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I. SELECTIONS FROM POEMS
BY TWO BROTHERS'
In 1893 the present Lord Tennyson pubLished a facsimile reprint of the 'Poems by Two Brothers,' in which his uncle, Mr. Frederick Tennyson, had appended the initials of the authors to their contributions to the vol. ume, so far as he remembered them. He was not certain of the authorship of every poem. Some he signs · A. T. (?)' or 'C. T. (?),' and some 'A. T. or C. T.' I give here all that are probably Alfred's, with some about which (see prefatory notes) I have my doubts. I follow the spelling and pointing of the reprint except in the few instances mentioned in the Notes.
Memory! why, oh why,
This fond heart consuming, Shew me years gone by,
When those hopes were blooming? Hopes which now are parted,
Hopes which then I priz'd,
Ne'er has realiz'd ?
I knew not then its rancour;
Alas! there lurks a canker.
Round every palm-tree, springing
With bright fruit in the waste, A mournful asp is clinging,
Which sours it to our taste.
O'er every fountain, pouring
Its waters thro' the wild, Which man imbibes, adoring,
And deems it undefild,
It is interesting to compare this poem with the · Ode to Memory' published in 1830. Like several others of Alfred's it is longer than any of Charles's.
The poison-shrubs are dropping
Their dark dews day by day; And Care is hourly lopping
Our greenest boughs away!
* The memory is perpetually looking back when we have nothing present to entertain us : it is like those repositories in animals that are filled with stores of food, on which they may ruminate when their present pasture fails.' – ADDISON.
MEMORY! dear enchanter!
Why bring back to view Dreams of youth, which banter
All that c'er was true ?
Why present before me
Thoughts of years gone by, Which, like shadows o'er me,
Dim in distance fly ? Days of youth, now shaded
By twilight of long years, Flowers of youth, now faded,
Though bathed in sorrow's tears: 'Thoughts of youth, which waken
Mournful feelings now, Fruits which time hath shaken
From off their parent bough:
Ah! these are thoughts that grieve me
Then, when others rest. Memory ! why deceive me
By thy visions blest ? Why lift the veil, dividing
The brilliant courts of spring -
In fairy colouring —
So cheerless and so chill ?
of past life meet us still ? Where's now that peace of mind
O'er youth's pure bosom stealing So sweet and so refin'd,
So exquisite a feeling ? Where's now the heart exulting
In pleasure's buoyant sense,
And gaiety, resulting
From conscious innocence ?
All, all have past and fled,
And ieft me lorn and lonely; All those dear hopes are dead,
Remembrance wakes them only!
Oh ! Harp of my fathers !
No more in the hall,
Thy strains shall enthral:
And wake thy bold swell ; Then, thou friend of my bosom,
For ever farewell !
"WHY SHOULD WE WEEP FOR
THOSE WHO DIE?'
I stand like some lone tower
Of former days remaining, Within whose place of power
The midnight owl is plaining; Like oak-tree old and grey,
Whose trunk with age is failing, Thro' whose dark boughs for aye
The winter winds are wailing. Thus, Memory, thus thy light
O'er this worn soul is gleaming, Like some far fire at night
Along the dun deep streaming.
I doubt whether this poem is rightly attributed to Alfred.
• Quamobrem, si dolorum finem mors affert, si secu. rioris et melioris initium vitæ : si futura mala avertit
cur eam tantopere accusare, ex qua potins console tionem et lætitiam haurire fas esset ?' - CICE#O. Why should we weep for those who die?
They fall – their dust returns to dust; Their souls shall live eternally
Within the mansions of the just. They die to live - they sink to rise,
They leave this wretched mortal shore ; But brighter suns and bluer skies
Shall smile on them for evermore.
THE EXILE'S HARP
I will hang thee, my Harp, by the side of the
fountain, On the whispering branch of the lone-waving
willow: Above thee shall rush the hoarse gale of the
mountain, Below thee shall tumble the dark breaking
billow. The winds shall blow by thee, abandon'd, for
saken, The wild gales alone shall arouse thy sad
strain ; For where is the heart or the hand to awaken The sounds of thy soul-soothing sweetness again? Oh ! Harp of my fathers !
Thy chords shall decay,
Shail thy notes fade away;
Around thee may yell,
Of thy desolate shell !
round thee, With the richest of flowers in the green valley
springing; Those that see shall remember the hand that
hath crown'd thee, When, wither'd and dead, to thee still they
are clinging. There ! now I have wreath'd thee
are twining Thy chords with their bright blossoms glow
ing and red : Though the lapse of one day see their freshness
declining, Yet bloom for one day when thy ninstrel has
Why should we sorrow for the dead ?
Our life on earth is but a span ;
They die the common death of man.
Must cease, when Winter's frowns appear; The reddest rose is wan and pale,
When Autumn tints the changing year. The fairest flower on earth must fade,
The brightest hopes on earth must die: Why should we mourn that man was made
To droop on earth, but dwell on high? The soul, th' eternal soul, must reign
In worlds devoid of pain and strife; Then why should mortal man complain
Of death, which leads to happier life?
The complex interlacing of the rhymes is peculiar to Alfred. Conipare 'Persia,' . The Fall of Jerusalem,' Time,' etc.
' - sudant tacita præcordia culpa.' - JUVENAL Oh! 't is a fearful thing to glance
Back on the gloom of mis-spent years: What shadowy forms of guilt advance,
And fill me with a thousand fears! The vices of my life arise,
Pourtray'd in shapes, alas ! too true;
And not one beam of hope breaks through, To cheer my old and aebing eyes.
