Изображения страниц
[ocr errors]

rial that London would have a very positive effect upon his spirit and i this intellectual mould. “When he has felt life," said Fitzgerald, ose "you will see him acquire all that at present you miss ; he will ver not die fruitless of instruction as he is.” 1

h London, and its pressure of life, and its strong determining tij forces, acted on his poetic ambition and contemporary sense in qu: many ways. He tasted of its best ; he met there the men who

were working for intellectual liberty and the humanities in its the midst—Carlyle, Landor, Dickens, Thackeray, John Stuart Mill th-and in meeting them, and realizing through them the spirit alses of the age, he realized himself. Then came the two volumes As i of 1842, with their freight of poems old and new; and the rue probation, which had seemed hard, was virtually over. Among uce the new were the beginnings of the Arthurian poems, and

many of those pieces which, like “ Locksley Hall,” caught the an very accent and spirit of English life sixty years ago.

With the “Idylls of the King," as they were first published dy in the earlier volumes, ends the term of his writings, so far as [orf they are represented here in this volume and connected with on the earlier periods at Cambridge and London. And if his finest ash poetry is to be had in his lyrics and early lyric-romances, in aft the “Idylls” we reach the verge of what was his most opulent n. contribution to English poetry. In these Arthurian idylls, he

tifound a mode of expressing himself and his time under a noble lief pseudo-mediaeval mask, and he gave the old Celtic romancedi tradition, as it is found in Sir Thomas Malory and in the 5 Welsh “ Mabinogion,” a new vogue, a Victorian interpretation,

th and confirmed English poetry in one of its most magical an regions. de What we realize, as we look back on Tennyson's life and

work, is the large part he had in supplying the nineteenth 5 t century with its emotional vocabulary. “He was," said one her of our younger poets, on being asked by a sceptical French ha lady what particular quality he found in Tennyson, that was sa not better to be had in Byron—"he was a'magnificent phraseeel maker.""

This is not enough, but so far as it goes it is true. me He gave to his period, just as Pope stamped one currency

and Byron another, many of the phrases which carry the very Gbl accent of their day in them. Like Pope, he was an inspired

1 It was like Fitzgerald to discount his prediction just as freely afterwards. ad Tennyson, he said, never returned to the champagne flavour of his earlier Juslyrics,” and 1842 was the year " when the press went to work with, I think, reathe last of old Alfred's best.” As for "In Memoriam," it was, to his thinking, Ezechonotonous—"evolved by a poetic machine of the highest order."


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

expressor of other men's moral and intellectual conclusions." But imaginatively he was more original than that. He translated and finely transmuted the mediaeval or the classic, or whatever subject he attempted, into choice nineteenth-century English verse. What the total merit of that performance may be, they will know best who live far enough away from his own century to estimate the lasting wear and value of his work, For the present, we are not in a state to measure him finally We are rather in the lee now of his immense reputation, and our only chance of getting back our interest is to remember him not as a mid-Victorian but an early Victorian, and relate“ The Lady of Shalott ” to the days when he recited “Clerk Saunders” and “Oriana” to the Cambridge Apostles.

In the arrangement of the present volume, this relation of the poet who was a crowned head, removed and practically exempt from criticism, to the uncrowned and comparatively unknown poet of 1830 and 1833, is kept continually in view. Thus, numbers i. to v. in the succeeding pages reproduce some of the more or less unfamiliar poems, which did not find their way into the collected works, as we have usually known them. Numbers vi. to lxii. again give us the volume of 1830—the “Poems, chiefly Lyrical,” in the order in which they appeared; and with only those revisions which are poetically indispensable. The date at the foot of each poem is that of the edition from which the text is printed. In certain poems, the earlier form has been preserved intact, as in “The Sea Fairies,” and in this case the reader who prefers the later form has his remedy in the appendix. In the appendix are still some fragments and excerpts; and among these some memorable passages from the first drafts of “ Maud” and the “ Lady of Shalott," and also th curiously unrelated set of prelusive verses which originally stoo at the head of the “Dream of Fair Women," where he liken the poet to the man “that sails in a balloon”

“So listed high, the Poet at his will,

Lets the great world fit from him, seeing all,
Higher thro' secret splendours mounting still,

Self-poised, nor fears to fall ! ” If it is good to watch the poet while he is still crescent, an before he has sailed so high, then this volume is not without i special use and biographical effect.

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The following table shows the order of Tennyson's works,

omitting only occasional poems :-

Poems, by Two Brothers," 1827; "Timbuctoo :" Cambridge
-> Prize Poem, "1829; “Poems, chiefly Lyrical,” 1830; “Poems,"
tu 1833 [1832); “The Lover's Tale, first printed in 1833 and
magiven a small private circulation, appeared in sundry unauthorized

editions in 1870 and 1875, and was finally published by the

author in 1879; "Poems,” 1842; The Princess: a Medley," 1847;
third edition, with songs added, 1850 ; "In Memoriam (A.H.H.),

all 1850;. "Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington,”. 1852;

tica second edition, altered, 1853 ; "The Charge of the Light Brigade,"
in Examiner, 1854; altered, 1855; a variant, “In Honorem," 1856 ;
"Maud, and other Poems,” 1855; enlarged, 1856 ; Kelmscott edition,

“ Enid and Nimuë (first draft of “Vivien "): the True and the
cite False," privately printed, 1857 ; "Idylls of the King”—“Enid,”
es: "Vivien,” “Elaine,” “Guinevere,” 1859; new edition, 1862; the four

idylls issued separately, 1867-8; "Helen's Tower. Clandeboye,” 1861;
food A Welcome [to Alexandra),” 1863 ; "Idylls of the Hearth,” 1864;

Tre-issued as Enoch Arden," etc., 1864; "A Selection from the Works
em of Alfred Tennyson, Poet Laureate,” with five new poems, 1865; "The

OF Window, or the Loves of the Wrens," 1867 ; with music by A. Sullivan,
1871; " “The Victim,”. 1867; "The Holy Grail, and other Poems,
containing “ The Coming of Arthur," "The Holy Grail,” “Pelleas and

Ettarre," "The Passing of Arthur,” and other poems, some of which
wat were new, 1869; “Idylls of the King,” 1869; “The Last Tourna-
per ment," 1891 (altered in ensuing edition); “Gareth and Lynette," third
series of " Idylls of the King,” 1872 ; “Idylls of the King," complete
edition, with “Epilogue to the Queen,” 1872; Queen Mary :

a Drama,” 1875 ; "Harold : a Drama," 1877 (1876); Ballads and
abicother Poems," 1880 ; “The Promise of May,” 1882; “The Falcon and
to the Cup,” 1884; “Becket,” 1884 ; arranged for the stage by H. Irving,

1893 ; "Tiresias, and other Poems,” 1885; "Locksley Hall Sixty
(Years After” (and other Poems), 1887 ; “Demeter, and other Poems,
th1889; “The Foresters: Robin Hood, and Maid Marian,” 1892;

"The Death of Enone,” “ Akbar's Dream, and other Poems,” 1892 ;

an works, complete in one volume, with last alterations, 1894.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »