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CHAPTER XI

TOUR IN CORNWALL AND THE
SCILLY ISLES

1860

So great had been the success of the first four Idylls of the King" that my father's friends begged him to continue the epic." He received a letter from the Duke of Argyll again urging him to take up as his next subject the Holy Grail, but he said he shunned handling the subject, for fear that it might seem to some almost profane. He answered:

MY DEAR DUKE,

1860.

I sympathised with you when I read of Macaulay's death in the Times. He was, was he not, your next-door neighbour? I can easily conceive what a loss you must have had in the want of his brilliant conversation. I hardly knew him: met him once, I remember, when Hallam and Guizot were in his company :

Hallam was showing Guizot the Houses of Parliament then building, and Macaulay went on like a cataract for an hour or so to those two great men, and, when they had gone, turned to me and said, "Good morning, I am happy to have had the pleasure of making your acquaintance," and strode away. Had I been a piquable man I should have been piqued, but I don't think I was, for the movement after all was amicable. Of the two books I should, I think, have chosen the Crabbe, though Macaulay's criticisms on poetry would be less valuable probably than his historical ones. Peace be

with him!

As to the Sangreal, as I gave up the subject so many long years ago I do not think that I shall resume it. You will see a little You will see a little poem of mine in the Cornhill Magazine. My friend Thackeray and his publishers had been so urgent with me to send them something, that I ferreted among my old books and found this "Tithonus," written upwards of a quarter of a century ago, and now queerly enough at the tail of a flashy modern novel. It was originally a pendent to the " Ulysses" in my former volumes, and I wanted Smith to insert a letter, not of mine, to the editor stating this, and how long ago it had been written, but he thought it would lower the value of the contribution in the public eye. Read in Browning's Men and Women "Evelyn Hope" for its beauty, and "Bishop Blougram's

1860

"BOADICEA"

Apology " for its exceeding cleverness, and I think that you will not deny him his own. The Cornhill Magazine gives a very pleasant account of Macaulay.

Yours ever, A. TENNYSON.

The Duke and the Duchess spent some days at Farringford, and were most emphatic that the "Grail" ought to be written forthwith. My father said that he was not "at present in the mood for it," and read aloud his "Boadicea,' which he had now quite finished. He gloried

in his new English metre, but he "feared that no one could read it except himself, and wanted some one to annotate it musically so that people could understand the rhythm." "If they would only read it straight like prose," he said, “just as it is written, it would come all right." Among other guests was Lord Dufferin, full of Cyril Graham's discoveries of the white marble cities in the black basaltic land of the Hauran with their inscriptions in an unknown tongue. Then the missionary Dr. Wolff stayed with us, recounting his hair-breadth escapes in Central Asia, and giving an awe-inspiring description of an earthquake in Bokhara.

It was not until August that my father was able to go on his summer tour to Cornwall and the Scilly Isles, in company with Woolner, Palgrave, Holman Hunt and Val Prinsep.

My father's letter-diary. Tour in Cornwall and the Scilly Isles

August 18th. All Souls' Reading Room, Oxford. Before my departure Palgrave called with his Syrian brother, a very interesting man in an Eastern dress with a kind of turban, having just escaped from his convent in the Syrian Deserts where several of his fellow monks were massacred. Palgrave is obliged to stop for a week at Hampstead till the brother goes to Paris, where he will have an interview with the Emperor on the affairs of the East. I started off alone, and I believe that in a week's time Holman Hunt, Val Prinsep and Frank Palgrave will join me at Penzance. Woolner, like a good fellow, followed me here yesterday that I might not feel lonely, and this morning we breakfasted with Max Müller, and are going to dine with him at 7.

August 21st. Bideford. We came here last night at 7 o'clock. I and Woolner are going down the coast to Tintagel, where we shall stop till the others join us.

August 23rd. Bude. Fine sea here, smart rain alternating with weak sunshine. Woolner is very kindly. We go off to-day to Boscastle which is three miles from Tintagel.

August 23rd. Arrived at Tintagel, grand

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coast, furious rain. Mr. Poelaur would be a good name to direct to me by.

August 25th. Tintagel. Black cliffs and caves and storm and wind, but I weather it out and take my ten miles a day walks in my weather-proofs. Palgrave arrived to-day.

To Hallam

TINTAGEL,

Aug. 25th, 1860.

MY DEAR HALLAM,

I was very glad to receive your little letter. Mind that you and Lionel do not quarrel and vex poor mamma who has lots of work to do; and learn your lessons regularly; for gentlemen and ladies will not take you for a gentleman when you grow up if you are ignorant. Here are great black cliffs of slaterock, and deep, black caves, and the ruined castle of King Arthur, and I wish that you and Lionel and mamma were here to see them. Give my love to grandpapa and to Lionel, and work well at your lessons. I shall be glad to find know more and more every day.

you

Your loving papa, A. TENNYSON.

August 28th. Tintagel. We believe that we are going to-morrow to Penzance, or in that direction. We have had two fine days and some exceedingly grand coast views. Here is an artist, a friend of Woolner's (Inchbold), sketching

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