivalry, which in. her, and how lovely she is! And how augurates the middle age, as this this fire of sentiment, this lofty declar- closes it; sung by children, as this by ation of independence, this chimerical youths; and restored in the Idylls of ambition for reforming the future, re- the King, as this in the Princess. It is veal the generosity and pride of a young the legend of Arthur, Merlin and the heart, enamored of the beautiful! It Knights of the Round Table. With is agreed that the quarrel shall be set admirable art, Tennyson has moderntled by a combat of fifty men against ized the feelings and the language; fifty other men. The prince is con
this pliant soul takes all tones, in ordez quered, and Ida sees him bleeding on
to give itself all pleasures. This time the sand. Slowly, gradually, in spite he has become epic, antique, and inof herself, she yields, receives the genuous, like Homer, and sike the old wounded in her palace, and comes to trouvères of the chansons de Geste. It the bedside of the dying prince. Before is pleasant to quit our learned civilizahis weakness and his wild delirium pity tion, to rise again to the primitive age expands, then tenderness, then love : and manners, to listen to the peaceful “From all a closer interest flourish'd up
discourse which flows copiously and Tendemuess touch by touch, and last, to these, slowly, as a river in a smooth channel. Love, like an Alpine harebell hang with tears The distinguishing mark of the ancient By some cold morning glacier; frail at first epic is clearness and calm. The ideas And feeble, all unconscious of itself, But such as gather'd colour day by day.” 1
were new-born; man was happy and in
his infancy. He had not had time to One evening he returns to conscious: refine, to cut down and adorn his ness, exhausted, his eyes still troubled thoughts ; he showed them bare. He by gloomy visions; he sees Ida before was not yet pricked by manifold lusts ; him, hovering like a dream, painfully he thought at leisure. Every idea in. opens his pale lips, and “utter'd whis- terested him; he unfolded it curiously, peringly:
and explained it. His speech never • If you be, what I think you, some sweet jerks; he goes step by step, from one dream,
object to another, and every object I would but ask you to fulfil yourself: But if you be that Ida whom I knew,
seems lovely to him : he pauses, obI ask you nothing: only, if a dream, serves, and takes pleasure in observing. Sweet dream be perfect. I shall die to This simplicity and peace are strange
night. Stoop down and seem to kiss me cre I die.'
and charming; we abandon ourselves, She turned ; she paused ;
it is well with us; we do not desire She stoop'd ; and out of languor leapt a cry; to go more quickly; we fancy we
, . death; And I believe that in the living world
For primitive thought is wholesome My spirit closed with Ida's at the lips ; thought ; we have but marred it by Till back I fell, and from mine arms she rose grafting and cultivation ; we return to Glowing all over noble shame; and all
it as our familiar element, to find con. Her falser self slipt from her like a robe, tentment and repose. And left her woman, lovelier in her mood Than in her mould that other, when she
But of all epis, this of the Round
Table is listinguished by purity. Ar From barren deeps to conquer all with love; thur, the irreproachable king, has as. And down the streaming crystal dropt ; and
sembled Far-fleeted by the purple island-sides, “A glorious company, the flower of men. Naked, a double light in air and wave." I To serve as model for the mighty world,
And be the fair beginning of a time. * The Princess, a Medley, iv. 102.
I made them lay their hands in mine and 1 Ibid. v. 163.
Ibid. v. 165.
To reverence the King, as if he were
Then, those two trethren slowly with bon Their conscience, and their conscience as their brows King,
Accompanying, the sad chariot-brier To speak no slander, no, nor listen to it, Past like a shadow thro' the field, that shone To lead sweet lives in purest chastity,
Full summer, to that stream whereon the To love one maiden only, cleave to her,
barge, And worship her by years of noble deeds." . Pall'd all its length in blackest samite, lay.
There sat the lifelong creature of the house, There is a sort of refined pleasure in Loyal, the dumb old servitor, on deck, having to do with such a world; for
Winking his eyes, and twisted all his face.
