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did for the Lake country what Tennyson did for southern England and the Fenland. But Wordsworth did not do this part of his work with as much specialised power as Tennyson.
This is the first thing to say of his landscape. The second concerns his invented landscape, but this will be more fitly treated of in the chapter on the Classical poems.
Meanwhile, Tennyson began two new kinds of poetry in this book of 1833. The first was the treatment of moral questions under the symbolism of poetry.
Of this symbolic poetry he afterwards produced a few examples. The Vision of Sin, made in 1842, is one. There is a dream in In Memoriam which may be said to be another example. Within the main allegory of the Idylls of the King there are other examples to be found. The dream in Sea Dreams is another. Of these there are not many, for this species of poetry, which embodies a moral problem in a highly ornamented vision, is as exceedingly difficult to do well, as it is exceedingly easy to do badly.
badly. When Tennyson did it, he gave all his powers to it, and was not content till he had wrought it, by change after change, into the most careful and skilful finish. There is only one poem in this volume of 1833 which is in this manner. It is The Palace of Art, and it stands out clear-a new thing, a fresh effort.
As we read it in the volume of 1833, it has many weak lines. So far as composition goes, it is often
Often we say to ourselves, “Would this were better.” But as we read it in the volume of 1842, when it had received eight years of recasting
and polishing, it is one of the most perfect of Tennyson's poems.
To compare the first draft of this poem with the second, or to compare the first draft of Enone with the second, is not only to receive a useful lesson in the art of poetry—it is also to understand, far better than by any analysis of his life, a great part of Tennyson's character ; his impatience for perfection, his steadiness in pursuit of it, his power of taking pains, the long intellectual consideration he gave to matters which originated in the emotions, his love of balancing this and that form of his thought against one another, and when the balancing was done, the unchangeableness of his acceptance of one form, and of his rejection of another; and finally, correlative with these qualities, his want of impulse and rush in song, as in life-English, not Celtic at all. These qualities appear in his elaborate recasts of his poems, and when we compare the recasts with their originals, the man, as well as the artist, seems to grow before us into actual being.
But, returning to the poem, it marks the first rising in his mind of thought on the graver questions of life; not thought on the world around him, or on any question as it affects humanity, but on a question concerning himself and his duty as an artist. “ Shall I love art and beauty which I shape in art for the sake of art alone, beauty for beauty only ; knowledge only for the sake of the beauty it brings to me? Shall I live, apart from the world of men, and work with no desire to help, exalt or console the blind and ugly herd of men ? " This is a question that we ask in the present day, and some answer, “Yes, beauty only, beauty for its own sake-art without any aim of love in it-art in isolation from mankind !" And they retire to a sheltered solitude and sing their song alone, refusing to hear, behind their hushed tapestries, the cry of human sorrow for human love. What is their fate? They lose love, for love is only gained by loving ; and they lose the beauty they desired to grasp, for beauty is the child of love. Outside the power of loving man, no beauty lasts. And finally, having none to love, and therefore nothing to take them out of themselves, they are wholly thrown on themselves. Their only companion is their self, and this is absolute horror and dismay.
This, then, was his subject, and he puts it in the Introduction. I write, he says, a sort of allegory of a soul that loved beauty only, and good and knowledge only for their beauty, and who shut out Love :
And he that shuts out Love, in turn shall be
It is a good subject for an essay or a sermon, but when an artist seizes it as the subject of a poem it must first be filled with human passion ; and secondly it must be ornamented with lovely images. Passion is given to it by Tennyson by making the soul a person who goes through pride to dreadful pain, and through pain into repentance. Beauty is given to it by the description of the palace which embodies all the various arts and wisdom of the world in imaginative symbolism. And surely no more superb and lovely house was
Take two verses
ever built by the wit of man. out of many :*
Four courts I made-east, west, and south and north,
In each a squarèd lawn, wherefrom
A flood of fountain-foam.
And round the cool green courts there ran a row
Of cloisters, branch'd like mighty woods,
Of spouted fountain-floods.
The vowels roll and ring, and the ornament is lovely—ornament which Tennyson takes care to introduce between his successive representations of the state of the soul. The whole palace is dedicated to loveliness. The rooms are filled with the great painters' art ; all fair landscape is there, and pictures of great romance from Christian history, from Arabia, India, Greece, and Rome ; portraits of the great poets; and on the floors, in choicely planned mosaic, is wrought the human tale of the wide world's history; while all philosophy and knowledge—in the chiming bells, and in melodies and in the lights that lit the domes
-were heard and realised. There lived the soul alone unto herself.
And " while the world runs round and round," I said,
She took her throne:
To sing her songs alone.
* I have quoted the passages in this poem from the revised version of 1842. No poem of Tennyson's underwent more revision.
Communing witḥ herself: " All these are mine,
And let the world have peace or wars,
I care not what the sects may brawl.
But contemplating all."
Flash'd thro' her as she sat alone,
And intellectual throne.
Then comes the punishment, full of human interest, and wrought with an emotion which lifts it above the level of mere symbolism. Despair, confusion of mind, fear and hatred of solitude, selfscorn, terrible silence, hatred of life and death, entombment in fire within, fell on her. At last she cried :
" What is it that will take away my sin
And save me lest I die?"
And out of the repentant cry came escape from the dread comradeship of her self. “I will return to humility and to love, to lowly life with men and women.
• Make me a cottage, in the vale,' she said,
for 'love_is_of the valley,' and when love is learned I will return to my palace ; for when I love, and return with others there, bringing all I love with me to enjoy with me—the beauty which turned to corruption when I was alone will live again in glory."
This is Tennyson's confession of the duties of