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First Edition, February 1905 Reprinted, July 1906, October 1907
RICHARD CLAY & SONS, LIMITED,
In this volume the Tennyson that Arthur Hallam knew will be found fully ranged for the first time with the later Tennyson whose note sounded clear as the thrush leading the chorus of “St. Barnabe the Bright.”
Omitting the uncharacteristic boyish verses of the book which he wrote in concert with his brothers, and published in 1827 before he went to Cambridge, the following pages contain the whole of his volume of 1830, written in his college days; his Cambridge prize-poem, which gained the Chancellor's Medal, over the heads of Arthur Hallam and Milnes ; and all that is to be counted essential in his book of poems published by Moxon in 1833. Many of these exercises of his youth, the poet in his years of discretion rejected. But if they did not satisfy him, they are uncommonly interesting to us. They are the tell-tale imperfect essays in art, which show how their writer worked toward perfection.
Benjamin Franklin thought even the English Bible was become too familiar to men's ears, and he attempted in a very disastrous way to renew its worn and proverbial texture. In all poetry there is a temptation to what we may call disseizin, which needs to be overcome ; and in Tennyson's case it can best be met by a recall of his early writing and ideas. Then, even those muchread poems of his, whose Victorian forms seem most superannuated, may regain their effect. They take on, indeed, something of their original reality, when they are related to the first pages of the poet as he appeared and as he expressed him self in his youth and indeterminate years.
In that period, immediately preceding the date of his first book-the “Poems, chiefly Lyrical" of 1830—Tennyson was not only a disciple of other poets, but a bold, fanciful, and sometimes over-ingenious innovator on his own account. He played tricks with his craft, was lavish of diminutives, invented strange particles, and took an unreasonable dislike to hyphens; and it