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question. The eternity to which the friend specifically toward faith,
specifically toward faith, but toward belongs is concerned in the poet's present "higher things" (first stanza of I). experience of the good (CXXIX) and the
3. spiritual rock: This phrase beautiful (CXXX).
is applied by St. Paul to the Christ (First CXXIX. 3-4. O loved a higher: Corinthians, x, 4) in allusion to the rock Cf. the proem, lines 39-40. - In relation to from which Moses brought forth water in the section as a whole, this passage sug the wilderness (Numbers, XX, 11). Tengests:— the more the poet perceives the
nyson seems to have in mind only Moses' duality of life, — the eternal constantly rock, as symbol of men's spiritual barrenpresent to the temporal, and yet clearly different in quality, — the better he can
11-12. Until we close etc.: Cf. feel the nature of his friend, and love it. the mystic experience of XCV, 35-42. For the friend's nature is dual: he is at EPILOGUE. “The poem concludes,” said once an earthly being, remembered and Tennyson, "with the marriage of my understood, but now far off; and an eter youngest sister Cecilia. It was meant to nal being, not understood, but closely be a kind of Divina Commedia, ending present.
with happiness.” Is this a sufficient justi11-12. Behold I dream
fication, artistically, for the epilogue — is it world with thee: Cf. the last stanza of an organic part of “In Memoriam"? CXIV.
6. he: Hallam. The “dark CXXX. The question which troubled day” two lines below is that of his death. the poet when applied to the future (see
13-16. No longer caring etc.: XLVII) disappears here in the experience This stanza qualifies "love" (line 12). of the present. The "soul” has answered
bridal "by the thing itself that is inquired after" bower: alluding to Milton's “Paradise (Emerson: "The Over-Soul,” 17th para Lost," IV, 598 ff. graph). — This poem recalls “Adonais,'
34. He: Hallam again. stanzas XLII-XLIII (page 225); but Tenny
35. thee: the bridegroom, Edson's context, tone, and emphasis are quite mund Lushington. different from Shelley's.
50. on the dead: i.e., those bur10-12. My love is vaster pas ied beneath the church floor. sion etc.: Cf. the proem, lines 39-40.
115. friths: firths, narrow inlets CXXXI. This apostrophe is closely re
of the sea. lated to that of the four opening stanzas of
123. the vast: eternity - symthe proem: the “living will” and the
bolized, as so often in Tennyson, by the “Strong Son of God” are really identical.
ocean (line 121). 9. With faith that comes of
133. No longer half-akin to self-control: i.e., by exerting our higher brute: Cf. the last stanza of CXVIII. will in shaping our lives, we may win firm
137-140. Whereof the man etc.: faith in "one that with us works” (line 8) Cf. CXXIX, 11-12. and “the hands moulding men” (last
142. one element: one simple stanza of CXXIV). The idea is repeated, substance or essence. in Christian terms, in the proem, lines
143-144. And one 15-16. — The quest of faith that runs
tion moves: Cf. LIV. — But here, as the throughout “In Memoriam” culminates in
preceding stanzas show, the poet is thinkthe pregnant simplicity of this single verse.
ing more specifically of possible perfection It reminds us that some ways of faith
on earth. essayed by the poet proved unfirm; and that, on the other hand, many efforts at self-discipline and self-development, though CHARGE OF THE LIGHT not guided by faith, were laying a firm way
BRIGADE toward it (e.g., LXXXV, 49-52). Faith has been found at the top of the "stepping The episode occurred in the battle of stones” of effort that were directed, not Balaclava, 1854, early in the Crimean War
waged by England, France, and Turkey
MILTON against Russia.
This is one of Tennyson's various at
tempts to reproduce in English the effect of THE .BROOK
classical verse. “My Alcaics are not in
tended for Horation Alcaics. ... The Compare "In Memoriam," CI, 9-16.
Horatian Alcaic is perhaps the stateliest (363.) i. hern: heron. The "coot" is a metre in the world except the Virgilian duck-like bird.
hexameter at its best; but the Greek 7. thorps: hamlets, villages.
Alcaic, if we may judge from the two or 9. Philip's: Philip is a character in
three specimens left, had a much freer and the narrative poem from which this lyric is lighter movement" (Tennyson). taken.