So those two brethren from the chariot tool there is none in which purer or more
And on the black decks laid her in her bed, touching fruits could grow. I will Set in her hand a lily, o'er her hung show one-" Elaine, the lily maid of
The silken case with braided blazonicgs A stolat ”-who, having seen Lancelot
And kiss'd her quiet brows, and saying to once, loves him when he has departed,
Sister, farewell for ever,' and again and for her whole life. She keeps the • Farewell, sweet sister,' parted all in tean. shield, which he has left in a tower,
Then rose the dumb old servitor, and the
dead and every day goes up to look at it,
Steer'd by the dumb went upward with the counting every dint a sword had
flood beaten in it, and every scratch a lance In her right hand the lily, in her left had made upon it,” and living on her
The letter-all her bright hair streaming
downdreams. He is wounded : she goes And all the coverlid was cloth of gold to tend and heal him:
Drawn to her waist, and she herself in white
All but her face, and that clear-featured face She murmur'd, ‘vain, in vain : it cannot be. Was lovely, for she did not seen as dead He will not love me : how then ? must I But fast asleep, and lay as tho' she smiled."
die ?' Then as a little helpless innocent bird, Thus they arrive at Court in great That has but one plain passage of few notes, si’ence, and King Arthur read the letWill sing the simple passage o'er and o'er For all an April morning, till the ear
ter before all his knights and weeping Wearies to hear it, so the simple maid
ladies : Went half the night repeating, must I die?'"
“ Most noble lord, Sir Lancelot of the Lake,
I, sometime call'd the maid of Astolat, At last she confesses her secret ; but Come, for you left me taking no farewell, with what modesty and spirit! He Hither, to take my last farewell of you.
and cannot marry her; he is tied to another.
love had no return,
And therefore my true love has been my She droops and fades; her father and
death. brothers try to console her, but she And therefore to our lady Guinevere, will not be consoled. She is told that And to all other ladies, I make moan. Lancelot has sinned with the queen;
Pray for my soul, and yield me burial. she does not believe it :
Pray for my soul thou too, Sir Lancelot,
As thou art a knight peerless.” 1 " At last she said, 'Sweet brothers, yester Nothing more: she ends with this
night I seem'd a curious little maid again, word, full of so sad a regret and so As happy as when we dwelt among the tender an admiration : we could hard. woods,
ly find any thing more simple or more And when you used to take me with the
delicate. flood Up the great river in the boatman's boat. It seems as if an archæologist might Only you would not pass beyond the cape reproduce all styles except the grand, That hast the poplar on it; there you fixt and Tennyson has reproduced all
, even luor limit, oft returning with the tide. And yet I cried because you would not pass
the grand. It is the night of the final Beyond it, and far up the shining food battle ; all day the tumult of the mighty Until we found the palace of the king. fray“ rollid among the mountains by
Now shall I have my will.'" 1 the winter sea ; " Arthur's knights had She dies, and her father and brothers fallen “man by man;" he himself had did what she asked them to do:
fallen, “deeply smitten through the "But when the next sun brake from under helm," and Sir Bedivere, the last of all ground,
his knights, bore him to a place hard
* Ibid. 301.
I Thich is
“ A chapel nigh the field, Put forth their han is, and took me King A broken chancel with a broken cross, That stood on a dark strait of barren land. But she, that rose the tallest of them all On one side lay the Ocean, and on one
And fairest, laid his head upon her lap, Lay a great water, and the moon was full." * And loosed the shatter'd casque, and chafed
his hands Arthur, feeling himself about to die, And call'd him by his name, complaiping bids him take his sword Excalibur "and loud. . Aling him far into the middle meer; " Before the barge drifts away, King for he had received it from the sea. Arthur, raising his slow voice, consoles nymphs, and after him no mortal must Sir Bedivere, standing in sorrow on the handle it. Twice Sir Bedivere went shore, and pronounces this heroic and to obey the king : twice he paused, solemn farewell : and came back pretending that he had
“ The old order changeth yielding place 3 Aung away the sword; for his eyes were dazzled by the wondrous diamond And God fulfils himself in many ways, setting which clustered and shone about Lest one good custom should corrupt the
world. the haft. The third time he throws
If thou shouldst never see my face again,
Pray for my soul. More things are wrought “ The great brand
Than this world dreams of.... Made lightnings in the splendour of the moon,
For so the whole round earth is every way And flashing round and round, and whirl'd in an arch,
Bound by gold chains about the feet of God. Shot like a streamer of the northern morn,
But now farewell. I am going a long way
goSeen where the moving isles of winter shock
(For all my mind is clouded with a doubt) By night, with noises of the northern sea. So flash'd and fell the brand Excalibur :
To the island-valley of Avilion ;
Where falls not haíl, or rain, or any snow, But ere he dipt the surface, rose an arm Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful,
Nor ever wind blows loudly; but it lies, And caught him by the hilt, and brandish'd
Deep-meadow'd, happy, fair with orchard.
