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sive, half rollicking, wholly poetic com-chronisms and impossibilities of the story position, dear to wits and dreamers, "Will seem not only lawful, but attractive. Like Waterproof's Lyrical Monologue." In this those of Shakespeare's comedies, they incollection, too, we find his early experi- vite the reader off-hand to a purely ideal ments in the now famous measure of In world; he seats himself upon an English Memoriam." Purest and highest of all the lawn, as upon a Persian enchanted carpet lyrical pieces are "St. Agnes" and "Sir-hears the mystic word pronounced, and, Galahad," full of white light, and each a presto! finds himself in fairy-land. Morestainless idealization of its theme. "Sir over, Tennyson's special gift of reducing Galahad" must be recited by a clarion incongruous details to a common structure voice, ere one can fully appreciate the and tone is fully illustrated in a poem sounding melody, the knightly, heroic made ring. The poet has never chanted a more ennobling strain.
Such is the excellence, and such the unusual range of a volume in which every department of poetry, except the dramatic, is exhibited in great perfection, if not at the most imaginative height. To the author's students it is a favorite among his books, as the one that fairly represents his composite genius. It powerfully affected the rising group of poets, giving their work a tendency which established its general character for the ensuing thirty years.
There comes a time in the life of every aspiring artist, when if he be a painter, he tires of painting cabinet-pictures-however much they satisfy his admirers;-if a poet, he says to himself: "Enough of lyrics and idyls; let me essay a masterpiece, a sustained production, that shall bear to my former work the relation which an opera or oratorio bears to a composer's sonatas and canzonets." It may be that some feeling of this kind impelled Tennyson to write "The Princess," the theme and story of which are both his own invention. At that time he had not learned that it is as well for a poet to borrow from history or romance a tale made ready to his hands, and which his genius must transfigure. The poem is, as he entitled it, "A Medley," constructed of ancient and modern materials-a show of medieval pomp and movement, observed through an atmosphere of latterday thought and emotion; so varying, withal, in the scenes and language of its successive parts, that one may well conceive it to be told by the group of thoroughbred men and maidens who, one after another, rehearse its cantos to beguile a festive summer's day. I do not sympathize with the criticisms to which it has been subjected upon this score, and which is but the old outcry of the French classicists against Victor Hugo and the romance school. The poet, in his prelude, anticipates every stricture, and to me the ana
to suit with Time and place,
This were a medley! we should have him back
But not often has a lovelier story been recited. After the idyllic introduction, the body of the poem is composed in a semiheroic verse. Other works of our poet are greater, but none is so fascinating as this romantic tale: English throughout, yet combining the England of Coeur de Leon with that of Victoria in one bewitching picture. Some of the author's most delicately musical lines,-"jewels five words long," are herein contained, and the ending of each canto is an effective piece of
The tournament scene, at the close of the fifth book, is the most vehement and rapid passage to be found in the whole range of Tennyson's poetry. By an approach to the Homeric swiftness, it presents a contrast to the laborious and faulty movement of much of his narrative verse. The songs, added in the second edition of his poem, reach the high-water mark of lyrical composition. Few will deny that, taken together, the five melodies: "As through the land," "Sweet and low," "The splendor falls on castle walls," "Home they brought her warrior dead,” and “Ask me no more!" that these constitute the finest group of songs produced in our century; and the third, known as the "Bugle Song," seems to many the most perfect English lyric since the time of Shakespeare. In "The Princess" we also find Tennyson's most successful studies upon the model of the Theocritan isometric verse. He was the first to enrich our poetry with this class of melodies, for the burlesque pastorals of the eighteenth century need not be considered. Not one of
the blank-verse songs in his Arthurian Epic equals in structure or feeling the "Tears, idle tears," and "O swallow, swallow, flying, flying south!" Again, what witchery of landscape and action; what fair women and brave men, who, if they be somewhat stagy and traditional, at least are more sharply defined than the actors in our poet's other romances. Besides, "The Princess" has a distinct purpose the illustration of woman's struggles, aspirations and proper sphere; and the conclusion is one wherewith the instincts of cultured people are so thoroughly in accord, that some are used to answer, when asked to present their view of the "woman question:" "You will find it at the close of 'The Princess.'" Those who disagree with Tennyson's presentation acknowledge that if it be not true it is well told. His Ida is, in truth, a beautiful and heroic figure:
In the youth of poets it is the material value of their work that makes it precious, and for certain gifts of language and color we esteem one more highly than another. When a sweet singer dies prematurely, we lament his loss; but in a poet's later years character and intellect begin to tell. His other gifts being equal, he who has the more vigorous mind will draw ahead of his fellows, and take the front position. Tennyson, like Browning, Procter, Arnold, has that which Keats was bereft of, and which Wordsworth possessed in full measure-the gift of years, and must be judged according to his fortune. In mental ability he comes near to the greatest of the five, and in synthetic grasp, surpasses them all. Arnold's thought is wholly included in Tennyson; if you miss Browning's psychology, you find a more varied analysis, qualified by wise restraint. His intellectual
growth has steadily progressed, and is reflected in the nature of his successive poems.
