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his busy life he spent in retirement on the Isle of Wight, and more recently at Petersfield in Hampshire. He was greatly beloved by the circle of friends he admitted into his intimacy: but the greater portion of his time was spent among his books and flowers. In 1855 appeared "Maud, and Other Poems." The principal poem in this volume has much divided critical opinion, but it is safe to say that it falls below his usual high achievement. The meaning of the poem, as explained by the poet himself, is the reclaiming power of love: "It is the story of a man who has a morbid nature, with a touch of inherited insanity, and very selfish. The poem is to show what love does for him. The war is only an episode. You must remember that it is not I myself speaking. It is this man with the strain of madness in his blood, and the memory of a great trouble and wrong that has put him out with the world.” 1

"The Brook" is a charming idyl, containing a delicious, rippling inter-lyric:

"I come from haunts of coot and hern,

I make a sudden sally,

And sparkle out among the fern,
To bicker down a valley."

Whatever doubts touching the poet's genius may have been started by "Maud," they were forever cleared away in 1859 by the appearance of the "Idyls of the King." These poems were received with enthusiasm. Consisting at first of only fourEnid, Vivien, Elaine, and Guinevere- the poet afterwards wrought in the same field, until his ten idyls constitute a great epic poem. "Nave and transept, aisle after aisle," to use the language of Stedman, "the Gothic minster has extended, until, with the addition of a cloister here and a chapel yonder, the structure stands complete." These "Idyls" embody the highest poetic achievement of Tennyson's genius, and belong to the mountain summits of song. Brave knights, lovely women, medieval splendor, undying devotion, and heart-breaking tragedies, are all portrayed with the richest poetic art 1 Century Magazine, February, 1893.

and feeling. Unlike the "Iliad" or "Paradise Lost," which appeal to us largely through their grandeur, the "Idyls of the King" possess a deep human interest. They arouse our sympathies. We weep for Elaine, "the lily maid of Astolat," the victim of a hopeless love for Lancelot. How worthy of his praise!

"Fair she was, my King,

Pure, as you ever wish your knights to be.

To doubt her fairness were to want an eye,

To doubt her pureness were to want a heart

Yea, to be loved, if what is worthy love

Could bind him, but free love will not be bound."

The agonies of Arthur and Guinevere at Almesbury go to the heart: :

"Lo! I forgive thee, as Eternal God

Forgives; do thou for thine own soul the rest.
But how to take last leave of all I loved?
O golden hair, with which I used to play,
Not knowing! O imperial-moulded form,
And beauty such as never woman wore,
Until it came a kingdom's curse with thee.
I can not touch thy lips, they are not mine,
But Lancelot's: nay, they never were the King's.

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My love thro' flesh hath wrought into my life
So far, that my doom is, I love thee still.
Let no man dream but that I love thee still.
Perchance, and so thou purify thy soul,
And so thou lean on our fair father Christ,
Hereafter in that world where all are pure,
We two may meet before high God, and thou
Wilt spring to me, and claim me thine, and know
I am thine husband - not a smaller soul,

Nor Lancelot, nor another. Leave me that,

I charge thee, my last hope."

How beautiful the words of Arthur, as he seeks in his last moments to comfort the lonely and grief-stricken Sir Bedi


"The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
And God fulfils himself in many ways,

Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.
Comfort thyself: what comfort is in me?

I have lived my life, and that which I have done
May he within himself make pure! but thou,

If thou shouldst never see my face again,

Pray for my soul. More things are wrought by prayer
Than this world dreams of.

I am going a long way
With these thou seest -if indeed I go

(For all my mind is clouded with a doubt)—

To the island valley of Avilion;

Where falls not hail, or rain, or any snow,
Nor ever wind blows loudly; but it lies

Deep-meadow'd, happy, fair with orchard lawns
And bowery hollows crown'd with summer sea."

In 1864 appeared "Enoch Arden," a work of great beauty. It depicts with deep pathos the heroism to be found in humble life. Beauty, pathos, heroism - these are qualities that give it high rank, and have made it perhaps the most popular of all Tennyson's writings. Human nature is portrayed at its best; and like all our author's poetry, "Enoch Arden "unconsciously begets faith in man, and makes us hopeful of the future of our


Of Tennyson's other works we cannot speak. It is enough to say that they add nothing to his fame.

The quiet beauty of his death formed a fitting close to his long and uneventful career. On the evening of the 6th of October, 1892, the soul of the great poet passed away. The prayer he had breathed two years before in the little poem Crossing the Bar," was answered:


"Sunset and evening star,

And one clear call for me!

And may there be no moaning of the bar

When I put out to sea.

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,

Too full for sound and foam,

When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,

And after that the dark!

And may there be no sadness of farewell
When I embark.

For tho' from out our bourn of Time and Place

The flood may bear me far,

I hope to see my Pilot face to face

When I have crossed the bar."

He was entombed by the side of Chaucer in Westminster Abbey, while two continents were lamenting his death.

Whatever changes of taste or fashion may hereafter come in poetry, surely we are justified in believing that Tennyson will continue to hold a high rank. There is nothing in his character to detract from his reputation as a poet. Though we know comparatively little of his life, we clearly read his character in his works. He commands our confidence and reverent regard. Without exhibiting heroic traits, for which there was no special occasion, he appears to us as a man of exquisite and healthful culture. While tenderly sensitive to all that is beautiful in nature and humanity, he possessed profound ethical feeling and spiritual insight. Keenly sympathetic with the eager and restless search after truth characteristic of our time, he avoided its dangers, and continued a strong and trustworthy teacher, inspiring confidence in man, hope in the future, and faith in God.


ELAINE the fair, Elaine the lovable,

Elaine, the lily maid of Astolat,

High in her chamber up a tower to the east
Guarded the sacred shield of Lancelot;

Which first she placed where morning's earliest ray
Might strike it, and awake her with the gleam;
Then, fearing rust or soilure, fashion'd for it
A case of silk, and braided thereupon
All the devices blazon'd on the shield
In their own tinct, and added, of her wit,
A border fantasy of branch and flower,
And yellow-throated nestling in the nest.
Nor rested thus content, but day by day,

Leaving her household and good father, climb'd
That eastern tower, and, entering, barr'd her door,
Stript off the case, and read the naked shield,
Now guess'd a hidden meaning in his arms,
Now made a pretty history to herself

Of every dint a sword had beaten in it,
And every scratch a lance had made upon it,
Conjecturing when and where: this cut is fresh;
That ten years back; this dealt him at Carlyle;
That at Carleon; this at Camelot :

And ah, God's mercy, what a stroke was there!
And here a thrust that might have kill'd, but God
Broke the strong lance, and roll'd his enemy down,
And saved him: so she lived in fantasy.

How came the lily maid by that good shield
Of Lancelot, she that knew not ev'n his name?
He left it with her when he rode to tilt
For the great diamond in the diamond jousts
Which Arthur had ordain'd, and by that name
Had named them, since a diamond was the prize.

For Arthur, long before they crown'd him king,
Roving the trackless realms of Lyonnesse,




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