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hunter. In the reaction of his thoughts how vividly is expressed the precious preëminence of European existence, with all its attendant evils ! “Fool, again the dream, the fancy! but I know my words are wild, But I count the gray barbarian lower than the Christian child. I to herd with narrow foreheads, vacant of our glorious gains, Like a beast with lower pleasures, like a beast with lower pains ! Mated with a squalid savage—what to me were sun or clime ? I the heir of all the ages, in the foremost files of timeI that rather held it better men should perish one by one, Than that earth should stand at gaze like Joshua's moon in Ajalon. Not in vain the distance beacons. Forward, forward, let us range, Let the great world spin forever down the ringing grooves of change. Through the shadow of the globe we sweep into the younger day: Better fifty years of Europe than á cycle of Cathay: Mother-Age! (for mine I knew not,) help, me as when life begun: Rift the hills, and roll the waters, flash the lightnings, weigh the sun0 I see the crescent promise of my spirit hath not set; Ancient founts of inspiration well through all my fancy yet."
Who shall say, after this, that Alfred Tennyson wants power? There speaks the man of this moving age. There speaks the spirit baptized into the great spirit of progress. In the silence of his meditative retreat the poet sees the world rolling before him, and is struck with the majesty of its mind subduing its physical mass to its uses, and trampling on time, space, and the far greater evils-prejudice, false patriotism, and falser ideas of glory. Brotherhood, peace, and comfort advance out of the school and the shop, and happiness sits securely beneath the guardianship of
“ The parliament of man, the federation of the world.” Alfred Tennyson has given many a fatal blow to many an old and narrow maxim in his poems; he has breathed into his latter ones the generous and the victorious breath of noblest philanthropy, the offspring of the great renovator -the Christian religion. This will give him access to the bosoms of the multitude“ Men our brothers, men the workers, ever reaping something new;"
and his vigorous song will cheer them at their toil, and nerve them to more glorious efforts. Of the hold which his poetry has already taken on the public heart, a striking instance was lately given. The anonymous author of The New Timon stepped out of his way and his subject to represent Tennyson's muse as a puling school-miss. The universal outburst of indignation from the press scared the opprobrious lines speedily out of the snarler's pages. A new edition was quickly announced, from which they had wisely vanished.
Perhaps, however, the crown of all Tennyson's verse is The Two Voices. I have said that he is not metaphysical. He is better. Leaving to others to build and rebuild theories of the human mind, Tennyson deals with its palpable movements like a genuine philosopher, and one of the highest order, a Christian philosopher. The Two Voices are the voice of an animated assurance in the heart, and the voice of skepticism, In this poem
there is no person
who has passed through the searching, withering ordeal of religious doubts and fears as to the spiritual permanence of our existence and who has not !- but will find in these simple stanzas the map and history of their own experience. The clearess, the graphic power, and logical force and acumen which distinguish this poem are of the highest order. There is nothing in the poems of Wordsworth which can surpass,
if it can equal it. Let us take, as our last quotation, the closing portion of this lyric, the whole of which can not be read with too much attention. Here the combat with Apollyon in the Valley of the Shadow of Death is most simply and beautifully put an end to by the buoyant spirit of nature, and man walking amid his human ties hand in hand with her and piety.
“The still voice laughed. “I talk,' said he,
Who sought'st to wreck my mortal ark ?
• Why not set forth if I should do This rashness,* that which might ensue With this old soul in organs new ? • Whatever crazy sorrow saith, No life that breathes with human breath Has ever truly longed for death. ''Tis life whereof our nerves are scant, Oh life, not death for which we pant; More life, and fuller that I want.' I ceased, and sate as one forlorn. Then said the voice in quiet scorn, • Behold, it is the Sabbath morn.' And I arose, and I released The casement, and the light increased With freshness in the dawning east. Like softened airs that blowing steal, When meres begin to uncongeal, The sweet church-bells began to peal. On to God's house the people pressed, Passing the place where each must rest, Each entered like a welcome guest. One walked between his wife and child, With measured footfall firm and inild, And now and then he gravely smiled. The prudent partner of his blood Leaned on him, faithful, gentle, good, Wearing the rose of womanhood. And in this double love secure, The little maiden walked demure, Pacing with downward eyelids pure. These three made unity so sweet, My frozen heart began to beat, Remembering its ancient heat. I blessed them, and they wandered on; I spoke, but answer came there none; The dull and bitter voice was gone. A second voice was at mine ear, A little whisper, silver-clear, A murmur. • Be of better cheer.'
As from some blissful neighborhood,
So much for the poetry, but still where is the poet? It may be supposed by what has already been said, that he is not very readily to be found. Next to nothing has yet been known of him or his haunts. It has been said that his poetry showed from internal evidence that he came somewhere out of the fens. In three fourths of his verses
there is something about “ glooming flats," “ the clustered marish-mosses," a poplar, a water-loving tree, that
“ Shook alway, All silver green with gnarled bark ; For leagues no other tree did mark
The level waste, the rounding gray."
“A sand-built ridge
The trenched waters run from sky to sky."
Long dim wolds ribbed with snow.
Willow, whiten, aspens shiver;" thorough fen-land objects ;
"A still salt pool, locked in with bars of sand;
Left on the shore." These images show a familiarity with fen-lands, and flat sea-coast, to a certainty; but Alfred Tennyson, after all, though a Lincolnshire man, is not a native of the fens. He was born near enough to know them well, but not in them. His native place is Somersby, a little village lying about midway between the market-towns of Spilsby and Horncastle, and containing less than a hundred inhabitants. His father, George Clayton Tennyson, LL.D., was rector of that and the adjoining parish of Enderby. He was a man of very various talents—something of a poet, a painter, an architect, and a musician. He was also a considerable linguist and mathematician. Dr. Tennyson was the elder brother of Mr. Tennyson d'Encourt, M.P. Alfred Tennyson, one of several children, was born at the parsonage at Somersby, of which a view stands at the head of this chapter. From the age of seven till about nine or ten, he went to the grammar-school of Louth, in the same county, and