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lines, the poem was designed to close upon the plain fact of death. Landor does not wish to suggest,
even if Elpenor does, the brighter Elysium distinguished (by Latin poets) from Hades in general, the dim region of the dead. For his attitude toward death expressed in propria persona, see "Death stands above me" (page 296) and other poems.
Three years before this poem appeared, the American poet Lowell published "Rhoecus," another rendering of
this fairy legend of old Greece, As full of gracious youth and beauty still As the immortal freshness of that grace Carved for all ages on some Attic frieze.”
IPHIGENEIA AND AGAMEMNON
The story of Iphigeneia was familiar tradition among the ancient Greeks, and is alluded to repeatedly in their literature. She was the daughter of Agamemnon, "king of men” (line 15) and leader of the expedition to Troy. While the Greek fleet was at Aulis, on the way to Troy, it was becalmed by the goddess Artemis (Diana), out of anger against Agamemnon because he had offended her. To appease her and so release the fleet, Agamemnon, following the advice of the seer Calchas, proceeds to offer his daughter as a sacrifice. It is the moment of final decision, with all the pathos and controlled passion accompanying it, that Landor, with his sculpturesque art, chose for his poem. The Greek legend goes on to tell how Artemis, at the sacrificial rites, put a hart in the place of Iphigeneia, and bore the maiden to Tauris, where she became the priestess of Artemis' temple. What would have been the effect if Landor had continued the story to this point? (289.) 26. laid down my hair: i.e., a lock of hair as a propitiatory offering to Artemis (Diana) before marriage; cf. line 33.
33. Hymen's: Hymen is the god of marriage.
34. those who mind us girls the most: those who have us most in their care, viz., Artemis and the nymphs (lines 27 and 30). 35. our
Athena: Athena (Minerva), goddess of wisdom, the favorite deity of the kingdom of Mycenae, over which Agamemnon ruled. (290.) 56. fillet: a leafy garland round the
worn at sacrifices by the priest and other participants.
Lowell was then a disciple of Keats, and he found in this legend just such a tale as Keats loved to tell with all his embroidery of delicate images and rhythms. Nymphs are everywhere in Keats's poetry; for the nymphs known as hamadryads, see the “Hymn to Pan,” lines 236-237 (page 236). Of Keats's poetic style, Landor said that it “is extremely far removed from the very boundaries of Greece"; Landor's own diction is unquestionably much nearer the Greek. In “The Hamadryad” his tone not infrequently recalls Keats; but in the outline of the story itself the poet follows faithfully the late Greek writers who had told it. The word “hamadryad” comes from two words meaning "with” and "tree," the nymph being the spirit of the tree, born with it and dying with it.
2. Gnidos, the light of Caria: Gnidos, or Cnidos, a celebrated seaport city of Caria in Asia Minor, to which travellers
the statue of Aphrodite by Praxiteles. The sea-waves are visible from the hills where Rhaicos was born.
6. rose and myrtle inborn: For “rose and myrtle” see note to page 287, line 2, above. — Inborn: native, of local origin.
7-10. If from Pandion etc.: If the festival rites were not local but derived from Athens — Pandion being a legendary king of Athens and Athena the special deity of that city — then the olive, sacred to Athena, was used, woven with violets clustered in regular masses (“bosses”).
12. one was their devotion: Aphrodite (Venus), the chief deity of the city. The power of Love is shown in the lines that follow.
(290.) 16. Poseidon
Re poems afford a suggestive contrast in pasmember that the “mutable” Aphrodite was
toral poetry. said to have been born by springing from the foam of the sea.
TO YOUTH 17-22. And whom his brother etc.: While Proserpine, a daughter of the The closing stanzas recall Moore's “Oft gods, was amusing herself by gathering in the Stilly Night” (page 97). Which is flowers round the plains of Enna, Pluto, the better poem? god of Hades, bore her away to be his
4. the Hours: As in “The Hamaqueen in the realms below.