At the age of forty a man, blessed with a sound mind in a sound body, should reach the maturity of his intellectual power. At such a period, in the year 1850, Tennyson produced "In Memoriam," his most characteristic and significant work: not so ambitious as his epic of King Arthur, but more distinctively a poem of this century, and displaying the author's genius in a subjective form. In it are concentrated his wisest reflections upon life, death, and immortality, the worlds within and without, while the whole song is so largely uttered, and so pervaded with the singer's manner, that any isolated line is recognized at once. This work stands by itself: none can essay another upon its model, without yielding every claim to personality and at the risk of an inferiority that would be appalling. The strength of Tennyson's intellect has full sweep in this elegiac poem-the great threnody of our language, by virtue of unique conception and power. "Lycidas,' with its primrose beauty and varied lofty flights, is but the extension of a theme set by Moschus and Bion. Shelley, in "Adonais," despite his spiritual ecstacy and splendor of lament, followed the same masters
yes, and took his landscape and imagery from distant climes. Swinburne's dirge for Baudelaire is a wonder of melody; nor do we forget the "Thyrsis " of Arnold, and other modern ventures in a direction where the sweet and absolute solemnity of the Saxon tongue is most apparent. Still, as an original and intellectual production, "In Memoriam " is beyond them all and a more important, though possibly no more enduring, creation of rhythmic art.
The metrical form of this work deserves attention. The author's choice of the transposed-quatrain verse was a piece of good fortune. Its hymnal quality, finely exemplified in the opening prayer, is always impressive, and, although a monotone, no more monotonous than the sounds of
nature-the murmur of ocean, the soughing of the mountain pines. Were " In Memoriam" written in direct quatrains 1 think the effect would grow to be unindurable. The work as a whole is built up of successive lyrics, each expressing a single phase of the poet's sorrow-brooding thought; and here again is followed the method of nature, which evolves cell after cell, and, joining each to each, constructs
the sentient organization. But Tennyson's art-instincts are always perfect; he does the fitting thing, and rarely seeks through eccentric and curious movements to attract the popular regard.
As to scenery, imagery, and general treatment, "In Memoriam is eminently a British poem. The grave, majestic, hymnal measure swells like the peal of an organ, yet acts as a brake on undue, spasmodic outbursts of discordant grief. A steady, yet varying marche funèbre; a sense of passion held in check, of reserved elegiac power. For the strain is everywhere calm even in rehearsing a by-gone violence of emotion, along its passage from woe to desolation and anon, by tranquil stages, to reverence, thought, aspiration, endurance, hope. On sea and shore the elements are calm; even the wild winds and snows of winter are brought in hand, and made subservient, as the bells ring out the dying year, to the new birth of Nature and the sure purpose of eternal God.
Critical objections are urged against "In Memoriam;" mostly, in my opinion, such as more fitly apply to poems upon a lower grade. It is said to present a confusion of religion and skepticism, an attempt to reconcile faith and knowledge, to blend the feeling of Dante with that of Lucretius; but, if this be so, the author only follows the example of his generation, and the more faithfully gives voice to its spiritual questionings. Even here he is accused of "idealizing the thoughts of his contemporaries;" to which we rejoin, in the words of another, "that great writers do not anticipate the thought of their age; they but anticipate its expression." His scientific language and imagery are also censured, but do not his efforts in this direction, tentative as they are, constitute a special merit? Failing, as others have, to reconcile poetry and metaphysics, he succeeds better in speculations inspired by the revelations of the lens and laboratory. Why should not such facts be taken into account? The phenomenal stage of art is passing away, and all things, even poetic diction and metaphor, must endure a change. It is absurd to think that a man like Tennyson will rest content with ignoring or misstating what has become every-day knowledge. The spiritual domain is still the poets own; but let his illustrations be derived from living truths, rather than
from the worn and ancient fables of the pastoral age. A certain writer declares that Tennyson shows sound sense instead of imaginative power. Not only sense, methinks, but "the sanity of true genius;' and the Strephon-and-Chloë singers must change their tune, or be left without a hearing. A charge requiring more serious consideration is that the sorrow of "In Mememoriam " is but food for thought, a passion of the head, not of the heart. poet, however, has reached a philosophical zenith of his life, far above ignoble weakness, and performs the office which an enfranchised spirit might well require of him : building a mausoleum of immortal verse, -conceiving his friend as no longer dead, but as having solved the mysteries they so often have discussed together. If there is didacticism in the poem, it is a teaching which leads ad astra, by a path strictly within the province of an elegiac minstrel's song.