Lines 1-8 allude to Book Sixth, and 19. fairy foreland: diminutive lines 9-16 to Book Fourth, of “Paradise (fairy-like) promontory.
Lost.' 31. water-break: ripple.
16. Whisper even: i.e., the 38. covers: coverts, thickets.
palm-woods tower up in the twilight.
COME INTO THE GARDEN
"Maud" (in which this song occurs) is
This alludes to the initial unpopularity, a poem of passion composed of lyrics that and to the later imitations, of Tennyson's progressively unfold a story. In these dra-poetic style. matic lyrics, “different phases of passion in one person, as Tennyson said, "take the
A DEDICATION place of different characters.” The “one person” is the hero, - of a high-strung, Addressed to the poet's wife, and pubsensitive disposition, a kind of minor
lished in the volume Enoch Arden, 1864. Hamlet, — who, before his devotion to
(366.) 7. the immeasurable world: eterMaud, is on the verge of madness or sui
nity. cide. The best side of his nature is ren
12. the fruit: of the European dered in the pure fervor of such a song as
euonymus or spindle-tree. the one here given. (364.) 892. To: For the syntax, cf. line 886.
From BALIN AND BALAN
For Tennyson's early interest in Arthu
rian romance, see “The Lady of Shalott" Notice the position of the “citadel” (line (page 301) and “Sir Galahad” (page 319). 9) and the “city” (line 20) in reference to His first Arthurian poem in blank verse the person described in each case.
was "Morte d'Arthur," which he com(365.) 14. suggesting: insinuating, seduc posed before October, 1834, but did not ing.
publish till 1842. It may be inferred that the death of Hallam, and his subsequent
years of brooding and discipline, and his IN THE VALLEY OF CAUTERETZ composition of “In Memoriam,” postponed
whatever plans he may have had for an The poem resulted from Tennyson's extensive treatment of the Round Table second visit to this beautiful valley in the legends. At length, in 1859, "Enid," Pyrenees, in 1861. "Two and thirty years "Vivien,” “Elaine,” and “Guinevere" apago” (line 6) – actually one and thirty, peared. Then came another ten years' ini.e., in 1830 — he had been there with tеrval, ending with “The Holy Grail," Hallam,
"The Coming of Arthur,” “Pelleas and
love of Lancelot and Guinevere, which is developed in the background throughout, comes eventually the chain of consequences forming the theme of “Guinevere” (page 366) and "The Passing of Arthur" (page 378), – the two closing idylls, and the strongest, in Tennyson's completed design.
A good introduction to them — for an obvious reason — is the present selection from the fifth idyll. In the sixth idyll, the power that Vivien calls “the fire of heaven” wins its first notable triumph over the Round Table idea, in Vivien's capture of Merlin, the King's wizard counsellor. For a fresh and vivid treatment of the same subject in recent poetry, read Mr. E. A. Robinson's "Merlin.".
Ettarre," and "The Passing of Arthur" (the last named being a reissue, with added introduction and conclusion, of the early “Morte d'Arthur”). In 1871 "The Last Tournament" followed, in 1872 "Gareth and Lynette," and finally, in 1885, "Balin and Balan.” The result could hardly be an epic with unified action, such as Tennyson's classical masters, or Milton, would have written; but rather, as his own term suggests, a series of idylls, or graceful, leisurely episodes, – affording ample opportunity for the poet's felicitous power of description and his command of the music of verse.
The twelve idylls are connected, however, by the central theme of Arthur's character and purposes. In Malory, he is the colorful king of romance, quite noble in nature but sharing the adventures and the human passions of his knights. In Tennyson, he is the temperate governor, refined and gracious, — nobly considerate in his treatment of those around him, but standing, as a rule, rather palely apart from their life. Broadly speaking, he embodies Tennyson's ideal (and, more less, the middle century's ideal) of the modern gentleman-statesman, who holds his spirit above the pulling, tangled forces of the age, and yet strives to shape that age toward fruitful order ever hoping that society may “make one music as before, but vaster.” (Review the passages expressing Tennyson's political and social outlook: e.g., "Love Thou Thy Land,” page 310; "In Memoriam,” CVI-CXIV, CXXVII. See also Wordsworth's “Blest Statesman,” page 55; Disraeli's “Wellington," page 300; etc.).
