Page images
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]


The divisions of the present volume do not correspond precisely, except in the case of The Lover's Tale and The Window, with any adopted by Tennyson. The latest edition of his collected works recognizes no other general groups than those of Juvenilia, English Idylls, and Ballads and other Poems. After the collective edition of 1842, the new miscellaneous poems were published in a desultory fashion, some first in periodicals, and then from time to time in connection with longer poems, or in small volumes of collection. Thus when Maud was published, a number of shorter poems were added to fill out the volume; the same thing occurred when Enoch Arden was published ; so also The Holy Grail and other Poems, and Ballads and other Poems were the titles of independent collections; but besides the poems thus brought together, there were a number scattered through magazines and journals or printed under special conditions, like certain patriotic poems following Tennyson's succession to the poet-laureateship in 1850.

In the present volume, the group headed by Lucretius contains the poems published in connection with Maud and with Enoch Arden, besides a number of other scattered poems; the division, Ballads and other Poems, coincides with the collection under that title, besides others also collected from scattered sources. These two volumes of miscellaneous poems, then, contain all of Tennyson's minor work as finally recognized by the author, excepting the recent collection under the head of Tiresias and other Poems, and excepting also certain poems originally printed by the poet but dropped in the revised editions.


Both of these groups will be found in the sixth volume of this collection.

The first publication of many of the fugitive pieces is indicated in foot-notes or in prefatory notes. Some further desul. tory memoranda may be added here respecting certain of the poems.

The Third of February, 1852 (p. 55), is the title given to a lyric first printed in The Examiner newspaper under the sig. nature of Merlin, and was called out by a debate held on that day in the House of Lords. There had been very sharp criticism in the journals and in public speeches of the course of Napoleon III., and the House of Lords showed a disposition to deprecate this criticism and sustain the usurper. Possibly the fact that he was then poet laureate led Tennyson to publish the verses anonymously, for the English and French had formed an alliance against Russia, and as court poet he could scarcely have uttered the lines without breach of etiquette.

The Charge of the Light Brigade (p. 57) first appeared in The Examiner December 9, 1854, with the following note: “Written after reading the first report of the Times correspondent, where only 607 sabres are mentioned as having taken part in the charge.” The poem was revised for publication in the volume of Maud and other Poems, and a few months later was still further amended, and printed in its present form on a quarto sheet of four pages, with the following note at the bottom : “Having heard that the brave soldiers before Sebastopol, whom I am proud to call my countrymen, have a liking for my Ballad on The Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava, I have ordered a thousand copies of it to be printed for them. No writing of mine can add to the glory they have acquired in the Crimea ; but if what I have heard be true, they will not be displeased to receive these copies of the Ballad from me, and to know that those who sit at home love and honor them.”

ALFRED TENNYSON. 8th August, 1855.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

To the Rev. F. D. Maurice (p. 78). Lines addressed to the well-known divine who was godfather to Hallam Tennyson. Maurice had already dedicated to Tennyson the volume of Theological Essays which gave rise to acrimonious debate, and was followed by the exclusion the author from a professor's chair at London University.

In the Valley of Cauteretz (p. 80) contains a reference to Arthur Hallam, who had been the poet's companion on the spot two and thirty years before.

The lines entitled In the Garden at Swainston (p. 90) were written in memory of the poet's friend Sir John Simeon.

The New Timon and the Poets (p. 225) was called out by a satirical poem by Bulwer Lytton, entitled The New Timon ; a Romance of London, and containing allusion to the fact that the government had recently granted a pension to Tennyson. In this poem appeared the following lines :

“Not mine, not mine (O muse forbid) the boon
Of borrowed notes, the mock-bird's modish tune,
The jingling medley of purloined conceits,
Out-babying Wordsworth and out-glittering Keats ;
Where all the airs of patchwork pastoral chime
To drown the ears in Tennysonian rhyme!

Let school-miss Alfred vent her chaste delight
On ‘darling little rooms so warm and bright;'
Chaunt ‘I'm aweary'in infectious strain,
And catch her 'blue fly singing i’ the pane;'
Though praised by critics and adored by Blues,
Though Peel with pudding plump the puling muse,
Though Theban taste the Saxon purse controls,
And pensions Tennyson while starves a Knowles,
Rather be thou, my poor Pierian maid,
Decent at last, in Hayley's weeds arrayed,
Than patch with frippery every tinsel line,

And flaunt, admired, the Rag Fair of the Nine.” Tennyson, indignant at the brutal lines, which were accompanied by a foot-note stating that he was "quartered on the

public purse in the prime of life, without either wife or family," wrote the rejoinder The New Timon and the Poets, and published it in Punch, under the signature Alcibiades, February 18, 1846. The next week, apparently regretting the temper of his lines, he published in Punch the lines After-thought, which now appear as Literary Squabbles (p. 84). It should be noted that the quarrel was short lived. Both poets withdrew their verses, so far as they could, from circulation, and Tennyson afterward dedicated his Harold to the son of his old antagonist.

« PreviousContinue »