Pluto, or dryad," line 243 (page 294). Dis, was the brother of Poseidon (Nep
9. befell: Used in the usual sense tune).
of "happened,” and also, as the next line 86. platan: plane-tree.
shows, in the literal sense of "fell" (on it). (291.) 94. Cydonian bow: bow from Cy- | This follows out the image in line 8. donia, in the island of Crete, famed for its archers. (292.) 117-118. the
Whence SO THEN, I FEEL NOT DEEPLY springs all beauty: the deities of nature. 126. Within it: in the moss (cf.
In his life of Landor, Sidney Colvin lines 56-58).
asks: "Did Landor then really, we cannot 131. Ye men below: See lines 24 help asking ourselves, feel very deeply the 29, 40-41.
breaking up of his beautiful Italian home 133-135. as she sate Before the
or not? A few years before he could not shepherd etc.: See the note to Tennyson's
bear his children to be out of his sight even “none," page 719, below.
for a day; did he suffer as we should have 147-148. now begins the tale etc.:
expected him to suffer at his total sepathe story he asked for previously (line
ration from them now? ... The same 120), but which he is still too enraptured
question which we have thus been led to to hear (line 154).
ask ourselves as to the depth or lack of (293.) 190. religion: old and sacred cus
depth in Landor's private and domestic tom.
feelings, seems to have been addressed to 205-206. but the nymph as oft in
him in person by some friend about this visible: Supply "was" before "invisible.”
time. Here is his reply:" — and the She rendered herself so whenever he came.
biographer quotes the present poem. (294.) 221.
Landor's “reply,” — if it is such, — sets lentisk ... oleander: fra
forth a view of the relation of experience grant shrubs. 243. the Hours: See note to page
and poetry that recalls Wordsworth's well.
known dictum, cited in the note to “I 204, line 37, above.
Wandered Lonely," page 661, above. 254-257. that light
(296.) 7. near Memory's These superb lines recall the lyric
shade: “Give me the Eyes” (page 286).
The remembrance of the grief
must be "near," i.e., keen, and yet quieter 261. anise cakes: cakes favored
than the grief itself. — The image as a with the seeds of the anise, a Mediter
whole is that of a brook which runs on, plant. — The checker-board, in place of nature's kindly fruits, is ominous!
from a steep gorge or the like, into a quiet
forest. (295.) 278-280. From that day --- insect wing: This is the reverse, so to speak, of his initial experience of the Hamadryad; LATELY OUR SONGSTERS see lines 49-52.
LOITERED 284. milk and honey: propitiatory offerings to the spirits of the wood. - The Compare the thought of "On 'The Helplain close of the narrative recalls Words 'lenics' (page 288). worth's “Michael" (page 29): these two (297.) 6. lissus: a river of Attica.
PART TWO: THE MIDDLE NINETEENTH CENTURY
JOHN HENRY NEWMAN for religion, Newman opposed himself (1801-1890)
with all the strength of his subtle mind, his
deep spiritual sense, and his winning per"We in Oxford,” wrote Matthew Ar
sonality. With Keble, Pusey, and others nold in Culture and Anarchy, "brought up he sought to reëstablish religion, within amidst the beauty and sweetness of that the Church of England, on a firm foundabeautiful place, have not failed to seize tion. “I had a supreme confidence in our one truth, — the truth that beauty and
cause; we were upholding that primitive sweetness are essential characters of a
Christianity which was delivered for all complete human perfection." To the
time by the early teachers of the Church, recognition of this truth Arnold attributes
and which was registered and attested in the strength of the "great movement which the Anglican formularies and by the Anglishook Oxford to its centre" in the 'thirties.
