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as they would else occur,)—and many a heart is at this hour deriving strength from these examples. Let the legislature, we'entreat, aid them with such wholesome enactments as the reports of its committees afford us reason to expect, and as those who have the welfare of their country and of their fellow-creatures earnestly at heart pray for. Let it restore to us the enjoyment of a Christian Sabbath ;—(no one will suppose that, in saying this, we ask for a puritanical one, with which heaven forbid that this nation should ever again be afflicted, and thereby prepared for licentiousness and impiety ;)— let it provide a law for punishing cruelty towards animals, a crime which, notwithstanding the horror that the excess to which it is at this time carried excites in every heart of common feeling, is, because of the defects of the law, committed with entire impunity.* Let it diminish the inducements to drunkenness; instead of multiplying them as it has done. Let it look into
state of slavery at home as well as abroad-the slavery of children in our factories; and as it claims for the black slaves a portion of time for their own use, so let it claim for these part at least of one week-day for the purposes of instruction, that the Sunday may be to these poor creatures not a school-day-but, what the laws of God designed it to be a day of recreation and rest. Let it pursue its inquiries into the condition of the poor, and take speedily what measures are possible for bettering it in all respects. Let this be done ; and our Neffs and Oberlins (for such will rise among us) will enter, with the strength of hope as well as of zeal, upon their labours of love.
Art. IV.-Poems by Alfred Tennyson. pp. 163. London.
12mo. 1833. THIS HIS is, as some of his marginal notes intimate, Mr. Tennyson's
second appearance. By some strange chance we have never seen his first publication, which, if it at all resembles its younge brother, must be by this time so popular that any notice of it on our part would seem idle and presumptuous; but we gladly seize this opportunity of repairing an unintentional neglect, and of introducing to the admiration of our more sequestered readers a new prodigy of genius—another and a brighter star of that galaxy or milky way of poetry of which the lamented Keats was the harbinger;
We saw, some months ago, two or three numbers of a little monthly magazine entirely devoted to this most painfully interesting subject; and we hope it has not been discontinued. Lord Porchester, from the zeal with which he has taken up the cause of humanity towards animals, and Lord Ashley, from his readiness to supply Mr. Sadler's place as the advocate of the factory children, are reaping more of real honour aud thankfulness than will ever in this country fall to the share whether of noble or ignoble demagogues. VOL, XLIX. NO. XCVII.
and let us take this occasion to sing our palinode on the subject of • Endymion. We certainly did not* discover in that poem the same degree of merit that its more clear-sighted and prophetic admirers did. We did not foresee the unbounded popularity which has carried it through we know not how many editions ; which has placed it on every table; and, what is still more unequivocal, familiarized it in every mouth. All this splendour of fame, however, though we had not the sagacity to anticipate, we have the candour to acknowledge; and we request that the publisher of the new and beautiful edition of Keats's works now in the press,
with graphic illustrations by Calcott and Turner, will do us the favour and the justice to notice our conversion in his prolegomena.
Warned by our former mishap, wiser by experience, and improved, as we hope, in taste, we have to offer Mr. Tennyson our tribute of unmingled approbation, and it is very agreeable to us, as well as to our readers, that our present task will be little more than the selection, for their delight, of a few specimens of Mr. Tennyson's singular genius, and the venturing to point out, now and then, the peculiar brilliancy of some of the gems that irradiate his poetical crown.
A prefatory sonnet opens to the reader the aspirations of the young author, in which, after the manner of sundry poets, ancient and modern, he expresses his own peculiar character, by wishing himself to be something that he is not. The amorous Catullus aspired to be a sparrow; the tuneful and convivial Anacreon (for we totally reject the supposition that attributes the 'Ειθε λύρη καλη yevoluen to Alcæus) wished to be a lyre and a great drinking cup; a crowd of more modern sentimentalists have desired to approach their mistresses as flowers, tunicks, sandals, birds, breezes, and butterflies ;-all poor conceits of narrow-minded poetasters ! Mr. Tennyson (though he, too, would, as far as his true love is concerned, not unwillingly be an earring,''a girdle,' and 'a necklace, p. 45) in the more serious and solemn exordium of his works ambitions a bolder metamorphosis—he wishes to be a river !
