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powers is better than to astonish the world. “Short swallowflights of song should for awhile content those who most ardently long for the eagle's flight. The poet who awakes one morning to find himself famous' is generally unimproveable. Byron himself never produced anything of more sustained and enduring greatness than Childe Harold. But between Mr. Tennyson's earlier and his later volumes, the distance is great indeed. The patient thought, and steady work, by which that interval was filled up, may suggest to many, who could never dream of being laureates, some lessons of inestimable worth,

Hitherto I have spoken only in general of the growth of the poet's mind. It may not be inappropriate to add a brief connected sketch of his poetic career. Perhaps, to most of the readers of the • Christian Spectator,' this may be superfluous; but a few may be inclined to say with M. Jourdain : 'True, we know, but make as if we did not know ;' and for their sakes, as for the sake of others whose ignorance is more confessed, we will venture to fill a few pages with the outline.

Mr. Tennyson, then, was born in the year 1810, in Lincolnshire, his father being a clergyman. There were three brothers, Frederick, Charles and Alfred. The two former rank among the minor poets of the generation. Charles is a clergyman, like the father; and seems to have adopted the name of Turner, his poems being introduced as by 'the Rev. Charles (Tennyson) Turner.'

At the age of nineteen, Mr. Alfred Tennyson, then student at Trinity College, Cambridge, had the honour of gaining the Chancellor's Medal for the best poem in English blank verse. The topic was 'Timbuctoo ;' but what the youthful poet made of his theme, what light be threw upon the somewhat obscure history of that interesting kingdom, or what presages he drew of its destiny, it is scarcely important to inquire." Such topics are reserved for Prize Poems, which as Macaulay said, ought to be burned with candles made from the tallow of prize oxen. Alfred Tennyson's may have been an exception. I cannot tell.

In 1830 Charles and Alfred Tennyson published a joint volume of poems. Such of these as the poet has considered worth preserving, are now to be read at the beginning of the collected edition. It may be thought that I have spoken too slightingly of these early efforts, when it is remembered that with other pieces they contain Mariana in the Moated Grange, Recollections of the Arabian Nights' and the ballad of Oriana. Yet these are at the best but pictures, with scarcely a glimpse of the higher beauty towards which the young poetic heart was aspiring. Then, considering that a youth of twenty was the writer, how shadowy and uninteresting are the ladies ! There are 'airy, fairy Lilian,' ever varying Madeline,' faintly smiling Adeline,' with a tender reminiscence of

*Claribel low-lying ;' but in individuality and depth of soul, how unmeasurably below the 'Gardener's Daughter,' 'Dora,'' Lady Clare' the Princess Ida'-noblest of all ;-or Enid' or Elaine! The

Mermaid,'too, we have, the Merman' also, the Sirens,'* with other mythologic beings; fantastic impossibilities, drawn with a wonderful power of realizing an imaginary condition, and with pictorial accessories of a rare beauty ; but without any power to command our sympathy. We admire; but the admiration is cold. The most noticeable piece, perhaps, in this volume, read in the light of our present knowledge of Tennyson, is The Poet. Here we have glimpes of the ideal which he was not yet to reach.

Dowered with the hate of hate, the scorn of scorn,

The love of love,
He saw through life and death, through good and ill;

He saw through his own soul.
The marvel of the everlasting will,

An open scroll,
Before him lay; with echoing feet he threaded

The secretest walks of fame.
The viewless arrows of his thoughts were headed,

And winged with flame.' A second volume appeared in 1833, and the greater part of it, as of the former, still survives for us, though chastened and illuminated by the wisdom of after years.

Here we have ladies again in a goodly crowd, but with a more definite character, and a more winning grace. Had the poet meanwhile fallen in love—that love which glorifies all womanhood? The · Lady of Shalott 'leads the way; then comes another Mariana,' with 'serene imperial Eleanore,' 'sweet pale Margaret,' poor deserted 'Enone,' with the wondrous tale of Paris and the goddesses; the ‘Miller's Daughter,' most exquisite in her charm; and the Queen of the May,' in her rustic pride, and exultation, and tenderness, but without the last most touching sequel. The 'Dream of Fair Women’ is one long revel in sensuous beauty, yet pure and beautiful exceedingly. An extract will confirm this assertion, and refresh my readers. The poet is describing the apparition in the haunted wood of the shade of Jepthah's daughter :

Then I heard
A noise of some one coming thro' the lawn,
And singing clearer than the crested bird,

That claps his wings at dawn.
6. The torrent brooks of hallow'd Israel,
From craggy hollows pouring, late and soon,
Sound all night long, in falling thro' the dell,

Far-heard beneath the moon.

* In the later editions the Sirens (or Sea-fairies) is entirely re-written. A comparison between the old form and the new would again be most instructive.

