Puslapio vaizdai

that Paris should walk up Ida to call for Enone, considering where and how he was wounded; or stagger down the hill from her. If the art of the piece were made better by this change in the tale, this criticism would be nought; but it is not made better, and the improbability is impossibility. Nor

do I understand the husband and wife and widow business, unless it be that Tennyson desired to express over again his devotion to the eternity and sanctity of the marriage relation. This is wholly out of place in the story. The union between Paris and the nymph Enone was not a marriage nor anything that resembled it. When we come to

Her husband in the flush of youth and dawn,

we do not know where we are. We are certainly not on Ida. When we hear none's answer to the cry of Paris for help, we are in the midst, not of the light unions between Greek mortals and the nymphs, but of the social moralities of England.


Go back to thine adulteress and die!

This is not credible on the lips of none. Still more strange is that which follows, still more distant from Greek thought. Enone, the mountain nymph, dreams that Paris calls to her from the other world to come to him, and has repented his unfaithfulness:

Come to me,

Enone! I can wrong thee now no more,
Enone, my Enone.

Christian, it may be, but not Greek; and, still more, not possible for a nymph to dream.

And the end

is equally out of the question. It is a pretty thought in itself, and might well belong to a mortal woman, even to an Oriental pagan, but it does not belong to a mountain nymph of the Greek imagination who never dreamt of marriage and would have smiled at any union of the kind :

And all at once

The morning light of happy marriage broke
Thro' all the clouded years of widowhood,
And muffling up her comely head, and crying
'Husband!" she leapt upon the funeral pile,
And mixed herself with him and past in fire.



IN MEMORIAM is the most


most rounded to polished sphere, of the larger poems of Tennyson; the Idylls of the King is the most ambitious; Maud is the loveliest, most rememberable; and The Princess is the most delightful. Holiday-hearted, amazingly varied, charming our leisured ease from page to page, it is a poem to read on a sunny day in one of those rare places in the world where "there is no clock in the forest," where the weight and worry of the past, the present, or the future, do not make us conscious of their care. There is no sorrow or sense of the sorrow of the world in it. The man who wrote it had reached maturity, but there is none of the heaviness of maturity in its light movement. It is really gay, as young as the Prince himself who is its hero; and the dreams and desires of youth flit and linger in it as summer bees around the honied flowers. A great charm is thus given to the poem. We feel for it the affection which is bestowed on youthfulness by those who have passed by youthfulness, that half-regret, half-tenderness, and sweet memory in both, the sadness of which is not too much, and the pleasure of which is not too little.

Mingled with the youthfulness in the poem is the serious thought of manhood. There is enough of gravity to dignify the subject-matter, and enough of play to take dulness out of the gravity.> The poem is like the gray statue of Sir Ralph robed with Lilia's orange scarf and rosy silk. Of course, this twofold element adds to that variety which stirs new pleasure and new thinking from page to page. But beyond that, the scheme of the poem enabled Tennyson to invent all kinds of fantastic events that follow one another as thickly as they do in a romantic tale; and he is up to the level of the invention required. One scarcely expects him to do this with ease. Inventiveness of incident lags somewhat in Tennyson's work. The invention of the greater number of the episodes in the Idylls of the King is excellent. The invention of the events which carry on the story is not so good, and it is certainly not opulent. Moreover, we see in the dramas how slow-moving his inventiveness is; their movement continually drags from the want of that which the dramatists call business. Here, however, the story runs along with a lively variety both of characters and events glancing and charming through it./

This variety is still more increased by the mingling of ancient and modern in the poem modern science jostling with ancient manners, modern dress with ancient arms, girl's colleges with tournaments; the woman-question of to-day with the woman-ideal of the days of chivalry; Joan of Arc with the Cambridge girl; and rising out of both-out of the old and the new-first, Tennyson's own view of womanhood, and secondly, that which

is always old and new, the eternal feminine face to face with the eternal masculine. Moreover, this variety is kindled and brightened with the steady fire of Tennyson's imagination not, in this poem, the imagination which pierces to the depths of the human heart (for the half-serious, half-grotesque form precluded that), but the imagination which illustrates human life by analogies drawn from Nature. Each comparison fits at every point; and the things in Nature which are used as comparisons are not only described with extraordinary accuracy, choice, and truth, but are also seen with such love that their inmost heart is touched. When King Gama is sketched, his voice is cracked and small:

But bland the smile that like a wrinkling wind
On glassy water drove his cheek in lines.

Cyril, the Prince's friend, "has a solid base of temperament," but is on the surface lightly blown. by impulse. He is like the water-lily, which starts and slides

Upon the level in little puffs of wind,

Tho' anchor'd to the bottom-such is he.

The eyes of Lady Blanche, full of malice, are like "the green malignant light of coming storm," and the line is charged with the very colour and rage of tempest on the horizon. There are two

similes of the Princess in wrath, one in which the jewel on her brow is like "the mystic fire on a masthead, prophet of storm," and the other where she stands above the tossing crowd of rebellious girls like a beacon-tower above the waves of tempest,

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