That ancient religion had “It was directed, as any one who reads
well-nigh faded away out of the land, Dr. Newman's Apology may see, against through the political changes of the last ... the great middle-class liberalism,
150 years, and it must be restored. It which had for the cardinal points of its would be in fact a second Reformation." belief the Reform Bill of 1832, and local As this reformation progressed, Newman self-government, in politics; in the social drew closer and closer to the Roman sphere, free-trade, unrestricted competi- Catholic Church, until, in 1845, he took the tion, and the making of large industrial decisive step of transferring his allefortunes; in the religious sphere, the Dis giance: "it was like coming into port after sidence of Dissent and the Protestantism
a rough sea.” His spiritual struggle had of the Protestant religion.” To this mid
come to an end. “From the time that I dle-class liberalism as well as to the ex became a Catholic, of course I have no pansive revolutionary spirit of the begin further history of my religious opinions to ning of the century, from which industrial
narrate." liberalism grew — many of the leading It was in prose--in his Apologia Pro minds of the Victorian age opposed them Vita Sua, his idea of a University, his selves; seeking, each in his own way, some works on church doctrine, and his remarkprinciple of control to give shape and di able sermons that Cardinal Newman rection to the intellectual and moral forces made his chief contribution to Victorian of the modern world.
literature. But the rare qualities of his One of these leading minds was New mind are also plainly present in his poems. man, whose task it was to combat the anarchic tendencies of the age within the sphere of religion. “My battle," he wrote THE PILLAR OF THE CLOUD in his spiritual autobiography, "was with liberalism; by liberalism I mean the anti This and the following poem Newman dogmatic principle and its developments. wrote at sea while returning from the ... Dogma has been the fundamental Mediterranean just before he threw his principle of my religion: I know no other energies into the Oxford Movement. “It religion; I cannot enter into the idea of is the voice," he said, “of one in darkness, any other sort of religion; religion, as a asking help from our Lord.” — For the mere sentiment, is to me a dream and a title see Exodus, XIII, 21-22. mockery.” To religion as a mere senti-' | (299.) 11. garish: glaring, gaudy. — This ment, and to rationalism as a substitute second stanza as a whole shows what "the
Written a few days after the preceding DISRAELI: WELLINGTON poem, this reads like a necessary sequel and complement. As the first poem is an Compare the three last sonnets from expression of his emotional and mystic Wordsworth (pages 55-56), which were faith, so this poem is an expression of his written not long before the present one. austere ethical effort, without which At this time, Benjamin Disraeli (1804"brightest transports” and “choicest pray 1881), through pen and politics, was ers” are wanting in fruit. Note that the advancing the idea of so-called “Tory image implied in the title and four opening democracy”: namely, that the government words is effectively resumed in the last should be conservative in form, but line.
widely serviceable to the people. He
and others of his generation distrusted TRENCH: RETIREMENT political revolutionism as a means of prog
ress, and believed in a strong central gorLater Archbishop of Dublin, Richard
ernment that could hold the respect and Chenevix Trench as a Cambridge under imagination of the people. (This side of graduate belonged with Tennyson and Disraeli is well brought in P. E. More's others to the club of “The Apostles.” But
Aristocracy and Justice.) But such a govhe differed on the subject of religion from
ernment, he thought, must abandon the fahis companions. The free-thinking of vorite doctrine of "laissez-faire” and prothese young liberals seemed to him often
vide measures of social and industrial reloose, and fraught with dangerous conse form. quences. He was respected by them for
The Duke of Wellington, whose defeat his generous ardor and strength of char
of Napoleon at Waterloo is referred to in acter. Compare the opening lines of this
the opening lines, was disliked by radicals and the preceding poem.
for his Toryism. But his character, as the sonnet suggests, exerted a strong in
fluence during his old age. His death a WADE: THE TRUE MARTYR
later (1852) was This sonnet, like the preceding, points to
rated by Tennyson's "Ode,” and by Longthe goal of spiritual integrity, but pro
fellow's "Warden of the Cinque Ports." poses a very different road to it. In each case, just what obstacles is the soul re ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON quired to face and to overcome?