And bowery hollows crown'd with summer Three times, and drew him under in the meer.” ť
Where I will heal me of my grievous Then Arthur, rising painfully, and
wound." scarce able to breathe, bids Sir Bedi. Nothing, I think, calmer and more vere take him on his shoulders and imposing has been seen since Goethe. “bear me to the margin.” Quick, How, in a few words, shall we as. quick! I fear it is too late, and I shall semble all the features of so manifold die.” They arrive thus, through “icy a talent? Tennyson is a born poet, caves and barren chasms,” to the shores that is, a builder of airy palaces and of a lake, where they saw the long imaginary castles. But the individual glories of the winter moon :'
passion and absorbing preoccupations They saw then how there hove a dusky barge which generally guide the hands of such Dark as a funeral scarf from stem to stern, men are wanting to him; he found in Beneath them; and descending they were himself no plan of a new edifice; he That all the decks were dense with stately has built after all the rest; he has forms
simply chosen amongst all forms the Black-stoled, black hooded, like a dream-by most elegant, ornate, exquisite. Of these
their beauties he has taken but the Three Queens with crowns of gold-and from Aower. At most, now and then, he has
them rose A cry that shiver'd to the tingling stars,
here and there amused himself by de: And, as it were one voice, an agony signing some genuinely English and Of lamentation, like a wind, that shrills,
modern cottage. If in this choice of All night in a waste land, where no one
architecture, adopted or restored, we comes, Or hath come, since the making of the world. look for a trace of him, we shall find it, Then murmur'd Arthur: . Place me in the here and there, in some more finely barge,'
sculptured frieze, in some more deli And to the barge they came. There those three Queens
cate and graceful sculptured rose.
work; but we only find it marked and Poems by A. Tennyson, 7th ed. 1851; Morte sensible in the purity and elevation of SArthur, 189.
| Ibid. 194.
* Ibid. 196.
the moral einotion which we carry ously tended, everywnere combine away with us when we quit his gallery their leafage or rear their heads. Trees of art.
have been brought from Australia and
China to adorn the thickets with the VI.
elegance or the singularity of their for
eign shapes; the copper-beech stretches The favorite poet of a nation, it over the delicate verdure of the mead. seems, is he whose works a man, setting ows the shadow of its dark metallicout on a journey, prefers to put into his hued foliage. How delicious is the pocket. Nowadays it would be Ten- freshness of this verdure ! How it nyson in England, and Alfred De Mus- glistens, and how it abounds in wild set in France. The two publics differ: Aowers brightened by the sun! What 30 do their modes of life, their read care, what cleanliness, how every thing ing, and their pleasures. Let us try to is arranged, kept up, refined, for the describe them; we shall better under comfort of the senses and the pleasure of stand the flowers if we see them in the the eyes! If there is a slope, streamgarden.
lets have been devised with little islets Here we are at Newhaven, or at in the glen, peopled with tufts of roses; Dover, and we glide over the rails look. ducks of select breed swim in the pools, ing on either side. On both sides fly past where the water-lilies display their satin country houses ; they exist everywhere stars. Fat oxen lie in the grass, sheep in England, on the margin of lakes, on as white as if fresh from the washing, the edge of the bays, on the summit of all kinds of happy and model animals, the hills, in every picturesque point of fit to delight the eyes of an amateur view. They are the chosen abodes; and a master. We return to the house, London is but a business-place ; men and before entering I look upon the of the world live, amuse themselves, view; decidedly the love of Englishvisit each other, in the country. How men for the country is innate; how well ordered and pretty is this house ! pleasant it will be from that parlor If rear it there was some old edifice, window to look upon the setting sun, abbey, or castle, it has been preserved. and the broad network of sunlight The new building has been suited to spread across the woods! And how the old; even if detached and modern, cunningly they have disposed the it does not lack style ; gable-ends, house, so that the landscape may be mullions, broad-windows, turrets perch- seen at distance between the hills, and ed at every corner, have a Gothic air at hand between the trees! We enter. in spite of their newness. Even this How nicely every thing is got up, and cottage, though not very large, suited how commodious. The smallest wants to people with a moderate income, is have been forestalled, and provided pleasant to see with its pointed roofs, for; there is nothing which is not cor. its porch, its bright brown bricks, all rect and perfect; we imagine that covered with ivy. Doubtless grandeur every thing in the house has received a is generally wanting ; in these days the prize, or at least an honorable mention, ner who mould opinion are no longer at some industrial exhibition. And great lords, but rich gentlemen, well the attendance of the servants is as good brought up, and landħolders ; it is as every thing else; cleanliness is nol pleasantness which appeals to them. more scrupulous in Holland; English: But how they understand the word ! men have, in proportion, three times All round the house is turf fresh and as many servants as Frenchmen; not smooth as velvet, rolled every morning. too many for the minute details of the In front, great rhododendrons form a service. The domestic machine acts bright thicket, in which murmur swarms without interruption, without shock, of bees; festoons of exotics creep and without hindrance; every wheel has its curve over the short grass; honey movement and its place, and the comsuckles: :lamber up the trees; hundreds fort which it dispenses falls like honey of roses, drooping over the windows, in the mouth, as clear and as exquis shed their rain of petals on the paths. ite as the sugar of a model refinery wher: Fine elms, ycw-trees, great oaks, jeal. I quite purified.
