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These are some of the lines upon which this study has been made; in brief, what the poet has seen, heard and felt in the presence of the sea, what it has suggested to him, and the use he has made of it in his verse. The first emphasis has been laid upon his best and most characteristic work, that which he has felt in moments of special insight; but the student has no right to neglect any part of a poet's work, however weak or conventional, and the effort has been made to get his real point of view, as derived from the number and character of allusions as well as from what may be his more important contribution to the subject. Hence I have not felt at liberty to pass unnoticed any reference to the sea whatever except such meaningless expressions as, from sea to sea, and the like; even commonplaces, such as a sea of troubles, a wave of sorrow, may become significant by their environment or by frequency of use.
Tennyson was born only a few miles from the sea and rambles along the coast, formed a regular part, of his boyish pleasures both at Somersby and afterwards at Louth. His
early delight in the sea developed into a life-long affection, which was doubtless strengthened by the circumstance that the sea was always in sight from his home at Farringford. This affection has received full and frequent ex
pression in his verse.
Of the Juvenilia four are sea-po
ems, the Kraken, Sea Fairies, the Merman, the Mermaid.
It is noticeable that they all deal with the fairy-land of The Kraken which has flashes of both Keats and Shelley about it and was possibly suggested by a well-known passage in Paradise Lost, touches a subject at all times so fascinating to the imagination that man is loth to give it up and there is no sea-coast town that does not boast its tale of the great sea-serpent.
Tennyson recurs to the idea in what seems to me to be the best lines of the Mermaid. Both the Mermaid and its companion-piece, however,
are far inferior to the kindred passage in Guinevere:
"And in the light the white mermaiden swam,
And strong man-breasted things stood from the sea,