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phrase, "Nature, red in tooth and claw with ravine". He puts it in another way:

The ptarmigan that whitens ere his hour,

Woos his own end.

The poet has got firm hold of the principle of protective coloration, and everything is grist that comes to his mill; he can turn all his knowledge to striking account.

There are still other aspects of science that Tennyson affects. In the next chapter we propose to deal with the higher animals, with Astronomy and Geology, all of which are fruitful in matter suitable for our inquiry.

CHAPTER IV

TENNYSON AS GEOLOGIST

TENNYSON was neither a traveller nor a sportsman, and, in consequence, he makes little mention of any of the mammalia that are not familiar to the habitual resident in England. He must have been a great reader, but he wisely refrained from allusions to animal life with which he himself had not come into direct contact. And although not a sportsman with gun or rod, yet living in constant intercourse with sporting Englishmen, he could not fail to be imbued with something of the sportsman's instincts and interests, and this is notably evident in his references to horses and dogs, especially the latter. Walter Scott was a born sportsman, and his poetry and his Waverley novels attest at every point this side of his nature-his love of dogs and horses, deer chases and otter hunts. Shakespeare, too, having been brought up in the country, knew the points of a good horse, was thoroughly familiar with the tricks of a hare,

and perhaps also was a deer poacher. But Tennyson, although he loves dogs of the more domestic type, gives no evidence that he ever followed a fox or a stag, or even spent a day in rabbit shooting. Indeed, that reference to the rabbit in Aylmer's Field, The rabbit fondles his own harmless face,

is not the description that would come to the pen of a rabbit-shooter. But he is at home in the woodlands and is keenly alive to the ways of the creatures that house there. Psyche, in The Princess, Veiled her brows, and prone she sank, and so

Like tender things that, being caught, feign death,
Spoke not nor stirr❜d.

This makes no specific mention of any animal, but the description will apply to the hedgehog and many others.

The hedgehog underneath the plantain bores,

shows personal observation at work, and, as usual, it is correct, the hedgehog loving a leafy covert in which to screen himself during the day.

Laid up like winter bats,

shows that he is familiar with the hibernating habit of these interesting creatures. He has made the

acquaintance of the badger

Live like an old badger in his earth,

With earth about him everywhere.

But to horses. Readers of The Brook will recall that charming episode of the colt which Philip Willows sold to the squire, a colt whose elaborate pedigree is so amusingly detailed. The whole passage is strikingly English, and could have been written only by a man who loves a good horse, and is fully in touch with the principle of heredity. So, as a specimen of the poet's familiarity with equine ways we may quote:

He laugh'd, and I, though sleepy, like a horse
That hears his corn bin open, prick'd my ears.

This and other references speak for themselves.

For still we moved

Together, twinn'd as horse's ear and eye.

Feeding like horses when you hear them feed.

Tennyson has studied the ways of dogs-their love of fighting, their attachment to man, their addiction to dreaming, their detestation of rats. He has even seen a litter of puppies and noted their characteristic trembling.

Then from the plaintive mother's teat he took
Her blind and shuddering puppies, naming each.

As the dog

With inward yelp and restless forefoot plies

His function of the woodland.

Like a dog, he hunts in dreams.

Scott, in the Lay of the Last Minstrel, had already used this observation :

The staghounds, weary with the chase,

Lay stretched upon the rushy floor,

And urged, in dreams, the forest race
From Teviotstone to Eskdale Moor.

Take next a graphic description of an interrupted

dog-fight

As the cur,

Pluckt from the cur he fights with, ere his cause

Be cool'd by fighting, follows, being named,
His owner, but remembers all and growls
Remembering.

In Geraint and Enid two spearmen advance,

Each growling like a dog, when his good bone
Seems to be pluck'd at by the village boys,
Who love to vex him eating, and he fears
To lose his bone, and lays his foot upon it,
Gnawing and growling.

This is a finely-worded description of a commonplace incident; still better is that vivid picture where Gawain, seeing a villainy done, forbore,

But in his heat and eagerness

Trembled and quivered, as the dog, withheld

A moment from the vermin that he sees
Before him, shivers, ere he springs and kills.

The foregoing passage makes it clear that Tennyson was present at a rat-worrying competition, perhaps in his undergraduate days at Cambridge.

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