For the rest," In Memoriam " is a serene and truthful panorama of refined experiences; filled with pictures of gentle, scholastic life, and of English scenery through. all the changes of a rolling year; expressing, moreover, the thoughts engendered by these changes. When too somber, it is lightened by sweet reminiscences; when too light, recalled to grief by stanzas that have the deep solemnity of a passing bell. Among its author's productions it is the one most valued by educated and professional readers. Recently, a number of authors having been asked to name three leading poems of this century which they would most prefer to have written, each gave “In Memoriam " either the first or second place upon his list. Obviously it is not a work to read at a sitting, nor to take up in every mood, but one in which we are sure to find something of worth in every stanza. It contains more notable sayings than any other of Tennyson's poems. The wisdom, yearnings, and aspirations of a noble mind, are here; curious reasoning for once is not out of place; the poet's imagination, shut in upon itself, strives to irradiate with inward light the mystic problems of life. At the close, Nature's eternal miracle is made symbolic of the soul's palingenesis, and the tender and beautiful epithalamium tranquilizes the reader with the thought of the dear common joys which are the heritage of every living kind.
END OF PART I.
THE DOCTOR'S WIFE.
to be in high good humor with her lot in life, stupidity and squint included. A certain indefinable something about the girl, would prevent any one from hinting a disagreeable truth to her. The same impalpable reserve or old fashioned courtesy in her too, made the boys who skated and raced with her treat her with a respect which they did not show to the Lilys and Violets. Her condition on graduation-day would have been pitiable if her placid good humor had not made it exasperating. One of the class was going to sail as missionary to Africa: we all made a heroic martyr of her; we all looked forward with hysteric enthusiasm to speedily becoming famous authors, leaders in society, or at least, wives and mothers. Trustees and faculty spoke and prayed at us, the very air kindled with hope and fervor; and there sat that plump little dunce at the foot of the bench, smelling a bunch of the red Burgundy roses, of which she was so fond, quite contented to be a cipher now and in the future!
DR. Noyes married, I think, somewhere about '68 or '9. There is very little to be said about his wife. Mrs. Sarah Fanning, indeed, gave a decisive verdict upon her at first sight. She is one of the rank and file of Humanity," said she; "one of the weightless molecules that go to make up the mass. (Mrs. Fanning was that brilliant little woman from Andover, Mass., who essayed to take the well known Mrs. Rush's place in Philadelphia that winter. She used to give weekly reunions-without supper; she cannot understand, even now, why she could not "form a literary nucleus" there.) Nobody contradicted her verdict; she always claimed Humanity as her own preëmpted property; and besides, there really was so little to say about the Doctor's wife! Mrs. Fanning remarked that "an American woman, if no other, ought to have some salient points, good or bad, to justify her right to live, and this woman was an American of the Americans, descended on one side from a colonial Maryland family, and on the other, of Pennsylvania Quaker stock, a race of reformers, who lived only for great ideas. But there was absolutely nothing in the creature-nothing! It was inexplicable, by all the rules of race!" The little lady's speciality, by the bye, was "race" and "strains of blood." She could lay her finger on the very great-grandfather from whom you inherited your long upper-lip or gluttonous propensities, and reason for you, out of these inheritances, such sequences of fatalism that your Christianity tottered quite to its foundations.
Now there had been no salient points about the Doctor's wife when she was a fat baby, or a girl at school. Dode Mear was daily set down as a dunce in every class, from spelling up to International Law, and daily took up her book with a cheerful "It really is too bad in me," and went out with fresh zeal to skate and run races with the boys. If she had been one of the delicate "Lilys" and "Violets" whom the other girls set apart to adore, her lack of brains could have been overlooked; but she was a short, thickset little body, with a shock of red hair tied back from a freckled face which was lighted by laughing blue eyes, -eyes in which there was an undeniable cast. She never, however, gave a hint of her opinion of herself, and always seemed
Here she was again, Dr. Noyes's wife, shapeless and freckled and bright-eyed as ever: but the ugly hair was always delicately coiffured, and her simple dress a marvel of exquisite art. She did not care in the least that everybody believed that she had sold herself for an establishment. Why else should a girl of her age marry a cynical, soured widower of fifty, with a half dozen hobble-de-hoys of sons? "Dr. Noyes," Mrs. Fanning said, "was an ambitious man, thwarted in his aims, by the drudgery of supporting a family. He should have chosen an intellectual woman as his second wife, who could have helped him to regain his lost ground."