Tennyson felt the danger to modern society of the unloosed forces of wild idealism on the one hand and, on the other, of selfish desire. In the “Idylls of the King,” wild idealism takes the form, mainly, of the romantic-religious ecstasy, followed by sad disillusion, of the unfit knights who follow the quest of the Holy Grail, deserting their Round Table duties. (See the introductory note on "Sir Galahad," page 722, above). That wild ecstasy, from Arthur's standpoint, is kin and ally of the selfish desires which are mainly instrumental in wrecking the State. From the
A suggestive contrast to this piece is presented by William Morris's “Defence of Guenevere,” published in the preceding year. (366.) 5-8. Blurred by the creeping mist,
This physical atmosphere is maintained throughout the present poem and the first part of the next. (367.) 28. Enid: the loyal, patient, and pure heroine of the third and fourth idylls, “The Marriage of Geraint" and “Geraint and Enid.” lissome: lithesome, nimble. (368.) 127. weald: open country. (369.) 147. housel: administration of the Eucharist. (370.) 234. Lyonesse: a mythical region near Cornwall; see “The Passing of Arthur,” line 81 ff. (page 380). (371.) 289. Bude and Bos: small towns on the coast of Cornwall. (372.) 333-334. For manners noble mind: Cf. "In Memoriam," CXI, 13-16 (page 355). (373.) 395. The Dragon etc.: Regarding Arthur's father, we read in Geoffrey of Monmouth: “He was called Uther Pendragon, which in the British tongue signifies the dragon's head; the occasion of this appellation being Merlin's predicting, from the appearance of a dragon, that he should be king."
(377.) 597-601. The moony vapor, etc.:
NORTHERN FARMER Cf. lines 5-8. (378.) 668. Let no one dream etc.: echo Here also “The old order changeth, ing line 557.
yielding place to new” (line 408 of the preceding poem). — These two Northern
Farmer monologues should be read aloud, THE PASSING OF ARTHUR
successively, before being studied. The
Lincolnshire dialect (the rustic speech of Lines 170-440 were Tennyson's early | Tennyson's native county) has something “Morte d'Arthur” (see the first paragraph of the Scotch "broadness,” but also a deof the note under “From "Balin and
cided drawl. A drawling and slurred proBalan,' above. Compare Malory's
nunciation, not a sharp dieresis, is indicated Morte d'Arthur, Book XXI, Chapters 3-7,
by the two dots over the second of two on which this poem is based.
vowels, e.g., “aäle.” The pronouns "he" 14-17. As if some lesser god had
and “they,” sometimes “I,” are slurred into made the world etc.: Cf. "In Memo
“a;" “me” into "ma;" "him” into "um;" riam,” XXXIV, 5-8 (page 331).
Note also that oi=i (y); 76. this blind haze: See note to
ow=ou (as in “hour"). page 366, line 5-8, above. (380.) 119-120. .. Or: either .
OLD STYLE (381.) 180. the moon was full: See lines
liggin': lying. 124-125.
(387.) 10. ‘issèn: himself. (382.) 205. mere: lake (as in line 219).
II. toithe: tithe. This is the "great water” previously men
14. cast oop: cast up, confessed. — tioned (see lines 175-180). In the distance Marris: Morris. — barne: bairn, child. it opens upon the ocean (lines 466-467).
16. raäte: rate, poor tax. (383.) 278. conceit: conception, fancy.
18. bummin': buzzing, droning. — (384.) 312. samite: a heavy silk fabric, buzzard-clock: cockchafer. generally embroidered with gold.
27-28. I weänt saäy etc.: The 315. and lightly etc.: Contrast the farmer's underlying notion seems to be as movement of line 280.
follows:— The Parson may be sincere, in (385.) 366. three queens: See lines 452 spite of his smooth manner. And, in his
Malory says of the three queens: own place, he may have hold of the truth
was King Arthur's sister, Queen (lines 17-20). As he is not a hard worker, Morgan le Fay; the other was the Queen however, how can he know God's intenof Northgalis; the third was the Queen tion in regard to me? — But if it be true of the Waste Lands. Also there was that God is taking me, then he, like his Nimue, the chief lady of the lake,” etc. parson, is meddling in a practical matter (XXI, ch. 6).
that he doesn't understand (lines 43-52). 383. greaves and cuisses: armor for
30. boggle: bogey, goblin. the leg, below the knee and above the
31. butter-bump: bittern. knee.
