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No mate beside thee,--far from social joy;
As some poor clerk survives his ruin'd firm,
And, in a napless hat, without employ,
Stands, in the autumn of his life, alone.

Similarly he gives life to the Hydraulic Ram, the BuoyBell, or to the children's old Rocking-horse.

Nature and Humanity are beautifully and most touchingly entwined in our last example


She died in June, while yet the woodbine sprays
Waved o'er the outlet of this garden-dell;
Before the advent of these Autumn days
And dark unblossom'd verdure. As befel,
I from my window gazed, yearning to forge
Some comfort out of anguish so forlorn ;
The dull rain stream'd before the bloomless gorge,
By which, erewhile, on each less genial morn,
Our Mary pass'd, to gain her shelter'd lawn,
With Death's disastrous rose upon her cheek.
How often had I watch'd her, pale and meek,
Pacing the sward! and now I daily seek
The track, by those slow pausing footsteps worn,
How faintly worn! though trodden week by week.

That disastrous rose of consumption,—what a fine, what an original touch!

These sonnets intentionally differ in structure from the orthodox arrangement; the poet seems to have followed, whilst enlarging, the precedent set by Spenser. And although when single sonnets, especially if grand in style, are concerned, the pure Italian fashion is certainly the most effective, the most musical and shapely; yet, when placed in a sequence such as this, the monotony which besets that form may be avoided, whilst the system of the rhymes is rendered a little easier.

We have poets of wider sweep and greater power than Charles Tennyson, none more decisively original; in style he

is absolutely unlike his illustrious brother. His own phrase, "the single-hearted sonnet," is truly justified by his work; some of the sonnets, indeed, Alfred held "among the noblest "in our language." It is sad and strange that so sweet a singer, one who should be dear also for his brother's sake, should be neglected—and that, now when the great Voices are silent— not less than Barnes; although Tennyson does not offer the superficial difficulty of a rustic dialect. But Books also have their fates. Why, however, will readers turn to the literature "which can be enjoyed but once ".

Those gilded trifles of the hour,
Those painted nothings sure to cloy1-

from that which offers permanent truth to human nature, pathos, and beauty together?

1 S. T. Coleridge.



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RESERVING Some short notice of Alfred Tennyson's general position as poet for the close, let us begin at once with the landscape of his youthful work, and attempt the curious and interesting task of tracing its gradual development through sixty years and more.

We have the first instance in Claribel, that lovely song in which the natural details of a wild wood are subordinated to the Melody which the poet truly names it—

Where Claribel low-lieth

The breezes pause and die,
Letting the rose-leaves fall:
But the solemn oak-tree sigheth,
Thick-leaved, ambrosial,

With an ancient melody
Of an inward agony,
Where Claribel low-lieth.

If a little mannered, yet through its fullness of diction and resolution of every image into music, the poet's mature art is partially foreshadowed, as in the curious experiment named Leonine Elegiacs which follows, his varied metrical power and invention are youthfully prefigured

Winds creep; dews fall chilly in her first sleep earth breathes

Over the pools in the burn water-gnats murmur and mourn.
Sadly the far kine loweth : the glimmering water outfloweth :
Twin peaks shadow'd with pine slope to the dark hyaline.


Such poems as these come from what in his own phrase

-In my morn of youth

The unsunn'd freshness of my strength;

but greater power and art presently appear in the Mariana of the Grange. The details here are as numerous and as clearly delineated as in some early Italian or Flemish panel, yet all coloured by the human passion of the subject—

With blackest moss the flower-plots

Were thickly crusted, one and all :
The rusted nails fell from the knots
That held the pear to the gable-wall.

About a stone-cast from the wall

A sluice with blacken'd waters slept,
And o'er it many, round and small,

The cluster'd marish-mosses crept.
Hard by a poplar shook alway,

All silver-green with gnarléd bark:
For leagues no other tree did mark
The level waste, the rounding gray.

All day within the dreamy house,

The doors upon their hinges creak'd;
The blue fly sung in the pane; the mouse
Behind the mouldering wainscot shriek'd,
Or from the crevice peer'd about.

We may smile now at the pompous jocosity with which a review of the period set forth these lines for the reader's scorn. Yet it should be remembered that the style was then a wholly new thing in English art, and that he who thus comes forward must force his way if he wishes others to find it.

Indeed, Tennyson's skill was not yet certain; the Oriental picture which follows is so overwhelmed and overdone with luscious sweetness, splendour on splendour, that not one half,

but one-tenth, one might say, would be more than the whole.1 Nor was he quite master of his lovely instrument in the most complete topographical landscape which he left-the picture of his own home presented in the Ode to Memory, which, as a whole, is somewhat too dithyrambic. Thus the poet invokes her

Thou wert not nursed by the waterfall
Which ever sounds and shines

A pillar of white light upon the wall

Of purple cliffs, aloof descried :

Come from the woods that belt the gray hill-side,

The seven elms, the poplars four

That stand beside my father's door,

And chiefly from the brook that loves

To purl o'er matted cress and ribbéd sand,
Or dimple in the dark of rushy coves,
Drawing into his narrow earthen urn,
In every elbow and turn,

The filter'd tribute of the rough woodland,
O! hither lead thy feet!

Pour round mine ears the livelong bleat
Of the thick-fleecéd sheep from wattled folds,
Upon the ridgéd wolds,

When the first matin-song hath waken'd loud
Over the dark dewy earth forlorn,

What time the amber morn

Forth gushes from beneath a low-hung cloud.

Or, again, treating his descriptive power as really the work of "that great artist, Memory"—

Ever retiring thou dost gaze

On the prime labour of thine early days :
No matter what the sketch might be ;

1 M. Taine, a painstaking critic, somewhere about 1864, when engaged upon his review of English literature, remarked to me that Tennyson lived in great luxury during his youth. So far from this, I assured him that for several years he had gone through real poverty, and asked on what grounds M. Taine had formed his opinion. He answered: Upon his early poems, especially the Recollections of the Arabian Nights.—Such is subjective criticism !

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