• Mine be the strength of spirit fierce and free,
Like some broad river rushing down alone'rivers that travel in company are too common for his taste
With the self-same impulse wherewith he was thrown'a beautiful and harmonious line
. From his loud fount upon the echoing lea:
Which, with increasing might, doth forward flee'Every word of this line is valuable-the natural progress of human * See Quarterly Review, vol. xix. p. 204.
ambition is here strongly characterized-two lines ago he would have been satisfied with the self-same impulse—but now he must have increasing might; and indeed he would require all his might to accomplish his object of fleeing forward, that is, going backwards and forwards at the same time. Perhaps he uses the word flee for flow; which latter he could not well employ in this place, it being, as we shall see, essentially necessary to rhyme to Mexico towards the end of the sonnet—as an equivalent to flow he has, therefore, with great taste and ingenuity, hit on the combination of forward flee
doth forward flee
Keeps his blue waters fresh for many a mile.' A noble wish, beautifully expressed, that he may not be confounded with the deluge of ordinary poets, but, amidst their discoloured and briny ocean, still preserve his own bright tints and sweet savor. He may be at ease on this point he never can
be mistaken for any one else. We have but too late become i acquainted with him, yet we assure ourselves that if a thousand
anonymous specimens were presented to us, we should unerringly distinguish his by the total absence of any particle of salt. But again, his thoughts take another turn, and he reverts to the insatiability of human ambition : we have seen him just now content to be a river, but as he flees forward, his desires expand into sublimity, and he wishes to become the great Gulfstream of the Atlantic.
• Mine be the power which ever to its sway
Will win the wise at once-
May into uncongenial spirits flow,
The lavish growths of southern Mexico!'-p. 1.
,' a friend, we presume, containing his wishes as to what his friend should do for him when he (the poet) shall be deadnot, as we shall see, that he quite thinks that such a poet can die outright.
* Shake hands, my friend, across the brink
Of that deep grave to which I go.
So far-far down, but I shall know
Horace said non omnis moriar,' meaning that his fame should survive—Mr. Tennyson is still more vivacious, non omnino moriar,'
– I will not die at all; my body shall be as immortal as my verse,
The four-handed mole shall scrape,
Nor wreath thy cap with doleful crape,
But pledge me in the flowing grape.' Observe how all ages become present to the mind of a great poet; and admire how naturally he combines the funeral cypress of classical antiquity with the crape hatband of the modern undertaker. He proceeds : • And when the sappy field and wood
Grow green beneath the showery gray,
And through damp holts, newflushed with May,
Ring sudden laughters of the jay!' Laughter, the philosophers tell us, is the peculiar attribute of man -but as Shakspeare found tongues in trees and sermons in stones,' this true poet endows all nature not merely with human sensibilities but with human functions—the jay laughs, and we find, indeed, a little further on, that the woodpecker laughs also ; .but to mark the distinction between their merriment and that of men, both jays and woodpeckers laugh upon melancholy occasions. We are glad, moreover, to observe, that Mr. Tennyson is prepared for, and therefore will not be disturbed by, human laughter, if any silly reader should catch the infection from the woodpeckers
• Then let wise Nature work her will,
And on my clay her darnels grow,
And at my head-stone whisper low,
And tell me'Now, what would an ordinary bard wish to be told under such circumstances ?--why, perhaps, how his sweetheart was, or his child, or his family, or how the Reform Bill worked, or whether the last edition of the poems had been sold-pape! our genuine poet's first wish is
And tell me-if the woodbines blow!' When, indeed, he shall have been thus satisfied as to the woodbines, (of the blowing of which in their due season he may, we think, feel pretty secure,) he turns a passing thought to his friendand another to his mother
• If thou art blest, my molher's smile
Undimmed'but such inquiries, short as they are, seem too commonplace, and he immediately glides back into his curiosity as to the state of the weather and the forwardness of the spring
• If thou art blessed-my mother's smile
Undimmed-if bees are on the wing?' No, we believe the whole circle of poetry does not furnish such another instance of enthusiasm for the sights and sounds of the vernal season !—The sorrows of a bereaved mother rank after the blossoms of the woodbine, and just before the hummings of the bee ; and this is all that he has any curiosity about; for he proceeds
• Then cease, my friend, a little while
That I may send my love to my mother,' or give you some hints about bees, which I have picked up from Aristæus, in the Elysian Fields,' or
tell you how I am situated as to my own personal comforts in the world below' ?-oh no
• That I may-hear the throstle sing
His bridal song—the boast of spring.
Of bubbling wells that fret the stones,
Thy words will be thy cheerful tones
As welcome to my crumbling bones!'-p. 4. 'If any sense in me remains !'- This doubt is inconsistent with the opening stanza of the piece, and, in fact, too modest; we take
upon ourselves to re-assure Mr. Tennyson, that, even after he shall be dead and buried, as much sense' will still remain as he has now the good fortune to possess.
We have quoted these two first poems in extenso, to obviate any suspicion of our having made a partial or delusive selection. We cannot afford space--we wish we could—for an equally minute examination of the rest of the volume, but we shall make a few extracts to show—what we solemnly affirm—that every page teems with beauties hardly less surprising.
The Lady of Shalott is a poem in four parts, the story of which we decline to maim by such an analysis as we could give, but it opens thus
« On either side the river lie
And through the field the road runs by.' The Lady of Shalott was, it seems, a spinster who had, under some unnamed penalty, a certain web to weave.