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heart; whose joys they reflect by The dead weight of the dead leaf bore it
down: their brightness, or trouble with ap- Thicker the drizzle grew, deeper the prehension by their gloom; whose gloom.” sorrows they soften by their mute sympathy, or increase by the seem- The former picture derives its sig. ing mockery of sharp and violent nificance from contrast, this latter contrast. Such is the effect of this one from resemblance ; for the seadescription of "the beauteous hate fog wbich swallows up the sonful isle," which holds the humble shine is emblematic of the disapUlysses of the tale so long a pri- pointment which awaits the bright soner:
hopes of Enoch's return.
Were we writing of an author “The mountain wooded to the peak, the not yet known to fame, it would
be as right as it would be pleasant And winding glades high up like ways to to make Heaven,
to make long extracts from the con
cluding portion of the poem. But The lightning-flash of insect and of birdi.
when reviewing a work which every
the glows And glories of the broad belt of the world, one praises, wbich everybody has All these he saw; but what he fain had bought and which it is therefore
seen He could not see, the kindly human face,
fair to suppose that every one (but Nor ever heard a kindly voice, but heard those whose aversion to poetry is The myriad shriek of wheeling ocean-fowl,
invincible) has read, it is needless The league-long roller thundering on the reef.
to extract any passages which are The moving whisper of huge trees, • ... not required to make the critic's No sail from day to day, but every day The sunrise broken into scarlet shafts
remarks intelligible. We may thereAmong the palms and ferns and precio fore briefly record our admiration pices;
for the sustained power and absence The blaze upon the waters to the east; The blaze upon his island overhead;
of maudlin sensibility with which The blaze upon the waters to the west;
the last scenes of Enoch Arden' Then the great stars that globed them. selves in heaven;
are put before us. They are very The hollower-bellowing ocean, and again pathetic; and they are never foolThe scarlet shafts of sunrise-but no sail."
ishly sentimental. The way in
which Enoch is stunned by the How pitilessly must these glories
news of his wife's second marriage; have seemed to mock the solitary his longing to see her, and assure captive's anguish! How natural himself that she is happy; the picit is that visions of home should ture of peace and comfort within haunt his loneliness, presenting to Philip's house, which throws into him things most anlike his present stronger relief the anguish of the abode :
wretched husband and father as he “The chill
stands without; Enoch's grand (if November dawns, and dewy-glooming not strictly just) self-sacrifice, as, downs,
recovering from the shock of seeing The gentle shower, the smell of dying leaves,
wbat only to hear of had been woe And the low moan of leaden-coloured sufficient, he repeats his resolu
tion to himself, "Not to tell her,
never to let her know :" all these Very good also are the aspects of things in the hands of a French nature which greet his return writer, aiming at the déchirant home:
and the larmoyant, would have "Bright was that afternoon,
been morbidly painfal. Mr. TenSunny, but chill; till drawn thro' either nyson so tells them
nyson so tells them that they ele
that they en chasm,
vate our minds by the sight of a Where either baven opened on the deeps, Roll'd a sea-haze, and whelm'd the world
spirit refining to its highest perfecin gray;
tion in the purgatorial fires of earth. On the nigh-naked tree the Robin piped
Three similes in this part of the Disconsolate, and thro* the dripping, haze poem deserve especial notice. For
merely often, and occasionally still, Ay, ay, I. mind him coming down the the Laureate has been known to Held bis head high, and cared for no man, indulge himself in a clever simile
he.' which, by its far-fetched air, sug- "His head is low, and no man cares for
Slowly and sadly Enocb answer'd her, gests that the subject was made for him. it, and not it for the subject. But I think I have not three days more to live ; it is not so here. How finely ap
I am the man." propriate it is to liken the attrac- The dying man's last victory over tion which his “ lost wife's fireside” selfishness (when, forbidding the exercises on the returned sailor, to woman to fetch' his children, he "the beacon blaze," which "allures sends to them and to his wife the "The bird of passage, till he madly strikes
loving messages which it might Against it, and beats out his weary life !" * grieve them too much to hear from
bis own lips), bespeaks not merely Again, after Enoch's heroic de- our pity for him, bat our reverence. termination, we are told that,
There is also something profoundly "Prayer from a living source within the sad in the way in which that desowill,
late heart, after half-claiming back And beating up through all the bitter the living children, feels that, in
world, Like fountains of sweet water in the sea, real fact, only the dead little one is Kept him a living soul."
left it: And when his year of hopeless “And now there is but one of all my toil and living death has done its
blood, work, we read of him that
Who will embrace me in the world-to-be." * No gladlier does the stranded wreck
But his last words give us comSee thro' the gray skirts of a lifting squall
fort:The boat that bears the hope of life approach,
“Howoke, he rose, he spread his arms To save the life despair'd of, than he saw
abroad, Death dawning on him, and the close of Crying with a loud voice, 'A saill a sail! all."