32. stubbed: To stub a piece of 403. an image of the mighty world: land (“lot”) is to pull out the stubs or See "Guinevere,” lines 460-463 (page 374). tree-roots. — raäved an' rembled: tore up (386.) 427. Avilion: the Celtic equivalent (“rived”) and threw out. When he preof the classical Happy Isles (see note to pared the ground for cultivation, he got “Ulysses,” line 63, page 720, above). The rid of the bogey too. ensuing description is largely based on clas
33. Keäper's: i.e., it was the ghost sical rather than Celtic sources. With line of the keeper or game-warden of Thur431 compare Odyssey, X, 195.
naby "waste" (wild piece of woodland). 445. From the great deep, etc.:
34. 'enemies: anemones. "Merlin's song when he [Arthur] was
35. toäner: one or the other. born” (Tennyson).
36. 'soize: the assizes.
(387.) 38. fuzz: furze, also commonly known as gorse.
40. yows: ewes. (388.) 49. aäpoth: halfpennyworth.
52. hoälms: holms, level land on the banks of a stream.
53. quoloty: quality, gentry.
tion of him if we could fully understand and appreciate it. This we cannot do, because of the limitation of our faculties (lines 17-18): we fulfil our proper destiny when we catch “broken gleams” of God in Nature (lines 9-10). In the realm of the spirit, however, we can have direct contact with him (lines 11-12; cf. "In Memoriam,” CXXIV, page 358). (390.) 3-4. Is not the Vision He live in dreams: Though only a dream or appearance, the universe may transiently represent God to us.
THE VOICE AND THE PEAK
Higher and deeper than the vast flux of nature is the thought that can arise in a single man (line 32). (391.) 21-24. The deep has power etc.: The same Aux is touched upon in "In Memoriam,” XXXV, 9-12; CXXIII, 5-8. 35-36. Our hearing
not sight: Cf. “The Higher Pantheism,” lines 17-18.
To the old-style tenant farmer succeeds the new-style independent farmer with property interests - and different virtues! 5. a
to pluck: something awkward to settle (proverbial).
7. to weeäk: this week.
17. stunt: obstinate. (389.) 24. as 'ant nowt: that has nothing.
26. addle: earn.
31. grip: ditch for draining a field. - He's like a sheep on its back in the “ditch," unable to get up till somebody "lends a shove."
32. far-weltered: fow-weltered (said of a sheep lying on its back in a furrow).
38. burn: born.
40. the bees is as fell as owt: the fies are as fierce as anything.
41. esh: ash.
52. tued an' moiled: bestirred himself and toiled.
53. beck: brook.
54. Feyther run up: Father's property ran up.
55. brig: bridge.
The sea-fight occurred in September, 1591 (three years after the defeat of the Spanish Armada). Later in the same year a spirited account of it - which served Tennyson as basis for his poem — was published in a pamphlet by Grenville's cousin, Sir Walter Raleigh. — Sir Richard Grenville was serving as vice-admiral in the fleet of sixteen vessels which had been taken to the Azores by Lord Thomas Howard to intercept Spanish treasureships coming from America.
THE HIGHER PANTHEISM
This poem may be read as the poet's answer to such doubts as those expressed in "In Memoriam,” LV (page 336) concerning the divineness of Nature. The universe — though not to be identified with God, as in lower kinds of pantheism would be for us a true “Vision" or revela
Based on an incident which the poet had read in a penny magazine; see the Memoir of Tennyson, II, 249-251. The time of the story, as indicated under the title, is the eighteenth century when penal laws and religious dogmas were stricter. For the powerful suggestion of the title, see the story of Rizpah, a Biblical Niobe, in Secand Samuel, xxi, 1-14. — In form, this poem, like the “Northern Farmer, Old