(1809-1892) (300.) 6-7. The fulness
and thrills: Cf. Epistle to the Romans, VIII, "The King is dead, long live the King!" 22, and context. But in this poem the sub - When Byron died in 1824, Alfred ject is given a turn of thought and expres- | Tennyson, then a youth of fifteen, “thought sion foreign to St. Paul, and character the whole world was at an end; I thought istic of the nineteenth century.
everything was over and finished for every13-14. I'hose thought Cran one — that nothing else mattered. I remer's heart: The story was that after member I walked out alone and carved the brave and energetic Archbishop Cran Byron is dead' into the sandstone." Keats mer was burned for heresy, in 1556, his was dead, Shelley was dead, Coleridge had heart was found entire among the ashes. ceased to count as a poet, Scott had turned But here, through the expression “perfect to the novel, Wordsworth's poetic energy
had ebbed : so that with the death of Byron development. The years that followed the last of the kings of the romantic were a time of absorption and reflection. dynasty had gone, and a new age waited Richly endowed by nature, Tennyson now for its leader and spokesman. That leader disciplined himself and his art by studying and spokesman was destined to be Tenny the ancient classics and English literature, son himself. In 1827, three years after by reshaping his own early poems, by workByron's death, Alfred and Charles Tenny- | ing hard at new compositions, and most son published a volume of somewhat By- of all, probably, by attempting to relate his ronic Poems by Two Brothers. In 1830, mind and spirit to the ultimate mysteries Alfred published Poems, Chiefly Lyrical; of life as these appeared in the new age in 1832, Poems; and in 1842, Poems in two that followed the romantic revival. It is volumes. With the publication of the last with a profounder art and a profounder of these collections, a new king of poetry message that he comes before the public had assumed the throne.
once more in the 1842 Poems: “Morte His childhood and boyhood had been d'Arthur" (later republished as “The spent at Somersby Rectory in Lincolnshire, Passing of Arthur,” page 378), “Ulysses" amid peaceful English landscapes that im (page 311), "Locksley Hall" (page 314), printed themselves on his mind and heart, "Sir Galahad” (page 319), “Break, Break, and not far from the North Sea coast, Break” (page 320), and others. Such whose waves were to sound again and poems as these mark an extraordinary adagain in his poems. Instructed for years vance over the prettiness and sweetness of by his father, Tennyson had a sound his earlier work. The volumes were repreparatory training, and in 1828 entered ceived with acclaim, and henceforth TennyTrinity College, Cambridge. Here he be son had only to pass from triumph to came one of twelve young literary enthu triumph. siasts known as “The Apostles," another During the half century that followed of whom was Arthur Henry Hallam, de from the Poems of 1842 to his death in scribed in In Memoriam as “the master 1892–Tennyson's biography is mainly an bowman of the group.” “The effects pro account of the volumes that he published. In duced on the minds of many at Cam 1847 came The Princess, to which he later bridge,” Arthur Hallam wrote in a letter, added the exquisite lyrics (pages 320-321) “by the single creation of that Society of that surpass the poem in which they were 'Apostles' is far greater than I dare to cal imbedded; in 1850, the year of his marculate, and will be felt both directly and riage and of his succession to the Laureateindirectly in the age that is upon us.” The ship, In Memoriam (this was his annus dozen friends were interested in far more mirabilis); in 1855, Maud, containing than poetry; as Tennyson's son reports, "Come into the Garden” (page 363); in they “read their Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, 1859, Idylls of the King, added to in later Butler, Hume, Bentham, Descartes, and years; in 1864, Enoch Arden, with "The Kant, and discussed such questions as the Northern Farmer” (page 386); in 1875, Origin of Evil, the Derivation of Moral Queen Mary, followed by half a dozen Sentiments, Prayer, and the Personality of other plays; in 1880, Ballads and Other God.” While in college, Tennyson won Poems, including "The Revenge" (page the Newdigate prize with a poem in blank 391), "Rizpah” (page 394), etc.; in 1885 verse on “Timbuctoo;" and, in his Poems, and after, several volumes, containing some Chiefly Lyrical, gave promise of greater of his finest work, the mature fruit of long things. Leaving Cambridge in 1831, experience, such as "To Virgil” (page 396) Tennyson spent most of the next two years and "Crossing the Bar" (page 403). (partly in travel in the Pyrenees and on the Rhine) with Arthur Hallam, who died THE LADY OF SHALOTT in 1833. The early death of his dearest friend,
In this, his first venture into the great “as near perfection as mortal could be,' realm of Arthurian legend, Tennyson signalized a turning-point in Tennyson's made use (if a statement by Palgrave may