We converse with our host. We very ; derves. Such is tl is legant and com soon find that his mind and soul have non-sense society, refined in comfort always been well balanced. When he regular in conduct, whose dilettanto left college he found his career shaped tastes and moral principles confine it out for him; no need for him to revolt within a sort of flowery border, and pre against the Church, which is half ra- vent it from having its attention divert tional; nor against the Constitution, ed. which is nobly liberal : the faith and Does any poet suit such a society law presented to him are good, useful, better than Tennyson? Without being moral, liberal enough to maintain and a pedant, he is moral; he may be read employ all diversities of sincere minds. in the family circle by night; he does He became attached to them, he loves not rebel against suciety and life ; he them, he has received from them the speaks of Gol and the soul, nobly, whole system of his practical and spec- tenderly, without ecclesiastical preju. ulative ideas ; he does not waver, he dice; there is no need to reproach him no longer doubts, he knows what he like Lord Byron ; he has no violent and ought to believe and to do. He is not abrupt words, extravagant and scandal carried away by theories, dulled by ous sentiments; he will pervert no. sloth, checked by contradictions. Else- body. We shall not be troubled when where youth is like water, stagnant or we close the book; we may listen running to waste; here there is a fine when we quit him, without being old channel which receives and directs shocked by the contrast, to the grave to a useful and sure end the whole voice of the master of the house, who stream of its activities and passions. reads evening prayers before the He acts, works, rules. He is married, kneeling servants. And yet, when we has tenants, is a magistrate, becomes a quit him, we keep a smile of pleasure politician. He improves and rules his on our lips. The traveller, the lover parish, his estate, and his family. He of archæology, has been pleased by the founds societies, speaks at meetings, imitations of foreign and antique superintends schools, dispenses justice, sentiments. The sportsman, the lover introduces improvements; he employs of the country, has relished the little his reading, his travels, his connections, country scenes and the rich rural pic. his fortune, and his rank, to lead his tures. The ladies have been charmed neighbors and dependants amicably to by his portraits of women; they are so some work which profits themselves exquisite and pure! He has laid such and the public. He is influential and delicate blushes on those lovely cheeks ! respected. He has the pleasures of He has depicted so well the changing self-esteem and the satisfaction of con- expression of those proud or candið science. He knows that he has author- eyes ! They like him because they ity, and that he uses it loyally, for the feel that he likes them. He even hon. good of others. And this healthy state ors them, and rises in his nobility to of mind is supported by a wholesome the height of their purity. Young girls life. His mind is beyond doubt culti- weep in listening to tim; certainly vated and occupied; he is well-inform- when, a little while ago, we heard the ed, knows several languages, has travel- legend of Elaine or Enid read, we saw led, is fond of all precise information; the fair heads drooping under the he is kept by his newspapers convers- flowers which adorned them, and white ant with all new ideas and discoveries. shoulders heaving with furtive emotion. But, at the same time, he loves and prac. And how delicate was this emotion! tises all bodily exercises. He rides, He has not rudely trenched upon truth takes long walks, hunts, yachts, ex and passion. He has risen to the height amines for himself all the details of of poble and tender sentiments. He has breeding and agriculture : he lives in gleaned from all nature and all history the open air, he withstands the en- what was most lofty and amiable. He croachme its of a sedentary life, which has chosen his ideas, chiselled his always elsewhere leads the modern man words, equalled by his artifices, success to agitation of the brain, weakness of es, and versatility of style, the pleas the muscles, and excitement of the lantness and perfection of social elo