How shall I brook to hear each crime,
While earth shall like a furnace burn? How shall I bear the with’ring look
Of men and angels, who will turn Their dreadful gaze on me alone ?
THE DELL OF E
* Tantum ævi longinqua valet mutare vetustas!' VIRGIL
T' illume my night of wretchedness,
Or lose the thoughts of what I do,
Holds up the mirror to my view.
Unlighted by the cheerful day,
To those dread depths where aye the same, Throughout the waste of darkness, glow
The glimmerings of the boundless flame. And yet I cannot here below Take my full cup of guilt, as some, And laugh away my doom to come. I would I 'd been all-heartless! then I might have sinn'd like other men; But all this side the grave is fear, A wilderness so dank and drear, That never wholesome plant would spring;
And all behind - I dare not think!
From the full view my spirits shrink;
I know the pangs that rack me now
That waits me, when my burning brow
That then shall scorch my writhing frame !
Ye know how bitter was the draught;
And ye have look'd at me and laugh'd,
Should these old feet their course retread
That I should lead the life I've led: My agony, my torturing shame, My guilt, my errors all the same! Oh, God! that thou wouldst grant that ne'er
My soul its clay-cold bed forsake,
That I might sleep, and never wake Unto the thrill of conscious fear;
For when the trumpet's piercing cry
And countless seraphs throng the sky,
THERE was a long, low, rushy dell, emboss'd With knolls of grass and clumps of copsewood
green; Mid-way a wandering burn the valley crossd, And streak'd with silvery line the wood-land
scene; High hills on either side to heaven upsprung,
Y-clad with groves of undulating pine, Upon whose heads the hoary vapours hung, And far — far off the heights were seen to
shine In clear relief against the sapphire sky, And many a blue stream wander'd thro' the
shade Of those dark groves that clomb the mountains
high, And glistening 'neath each lone entangled
glade, At length with brawling accent loudly fell Within the limpid brook that wound along the
How pleasant was the ever-varying light
Beneath that emerald coverture of bonghs ! How often, at th' approach of dewy night, Have those tall pine-trees heard the lover's
vows! How many a name was carv'd upon the trunk
Of each old hollow willow-tree, that stoop'd To lave its branches in the brook, and drunk Its freshening dew! How many a cypress
droop'd From those fair banks, where bloom'd the ear
liest flowers, Which the young year from her abounding
horn Scatters profuse within her secret bowers ! What rapturous gales from that wild dell
were borne ! And, floating on the rich spring breezes, flung Their incense o'er that wave on whose bright
banks they sprung! Long years had past, and there again I came, But man's rude hand had sorely scath'd the
dell; And though the cloud-capped mountains, still
the same, Uprear'd each heaven-invading pinnacle; Yet were the charms of that lone valley fled, And the grey - winding of the stream was
I WANDER IN DARKNESS AND
The brook, once murmuring o'er its pebbly
bed, Now deeply -- straightly — noiselessly went Slow turn’d the sluggish wheel beneath its
force, Where clattering mills disturb'd the solitude: Where was the prattling of its former course ? Its shelving, sedgy sides y-crown'd with
wood ? The willow trunks were fell’d, the names eras'd From one broad shattered pine, which still its
station grac'd. Remnant of all its brethren, there it stood, Braving the storms that swept the cliffs
above, Where once, throughout th' impenetrable wood,
Were heard the plainings of the pensive dove. But man had bid th' eternal forests bow
That bloom'd upon the earth-imbedded base Of the strong mountain, and perchance they
Upon the billows were the dwelling-place Of their destroyers, and bore terror round The trembling earth: — ah ! lovelier, had they
still Whisper'd unto the breezes with low sound,
And greenly flourish'd on their native hill, And flinging their proud arms in state on high, Spread out beneath the sun their glorious can
ANTONY TO CLEOPATRA
We two can meet no more;
The love to thee I bore.
Upon thy race and thee;
Yet still be true to me:
I WANDER in darkness and sorrow,
Unfriended, and cold, and alone, As dismally gurgles beside me
The bleak river's desolate moan. The rise of the volleying thunder
The mountain's lone echoes repeat: The roar of the wind is around me,
The leaves of the year at my feet. I wander in darkness and sorrow,
Uncheer'd by the moon's placid ray; Not a friend that I lov'd but is dead,
Not a hope but has faded away! Oh! when shall I rest in the tomb,
Wrapt about with the chill winding sheet ? For the roar of the wind is around me,
The leaves of the year at my feet.
I blame not the tempests of night;
The visions of youthful delight:
Their merciless presence I greet;
The leaves of the year at my feet.
Fair daughter of a regal line !
To thraldom bow not tame;
My every hope the same.
And liv'd within thy light;
I breath'd but in thy sight !
Were heard along the wave.
I follow'd thee, to save.
O'er Actium's ocean rung;
Her wreath away I fiung.
In this waste of existence, for solace,
On whom shall my lone spirit call ? Shall I fly to the friends of my bosom?
My God! I have buried them all!
My embraces no longer they meet;
The leaves of the year at my feet!
With motionless slumbers are prest; Those hearts which once throbb'd but for me,
Are chill as the earth where they rest.
Let the pitiless hurricanes beat;
The leaves of the year at my feet !