I am saved; and so fell back and spoke no These three images are all good in themselves; but they derive an For they tell us that what he prayed especial excellence from the fact, for in those long years of banishthat they occur in a tale of sea- ment, to which his mind has wanadventure, narrated on a sea-beach.
dered back, has come at last: the And when Enoch's lips, unsealed ship to take him to the true Haven : by approaching death, reveal his and that the exile has at length secret to his humble attendant, how been fetched home. few are the lines which set before
There, in our judgment, the poem us that contrast which sounds with should have ended.
Its author, such thrilling power in Job's long thinking differently, adds:lamentation I the man as he once "go past the strong heroic soul away. was, and the man such as calamity And when they burled him the little port has made him
Had seldom seen a costlier funeral." ** Did you know Enoch Arden of this What need of the first of these
town' *Know him ? she said ; 'I knew him far lines? What need to tell us that away.
the noble fisherman was strong and
* Contrast the same simile in 'The Princess,' where Ida is said to stand
"Fixt like a beacon-tower above the wavos
Dash themselves dead." Not to speak of the disproportion between the terror raised by these words and the small amount of ruin” which ensues, the image seems a violent one to apply to a beautiful girl, however steadfast in her anger !
heroic, when the poet has just com- as the clerk's worthy wife proves pleted his fine delineation of his herself by her rejoinder :strength and heroism? And what need of the two last? The costly Wrongs himself more, and ever beard about
“ He that wrongs his friend funeral sounds an impertinent in- A silent fourt of Justice in his breast, trusion. We cannot doubt for a moment that Philip gave honoar. The prisoner at the bar, over condemn d.» able burial to the man whom he While praising the clever imitation had so deeply, though so unwitting- of the satire of the eighteenth cenly, wronged. But the atonement tary, with which the clerk brands is such a poor one, that it looks the hypocrite who has wronged him like a mockery; and we would (the two first lines of which might rather hear nothing of it. Why be sworn to as Pope's any day), he disturb in our minds the image might yet pertinaciously beg to be which what went before had left informed how a satire of the prethere the humble bed on which sumed date could contain a referthe form, so often tempest-tossed, ence to Bible-meetings: reposes in its last sleep; the white
"With all his conscience and one eye askew, face, serene in death, waiting for So false, he partly took himself for true. the kisses which it might not receive in life. “Ciò che'l viver non Nor deeds of gift, but gifts of grace he ebbe, abbia la morte."
And, snake-like, 'sliiged his victim ere he Obeying that attraction to the gorged;
And oft at Bible-meetings, o'er the rest sea which Enoch Arden ' leaves be- Arising, did his holy oily best, hind it, we feel inclined next to Dropping the too rough À in Hell and cast a passing glance at the Sea To spread the word by which himself had Dreams. As Theocritus, in one of thriven." bis idyls, gives us the talk of two townswomen of his own day, And, lastly, he might point at the hastening to a festival, so here pomp of gorgeous language in which the Laureate records for our edifi- the two dreams are told, as a reckcation the far weightier sayings of less expenditure of poetic wealth, two towospeople of our time, dur- alike unsuited to the occasion and ing the festive rest from toil which to the persons who employ it. a visit to the sea-side affords Nor can we deny that there would them. A stern critic might, indeed, be some truth in these observations. find fault with them as somewhat Bat we might reply, and we do, too magniloquent. He might ask that in like manner our old friends whether it is not incongruous for a Tityrus and Menalcas are more city clerk (however superior to city polite and more poetical than the clerks in general) to complain of shepherds of actual life; and that his treacherous friend in such if the clerk chose to pass off his own Shakspearean terms as the follow- composition as an "old satire," he ing:
had a right (poetically speaking) to
do so. Indeed, what reasonable "I found a hard friend in his loose ac- liberties can we forbid a man to
counts, A loose one in the hard grip of his hand,
take, who has enriched our stock of A curse in his "God bless you;" then my quotations with such a saying as
this: Pursued him down the street, and far away,
*How many will say, 'Forgive,' and find Among the honest shoulders of the crowd, A sort of absolution in the sound Read rascal in the motions of his back, To hate a little longer ?" And scoundrel in the supple-sliding knee."
Or this, which we like still better :He might inquire whether poor" Is it so true that second thoughts aro artists' daughters are usually so Not First, and third, which are a riper well read in the ancient moralists,
The Laureate's reputation rests on few firmer pillars than are afforded it by some of the monologues among his earlier poems. It is natural, therefore, to turn with eager expectation to the three in his new volume. The third most amply satisfies; the two first do not altogether disappoint it. No one of the three is (like ‘Locksley Hall' and the greater part of ‘St. Simeon Stylites') a soliloquy. Nor is any one of them like the conclusion of their author's "Ulysses,’ an address to an audience, numerous though mute. They are each, as are several of his other monologues, spoken to a single hearer. As the mother in the “Queen of May,' so in the ‘Grandmother,' the little girl is the only listener. Eos alone hearkens to the lamentations of ‘Tithonus,' as mother Ida to those of ‘(Enone;” and the “Northern Farmer" gives the whole benefit of his strange experience to the person who fi. the unenviable place of his sick-nurse.