The Doctor's mistake was soon apparent in his wife's course. The faded carpets and hair-cloth sofas were swept out of the dreary old house. The money spent in making it bright and pretty, as Mrs. Fanning said, would have kept open a soup house all winter: Noyes's old friends, instead of smoking their meerschaums in his dusty office, came in now to cozy dinners, where each man found his favorite dish: his wife had a fine taste in cookery, it appears: in that, as in every thing else she took life with zest and joyously: the Noyes boys, who had begun to hang around Variety theatres and engine-houses, gave a
series of dancing parties and private theatricals at home, to which girls of their own class came. Now all these things bring in bills: the Doctor's long hoarded money was spent like water. It was an inscrutable mystery to our society leaders why he and his boys, and in fact, all other men, clustered around Mrs. Dode, as they called her, affectionately, like bees about honey. She never said anything worth remembering for five minutes: she made no professions of love or friendship. Some of us, who remembered how the whole school used to pause to hear her read her Bible verse, thought the charm lay in her pleasant voice, or could there be any magic in the clean, spicy scent of Burgundy roses with which the house was always filled? The men, when questioned, really seemed to have no definite idea of the woman: one "liked her because she was quiet," another "because "her hand-shake was as firm and genuine as a man's," another for her merry laugh. In the meantime they all carried their secrets to her: the very classmates of the Noyes boys wrote to her about their college scrapes that she might see father and mother about it, and beg them off." She had a queer "following" of women too, shabby widows and fashionable belles and poor sempstresses-you were just as likely to find one at her table as. the other. She had not the least perception of class distinctions, owing perhaps to those Quaker grandfathers who measured the world and all in it by ideas. She had, too, different rates of value from ours with regard to other things. Mrs. Fanning unconsciously ranked herself high in the scale of being because of her priceless bric-a-brac, and portfolio of proofs before letters. Mrs. Dode also surrounded herself with old china and pictures, but was indifferent about it: she did not carry her little luxuries with the uneasy vanity of a workman in his Sunday shirt. Art and wealth had been ordinary appliances of her mother's family for generations. She took no more notice as to whether a man was rich or poor in such things than whether be came to her gloved or ungloved.
Somebody was sure to bring every foreign traveler to the Doctor's house; whether it was prince, novelist, or poet, Mrs. Dode welcomed them to her ordinary table and habits, not concerning herself to enquire if they were used to a palace or hovel: and they in turn forgot to notice whether
the napkins were folded in English fashion, or how she dealt with her e's.
"I wish you to judge of us by our representative women," Mrs. Fanning said to one of these tourists while they were dining at the Doctor's, "and not by negative characters." But he could look at nobody but the homely little woman at the head of the table. "Ah, madam," he cried, "there are so many representative women! But the old story tells us of how Prince Charming married the good fairy, and by her had a family of but few children, all of whom were born in the light of the moon; and I meet one now and then in this country or in that. When I find one of them, then I look no farther."
It was quite natural that Mrs. Dode, having lived in so negative a way, without making any mark or bruit in the world, should die in the same fashion. It appears that while she seemed in health some secret symptoms led her to consult a physician. She went to New York to do this, saying nothing to her husband, and there learned that she had but a short time to live. Whatever grief she may have felt, she showed none and told nobody her secret. When she came back the home life went on in its usual merry fashion. Dick and Joe both brought their brides home that winter. Dr. Noyes, who had grown younger and more energetic every year since his marriage, was busied with some experiments in electricity, which added greatly to his reputation. Mrs. Dode did not change her habits in the least. She never had been a constant churchgoer, or a member of any charitable society, and she did not become one now. It was remembered afterwards that she remained out longer in the mornings on her rounds among the poor, and that she had a print which was in her chamber, re-hung so that she could see it when she woke in the morning. (It was the Head crowned with thorns.)
In June her husband was invited to Baltimore to an anniversary celebration, in which he always took a keen delight. She clung to him and cried when he was going. "If you need me, Dode, I will stay with you," he said, tenderly. She hesitated a little, and then raised herself, smiling. "No, it will be pleasanter for you there," said she, "only good-bye once more, dear." She went to bed as usual that night. In the morning they found her dead, her cheek resting on her hand, a half smile on the freckled face;