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which comes on the true heart with advancing years, towards the world of actual man. In the first volume there are indications that the poet, calm as he is, and apart as he seems from the crowded path of human life, is still one of the true spirits who live for and feel with all. The poem of Lady Clara Vere de Vere is a stern lesson to the heartlessness of aristocratic pride, shrouded as it may be under the fairest of forms. Lady Clara Vere de Vere,
“ Lady Clara Vere de Vere, of me you shall not win renown;
When thus he met his mother's view. You thought to break a country heart She had the passions of her kind, For pastime, ere you went to town.
She spake some certain truths of you. At me you smiled, but unbeguiled
Indeed I heard one bitter word I saw the snare, and I retired :
That scarce is fit for you to hear, The daughter of a hundred earls,
Her manners had not that repose You are not one to be desired.
Which stamps the caste ofVere de Vere. “ Lady Clara Vere de Vere,
" Lady Clara Vere de Vere, I know you proud to bear your name; There stands a spectre in your hall: Your pride is yet no mate for mine,
The guilt of blood is at your door, Too proud to care from whence I came. You changed a wholesome heart to gall. Nor would I break for your sweet sake You held your course without remorse. A heart that doats on truer charms,
To make him trust his modest worth, A simple maiden in her flower
And, last, you fixed a vacant stare, Is worth a hundred coats of arms,
And slew him with your noble birth “ Lady Clara Vere de Vere,
“ Trust me, Clara Vere de Vere, Some meeker pupil you must find,
From yon blue heavens above us bent. For were you queen of all that is,
The grand old gardener and his wife I could not stoop to such a mind.
Smile at the claims of long descent.. You sought to prove how I could love, Howe'er it be, it seems to me, And my disdain is my reply.
"Tis only noble to be good. The lion on your old stone gates
Kind hearts are more than coronetr, Is not more cold to you than I.
And simple faith than Norman blood. Lady Clara Vere de Vere,
“ I know you, Clara Vere de Vere; You put strange memories in my head. You pine among your halls and towers: Not thrice your branching limes have The languid light of your proud eyes blown
Is wearied of the rolling hours. Since I beheld young Laurence dead. In glowing health, with boundless wealth, O your sweet eyes, your low replies;
But sickening of a vague disease, A great enchantress you may be ;
You know so ill to deal with time. But there was that across his throat,
You needs must play such pranks as Which you had hardly cared to see.
If time be heavy on your hands,
Nor any poor about your lands?
Or teach the orphan girl to sew,
And let the foolish yeoman go."
“ A simple maiden in her flower
Is worth a hundred coats of arms." The natural beauty of The May Queen, and the exquisite pathos of the New Year's Eve, have made them universally known. In the second volume, the poet seems particularly to have endeavoured to enforce his ideas of the dignity of a virtuous nature, which stands in its own divine worth, far above all artificial distinctions. His Gardener's Daughter, the ballad of Lady Clara, and that most delightful one of The Lord of Burleigh, all teach it. Lady Godiva is an example of that high devotion to the public good, which is prepared to make the most entire sacrifice of self; and of which history, here and there, amid its mass of selfishness and crime, presents us with some glorious examples—none more glorious than that of the beautiful Godiva. But Locksley Hall and The Two Voices are the most brilliant of all Tennyson's productions, and amongst the most perfect things in the language.
We can scarcely conceive anything more perfectly musical and intrinsically poetical than Locksley Hall. It is the soliloquy of a wronged, high, and passionate nature. The speaker, a young man capable of great things, wars against the false maxims of the present time, yet sees how it is advancing into something better and greater. He perceives how mind is moving forward into its destined empire. He feels and makes us feel how great is this age and this England in which we live. Some of the thoughts and expressions stand prominent even amid the superb beauty of the whole, and have never been surpassed in their felicitous truth and pictorial power. The description of his life at that country hall, and the love of himself and his cousin Amy, are fine; but how much finer these stanzas, the result of the fickle cousin's marrying a mere clod with a title. The certain consequence of the wife's mind, which would have soared and strengthened in the association with his own, sinking to the level of the brute she had allied herself to, is most admirably told How constantly do we see this effect in life, but where has iť been, and in so few words, so fully expressed ?
“ Many a morning on the moorland did we hear the copses ring,
And her whisper thronged my pulses with the fulness of the spring.
Cursed be the sickly forms that err from Nature's honest rule!
Cursed be the gold that gilds the straitened forehead of the fool." With a lover's fancy he would seek comfort in persuading himself that his love was dead, but quickly spurns from him this idea. Every line which follows this—the picture of the repentant wife, and the drunken husband," hunting in his dreams,” the child that roots out regret, the mother grown into the matron schooling this child, a daughter, into the world's philosophy—all is masterly. Not less so the portraiture of the age
" What is that which I should turn to, lighting upon days like these?
Every door is barred witb gold, and opens but to golden keys,
And the nations do but murinur, snarling at each other's heels." How finely, in the next stanzas, are portrayed the expectations of the ardent youth, the light of London, and the imagined progress of scenic and real life!
“Can I but re-live in sadness? I will turn that earlier page.
Hide me from my deep enotion, O thou wondrous Mother-Age !