There are two principal dangers incurred in composing a monologue. The one that of rendering it, like an Euripidean prologue, a conventional narration of facts by a person who has no sufficient reason for rehearsing them, apart from the dramatic necessity of making them known to the
audience. Mr. Tennyson has avoided this first peril with his usual success. His farmer has no long history to relate. That of Tithonus may be safely supposed already known. And the Grandmother has a right to tell as much as she pleases of her own story; both because her young auditor cannot know much of it, and because it is the privilege of old age to be garrulous. The second and greater difficulty, is one which the writer of the monologue has to overcome in common with the dramatist. He must preserve the propriety of its speaker's character throughout. He must not suffer him to reflect on his own case with the sharp-sightedness of a bystander. Nor must he make him think aloud (unless in some exceptional cases of overmastering feeling); for that would be to confound the monologue with the soliloquy. Now we think that ‘Tithonus' will be found (the exception stated being allowed) to satisfy these conditions. In “The Northern Farmer' we seem to discover one or two slight inconsistencies. At least he quotes the Psalms very correctly for a man who by his own account had such faint perceptions of what went on in church during his attendance there. And though the boldness with which he questions the dealings of Providence towards himself is conceivable as the thought of the mind, it seems hardly so when it finds expression in words. A greater authority than Mr. Tennyson tells us that when the fool said, “There is no God,” he said it in his hear. Surely when a yet greater fool owns God, and nevertheless presumes to blame the wisdom of His appointments, it will be done in his heart too ! There is, however, something very masterly in the life-like sketch of the man, with which his discourse furnishes us. The subject is painful, but it is very cleverly treated. How fine are the touches which set him before us in his imperturbable selfsatisfaction, as he reflects on his landlord's confidence, the “qua
lity's admiration, and his own ex- own early life. There is something treme usefulness! His dislike to very pathetic in her simple account modern improvements; his insensi- of her first great grief:bility to the rebuke of a man whom he thinks less valuable to the world "But the first that ever I bare was dead before than himself; above all, his inabil- Shadow and shine is life, little Annie, flower ity to conceive how matters can go and thorn. on at all after bis own death (which His dear little face was troubled, as if with yet he would rather hasten than anger or pain; demean himself by taking the un. I looked at the still little body-bis trouble had palatable advice of a tottler"), For Willy I cannot weep, I shall see him are put before us inimitably well. There is something in the state of But I wept like a'child for the child that was
dead before he was born." mind here described which we may all be the wiser for considering ; Altogether the hand which penned and which we especially hope coon- The Queen of the May' is not try rectors will see to be written disgraced by 'The Grandmother.' off for their instruction. That We say both of it and of 'The respectable farmer who seems to Northern Farmer' (more than we listen with such rapt attention to can say of some of the other minor his Reverence's serinon every Sun- poems here) that the two pictures day, perhaps, like his northern were so well worth painting, that brother, never knows what he to do so was no waste even of Mr. means, only thinks he has "sum- Tennyson's precious time. mat to say." And how many of * Aylmer's Field, the second us all are satisfied that we come up poem in this volume, differs in fairly to our own standard of duty, subject from the scenes of humwithout considering that, if not so ble life which we have hitherto eccentric as our poor friend's here, examined. Like "Maud,' it is a it may yet be a long way from cor tale of young affection blighted rect! Much would we like to think by parental cruelty; but, unlike that he recovered and lived to un- Maud,' it is cast into a narrative, derstand the "Parson" better. not a lyrical shape. In that case
The representation of extreme old the pride of wealth, in this the age in the “Grandmother is very pride of station and of lineage, deaccurate. The freshness with which stroys the happiness of two faithful long-past events live in aged minds, lovers. The date of the story is in as well as their loss of memory for, the closing decade of the last cenand interest in, recent occurrences, tury. are described with great truth, The It is, we think, indisputable that beginning of the poem is con- this poem (though abounding in fused; and in its progress it runs fine passages) is, as_& whole, less clearer, exactly like the talk of the satisfactory than Enoch Arden.' very old. The only fault we bave to For this we are disposed to assign find is, that the old woman appears two reasons.
The first is, that, too much alive to her own staté. fully to engage our interest, the She explains why she cannot weep subject of a narrative poem should at the sad news she has just heard; have a certain remoteness from ourshe makes the sort of reflections on selves. If its hero is our contemage as a time of peace which we porary, he should be removed from might expect from a stranger look- us, either by place, as in stories of ing on. Now a mind so dead to the adventure in foreign lands, or by present as hers is, would hardly be station, as in tales of lowly life. capable of doing this. To our Sir Walter Scott chose no subthinking, the prettiest parts of the ject for his narrative poems more poem are the aged woman's recol. recent than Oharles I.'s reign. lections of her children, and of her and it may be doubted whether