"" The balmy moon of blessed Israel
Floods all the deep-blue glooin with beams divine :
All night the splinter'd crags that wall the dell

With spires of silver shine.”
'As one that museth where broad sunshine laves
The lawn by some cathedral, thro' the door
Hearing the holy organ rolling waves

Of sound on roof and floor
Within, and anthem sung, is charm'd and tied
To where he stands, --so stood I, when that flow
Of music left the lips of her that died,

To save her father's vow;
"The daughter of the warrior Gileadite,
A maiden pure; as when she went along
From Mizpeli's tower'd gate with welcome light,

With timbrel and with song. ‘My words leapt forth ;“Heaven heads the count of crime, With that wild oath.” She render'd answer high : “Not so, nor once alone; a thousand times

I would be born and die.
Single I grew, like some green plant, whose root
Creeps to the garden water-pipes beneath,
Feeding the flower; but ere my flower to fruit

Changed, I was ripe for death.
""My God, my land, my father—these did move
Me from my bliss of life, that Nature gave,
Lower'd softly with a threefold cord of love

Down to a silent grave.
""And I went mourning, No fair Hebrew boy
Shall smile away my maiden blame among
The Hebrew mothers,—emptied of all joy,

Leaving the dance and song,
" Leaving the olive-gardens far below,
Leaving the promise of my bridal bower,
The valleys of grape-loaded vines that glow

Beneath the battled tower.
The light white cloud swam over us. Anon
We heard the lion roaring from his den ;
We saw the large white stars rise one by one,

Or, from the darken'd glen,
<< Saw God divide the night with flying flame,
And thunder on the everlasting hills.
I heard Him, for He spake, and grief became

A solemn scorn of ills.
""When the next moon was roll'd into the sky,
Strength came to me that equalled my desire.
How beautiful a thing it was to die

For God and for my sire !

"It comforts me in this one thought to dwell,
That I subdued me to my father's will;
Because the kiss he gave me, ere I fell,

Sweetens the spirit still.
"“ Moreover, it is written that my race
Hew'd Ammon, hip and thigh, from Aroer
On Arnon unto Minneth." Here her face

Glow'd as I look'd at her.

• She lock'd her lips; she left me where I stood :

Glory to God," she sang, and past afar,
Thridding the sombre boskage of the wood,

Toward the morning star.'

The 'Palace of Art' awakens yet deeper chords, and in spite of weaknesses and defects (removed in later editions), stands out as the noblest poem,

and the richest in promise, which Tennyson bad yet produced. To this I hope to return in the next paper; of the whole series, it may suffice to say here, that there is as yet little hint of the true depth of the poet's soul. The true lovers of poetry were delighted, but dissatisfied, perplexed ; and in some uncertainty, but more hopefulness, awaited his next appearance before the world. But this was not to be yet. The great sorrow of his youth was fresh and bitter. From this cause or perhaps – because the coldness of the critics disheartened him, or, more likely still, because he was conscious of powers which it required time and culture to unfold—he remained silent until 1842, when, in the publication of his · English Idylls and other Poenis,' he came forth, without preface, introduction, or explanation of any kind, and in his own calm greatness took his place among the foremost singers of the world. To some of these poems I shall have again to refer; enough now to say that the volume contained the Gardener's Daughter,' the Two Voices,' the Morte d'Arthur,' and 'Locksley Hall. Many other poems accompany these inasterpieces of thought and expression; and the other poems are masterpieces too. The critics hastened to make amends. Quarterly,' Edinburgh,' Blackwood,' all vied in the enthusiasm with which they greeted the man who thus, without haste and without rest, by patient thought and study, had matured every natural gift, and had won his way to recognition as chief poet of the land.

Five years afterwards, in 1847, appeared. The Princess, a Medley;' epic in fashion ; in substance, fantastic, romantic, satirical, and yet profound. In most musical blank verse the story is told-a tale of woman's rights and wrongs, and of her heroisms meltiug into love. Seven collegians tell the story

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· And the women sang Between the rougher voices of the men, Like linnets in the pauses of the wind ;'

and certainly the melody of the little lyrics interspersed is surpassed by nothing in the English language.

'In Memoriam 'was published in 1850, with no name on the title page, and for dedication or preface the simple inscription :


A. H. H.

OBIIT MDCCCXXXIII. For seventeen years, the world soon learned, the poet had mourned his friend Arthur Hallam. The thoughts and memories of life had all been coloured by this great sorrow, and with the very music of earthly joy had mingled the undertone of sadness. In his former volume there were at least casual indications what depths had been stirred.

• Break, break, break,

On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter

The thoughts that arise in me.
O well for the fisherman's boy,

That he shouts with his sister at play!
O well for the sailor lad,

That he sings in his boat on the bay !
And the stately ships go on

To their haven under the hill;
But ( for the touch of a vanish'd hand,

And the sound of a voice that is still!
• Break, break, break,

At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!
But the tender grace of a day that is dead

Will never come back to me.' Now, the full meaning of these 'wild and wandering cries' was shown.

But the utterance of sorrow is not all. Some have called 'In Memoriam''one long dirge, but it is not so.

Grief for the poet's friend is there—the scenery of the tomb; as in varying moods through those serenteen years, he recalls with passionate fondness 'the days that are no more.' With all this, however, are linked thoughts on all those high questions which the friends in youthful days had often discussed. The one is now beyond the veil, beyond the veil,' the other is left_to grapple alone with the problems of Being, of Reason, and of Faith. Many of the hundred and thirty poems of which the work consists, are solemn meditations on the loftiest things which the heart of man can ponder. The poem is a new Essay on Man, but as different from Pope's as the earnest

characteristic of the best thinkers in 'our wondrous mother-age, transcend the sceptic scorn of the eighteenth century. Some who have not read it very attentively, or who have been

ness and depth

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