Disappointed in love, and sickened in hope of civilized life, the speaker dreams, for a moment, of flying to some savage land, and leading the exciting life of a tropical hunter. In the reaction of his thoughts how vividly is expressed the precious preeminence of European existence, with all its attendant evils !
" Fool, again the dream, the fancy! but I know my words are wild,
But I count the grey barbarian lower than the Christian child.
Ancient founts of inspiration well through all my fancy yet." Who shall say, after this, that Alfred Tennyson wants power ? There speaks the man of this moving age. There speaks the spirit baptized into the great spirit of progress. In the silence of his meditative retreat the poet sees the world rolling before him, and is struck with the majesty of its mind subduing its physical mass to its uses, and trampling on time, space, and the far greater evilsprejudice, false patriotism, and falser ideas of glory. Brotherhood, peace, and comfort advance out of the school and the shop, and happiness sits securely beneath the guardianship of
“The Parliament of man, the Federation of the world." Alfred Tennyson has given many a fatal blow to many an old and narrow maxini in his poems; he has breathed into his later ones the generous and the victorious breath of noblest philanthropy, the offspring of the great renovator—the Christian religion. This will give him access to the bosoms of the multitude
“ Men his brothers, men the workers, ever reaping something new;" and his vigorous song will cheer them at their toil, and nerve them to more glorious efforts. Of the hold which his poetry has already taken on the public heart, a striking instance was given some time ago. The anonymous author of The New Timon stepped out of his way and his subject to represent Tennyson's muse as a puling school-miss The universal outburst of indignation from the press scared the opprobrious lines speedily out of the snarler's pages. A new edition was quickly announced, from which they had wisely vanished.
Perhaps, however, the crown of all Tennyson's verse is The Two Voices. I have said that he is not metaphysical. He is better. Leaving to others to build and rebuild theories of the human mind, Tennyson deals with its palpable movements like a genuine philo
sopher, and one of the highest order, a Christian philosophm The Two Voices are the voice of an animated assurance in the heart, and the voice of scepticism. In this poem there is no person who has passed through the searching, withering ordeal of religious doubts and fears as to the spiritual permanency of our existence—and who has not ?—but will find in these simple stanzas the map and history of their own experience. The clearness, the graphic power, and logical force and acumen which distinguish this poem are of the highest order. There is nothing in the poems of Wordsworth which can surpass, if it can equal it. Let us take, as our last quotation, the closing portion of this lyric, the whole of which cannot be read with too much attention. Here the combat with Apollyon in the Valley of the Shadow of Death is most simply and beautifully put an end to by the buoyant spirit of nature, and man walking amid his human ties hand in hand with her and piety. “ The still voice laughed. 'I talk,' said he, I blessed them, and they wanderert on;
*Not with thy dreams. Suflice it thee I spoke, but answer came there none : Thy pain is a reality.'
The dull and bitter voice was gone. • But thou,' said I, ‘hast missed thy mark A second voice was at mine ear, Who sought'st to wreck my mortal ark A little whisper, silver-clear, By making all the horizon dark.
A murmur, Be of better cheer." • Why not set forth if I should do
As from some blissful neighbourhood. This rashness,* that which might ensue
A notice faintly understood. With this old soul in organs new?
* I see the end and know the gool."
A little hint to solace woe, Whatever crazy sorrow saith,
A hint, a whisper breathing low, No life that breathes with human breath
'I may not speak of what I know.' Has ever truly longed for death.
Like an Æolian harp that wakes « 'Tis life, whereof our nerves are scant, No certain air, but overtakes Oh life, not death for which we pant:
Far thought with music that it makes. More life, and fuller that I want.'
Such seemed the whisper at my side: I ceased, and sat as one forlorn.
* What is it thou knowest, sweet voice! Then said the voice in quiet scorn,
I cried. Behold, it is the Sabbath morn.'
• A hidden hope,' the voice replied. And I arose, and I released
So heavenly toned, that in that hour The casement, and the light increased
From out my sullen heart a power With freshness in the dawning east.
Broke, like the rainbow from the showet. Like softened airs that blowing steal, To feel, although no tongue can prove, When meres begin to uncongeal,
That every cloud, that spreads above, The sweet church-bells began to peal. And veileth love, itself is love. On to God's house the people prest;
And forth into the fields I went, Passing the place where each must rest, And Nature's living motion lent Each entered like a welcome guest.
The pulse of hope to discontent. One walked between his wife and child, I wondered at the bounteous hours, With measured footfall firm and mild, The slow result of winter showers: And now and then he gravely smiled. You scarce could see the grass for fluwers. The prudent partner of his blood
I wondered, while I passed along: Leaned on him, faithful, gentle, good, The woods were filled so full with song, Wearing the rose of womanhood.
There seemed no room for sense of wrong And in their double love secure,
So variously seemed all things wroughts The little maiden walked demure,
I marvelled how the mind was brought Pacing with downward eyelids pure. To anchor by one gloomy thought. These three made unity so sweet,
And wherefore rather made I choice My frozen heart began to beat,
To commune with that barren voice, Remembering its ancient heat.
Than him that said, 'Rejoice! Rejoice!"