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Alfred was born in the parsonage at Somersby (near Spilsby) ip 1510. In 1829. he gained the Chancellor's niedal for the English prize poem, his subject being. Timbuctoo.' Previous to this, in conjunction with his brother Charles, he published anonymously a small volume entitled 'Poems by Two Brothers.' In 1831 appeared · Poems, chietly Lyrical, by Alfred Tennyson.' This volume contained poems since altered and incorporated in later collections. These early productions had the faults of youthful genius-irregularity, indistinctness of conception, florid puerilities, and occasional affectation. . In such poems, however, as 'Mariana,' 'Recollections of the Arabian Nights,' and
Claribel,' it was obvious that a true original poet had arisen. In 1833, Mr. Tennyson issued another volume, shewing an advance in poetical power and in variety of style, though the collection met with severe treatment from the critics. For nine years the poet continued silent. In 1812, he reappeared with Poems,’ in two volumes—this third series being a reprint of some of the pieces in the former volumes, considerably altered, with many new poems, including the most striking and popular of all his productions. These were of various classes—fragments of legendary and chivalrous story, as * Morte d'Arthur,' «Godiva,' &c.; or pathetic and beautiful, as "The May Queen' and Dora'; or impassioned love-poems, as · The Gardener's Daughter, The Miller's Daughter,' «The Talking Oak,' and "Locksley Hall. The last is the most finished of Tennyson's works, full of passionate grandeur and intensity of feeling and imagination. It partly combines the energy and impetuosity of Byron with the pictorial beauty and melody of Coleridge. The lover of Locksley Hall' is ardent, generous, and noble-minded, nourishing a youth sublime' with lofty aspirations and dreams of felicity. His passion is at first returned:
Extracts from · Locksley Hall.'
And our spirits rushed together at the touching of the lips. The fair one proves faithless, and after a inmnlt of conflicting passions-Indigna 4on. grief, self-reproach, and despair-the sufferer finds relief in glowing visions of future enterprise and the world's progress.
For I dipt into th future. far as hnman eye could see.
And the kindly earth shall slumber, lapt in universal law. There is a marvellous brilliancy of colouring and.force of sentiment and expression in this poem, while the versițication is perfect. The ballad strains of Tennyson, and particularly his musical Oriana,' also evince consummate art; and when he is purely descriptive, nothing can exceed the minute fidelity with which he paiuts the English landscape. The poet having shifted his residence from Lincolnshire to the Isle of Wight, his scene-paiuting partook of the change.* The following is from his ‘Gardener's Daughter :'
Not wholly in the busy world, nor quite
1 he fields between
The line a summer home of murmurous wings. The poet, while a dweller amidst the fens of Lincolnshire, painted morasses, quiet meres, and sighing reeds. The exquisitely modulated poem of The Dying Swan' affords a picture drawn, we think, with wonderful delicacy:
Some bine peaks in the distance rose,
One willow over the river wept.
And shook the wave as the wind did sigh; The mute from Alum Bay to Carisbrooke takes you past Farriogford, wbere resided Alfred Tennyson. The house stands so far back as to be invisible from the road, but tho grounds
A careless ordered garden.
Close to the ridge of a noble downlooked very pretty and thoroughly Engljah. In another verse of the poem from which I have anoted-the invitation to the Rev. F. D. Maurice-he exactly describes the sitas tion of Farringford :
For groves of pine on either hand.
To break the blast of winter, stand:
Tumbles a billow on chalk and sand. Every one well arqnainted with Tennyson's writings will have noticed how the spirit of the scenery which he has depicted has chan-ed from the glooming Aats.' the level waste' were stretched wide and wild the waste enormous marsh.' which were the reflex of his Lincolnshire observation, to the beautiful meadow and orchard t!:oronghly English ruralities of the Garrienai's Dawonter and The Brook Many glimpses in the neighbourhood of Farringford will call to mind descriptive passages in these last named poems. -Letter in the Daily Veins. The laureate has also an estate in Surrey (Aldworth, Haslemere), to which he retreats when the tourists and admirers becomo oppressive is the Isle of Wight.
Above in the wiod was the swallow,
The tangled water-courses el pt,
Shot over with puple, and green, and yellow.
When the flowers come again, mother, beneath the waning light,
On the out-grass and the sword-grass, and the buirush in the pool. • The Talking Oak’ is the title of a fanciful and beautiful poem of seventy-five stanzas, in which a lover and an oak tree converse upon the charms of a certain fair Olivia. The oak-tree thus describes to the lover her visit to the park in which it grew:
Extracts from 'The Talking Oak.'
She kissed me once again.
*Her kisses were so close and kind,
That, trust me on my woru,
But yet my sup was stirred:
And even into my ipmest ring
A pleasure I discerned, • Add in a fit of frolic mirth
Like those blind motions of the Spring, She etrove to span my waist :
That shew the year is turned. ...
• I. rooted here among the groves,
But languidly adjust "I wished myself the fair young beech My vapid vegetable loves That here beside me stands.
With anthers and with dust : That round me, clasping each in each, She might have locked her hands. ... •For ah! my friend, the days were brief
Whereof the poets talk, O muffle round thy knees with fern, When that, which breathes within the And shadow Sumner-chace!
leaf, Long may thy topmost branch discern Could slip its bark and walk. The roofs of Sumner-place!
But could I, as in times foregone. But tell me, did she read the name From spray, and branch, and stem, I carved with many vows,
Have fucked and gathered into one
She bad not found me so remiss;
I would have paid her kiss fur kiss, And found, and kissed the name she With usury thereto.'
found. And sweetly murmured thine.
O flourish high, with leafy towers,
And overlook the lea; *A tear-drop trembled from its scurce, Pursue thy loves among the bowers, And down my surface crept
But leave thou mine to me.
O flonrish, hidden deep in fern,
Old oak. I love thee well; Phen flusbed her cheek with rosy light; A thousand thanks for what I learn, She glanced across the plain;
And what remains to tell.
And the poet, in conclusion, promises to praise the mystic tree even more than England honours his brother-oak,
Wherein the yonuger Charles abode
Till all the paths were diin,
And hummed a surly hymn.
Still more dramatic in effect is the portrait of the heroine of Coventry.
She told bin of their tears,
So left alone, the passions of her inind-
Then fled she to her inmost bower, and there
Then she rode forth, clothed on with chastity:
Then she rode buck, clothed on with chastity:
And one low churl, compact of thankless earth,
And built herself an everlasting name. An extract from “The Lotos-eaters' will give a specimen of our poet's modulations of rhythm. This poem represents the luxurious lazy sleepiness said to be produced in those who feed upon the lotos, and contains passages not surpassed by the finest descriptions in the · Castle of Indolence.' It is rich in striking and appropriate imagery, and is sung to a rhythm which is music itself.