Imágenes de páginas



and desire which they inspired were seldom mingled with respect,
with affection, or with any chivalrous sentiment.
which fit them to be companions, advisers, confidential friends,
The qualities
rather repelled than attracted the libertines of Whitehall. In such
circumstances, the standard of female attainments was necessarily
low; and it was more dangerous to be above that standard than to
be beneath it. Extreme ignorance and frivolity were thought less
unbecoming in a lady than the slightest tincture of pedantry.


ALFRED TENNYSON, the present poet laureate of England, is the son of a clergyman of Lincolnshire, and was born about the year 1810. He went through the usual routine of a university education at Trinity College, Cambridge, and since then has lived a life of retirement. There is nothing particularly eventful in his biography, and beyond a very small circle it is said he is seldom met. 1830, he first appeared as an author, by publishing a small volume of verses, In which was succeeded by a second volume, three years afterward. In 1843 appeared his two volumes, including many of his former productions, considerably altered, with the addition of many new ones. "The Princess, a Medley,"-the largest and most ambitious of his works,'-and His more recent publications are "In Memoriam," which may be said to be the most characteristic. The latter is a tribute to his departed friend, Arthur H. Hallam, a son of the celebrated historian, to whom he was bound by many endearing ties, and who was on the point of marrying the poet's sister, when he sickened and died.

As a poet, Tennyson, like Wordsworth, has divided the critics; and here, as in most cases, the truth is not to be found in either extreme. minor pieces are truly beautiful and interest the feelings, and while we find, While some of his here and there, a gem in his larger productions, it must be acknowledged that much of what he has written is quaint, speculative, affected, and enigmatical.2 Among the beauties which atone for these faults, the "May Queen" stands out in prominent relief, for its simple and natural truthfulness, and touching pathos. It is, however, so generally known, having been brought before the public in so

The subject of the "Princess" relates to a certain philosophical princess, who founded a college of women, to be educated in high contempt for the male sex. This royal champion of "women's rights" has been betrothed to a neighboring prince, and the poet, assuming the character of this prince, narrates the tale. faults are so inextricably interwoven, and the latter are so glaring and many, that, as a sin"As a poem," says Mr. Moir, "its beauties and cere admirer of the genius of Tennyson, I could almost wish it had remained unwritten. I admit the excellence of particular passages; but it has neither general harmony of design nor sustained merit of execution."

2 Some of his critics are to me as enigmatical as the poet himself. For instance, the author of the "Illustrious Personages of the Nineteenth Century" says, in his praise, (I presume,) "He can gather up his strength like a serpent, in the gleaming coil of a line, or dart it out straight and free." I candidly confess I know not what this means, as applied to poetry. Read notices of Tennyson's works in "Gentleman's Magazine," Feb. 1848; "North British Review," ix. 43, and xiii. 473; "Edinburgh," lxxvii. 373; and "London Quarterly," lxx. 355.


many ways, that I refrain from quoting it. But the following pieces favorably

represent him :-


Lady Clara Vere de Vere,

Of me you shall not win renown;
You thought to break a country heart
For pastime, ere you went to town.
At me you smiled, but unbeguiled
I saw the snare, and I retired:
The daughter of a hundred earls-
You are not one to be desired.

Lady Clara Vere de Vere,

I know you proud to bear your name;
Your pride is yet no mate for mine,

Too proud to care from whence I came.
Nor would I break, for your sweet sake,
A heart that doats on truer charms:
A simple maiden in her flower

Is worth a hundred coats-of-arms.
Lady Clara Vere de Vere,

Some meeker pupil you must find;
For were you queen of all that is,

I could not stoop to such a mind.
You sought to prove how I could love,
And my disdain is my reply;
The lion on your old stone gates
Is not more cold to you than I.

Lady Clara Vere de Vere,

You put strange memories in my head:
Not thrice your branching limes have blown
Since I beheld young Laurence dead.
Oh, your sweet eyes, your low replies-
A great enchantress you may be;
But there was that across his throat
Which you had hardly cared to see.

Lady Clara Vere de Vere,

When thus he met his mother's view,
She had the passions of her kind,

She spake some certain truths of you.

Indeed, I heard one bitter word

That scarce is fit for you to hear:

Her manners had not that repose

Which stamps the caste of Vere de Vere.

Lady Clara Vere de Vere,

There stands a spectre in your hall!
The guilt of blood is at your door!

You changed a wholesome heart to gall!
You held your course without remorse,
To make him trust his modest worth,
And, last, you fix'd a vacant stare,
And slew him with your noble birth.

Trust me, Clara Vere de Vere,

From yon blue heavens above us bent
The gardener Adam and his wife

Smile at the claims of long descent.
Howe'er it be, it seems to me,

'Tis only noble to be good;

Kind hearts are more than coronets,
And simple faith than Norman blood.

I know you, Clara Vere de Vere,-
You pine among your halls and towers;
The languid light of your proud eyes
Is wearied of the rolling hours.

In glowing health, with boundless wealth,
But sickening of a vague disease,

You know so ill to deal with Time,

You needs must play such pranks as these.

Clara, Clara Vere de Vere,

If Time be heavy on your hands, Are there no beggars at your gate, Nor any poor about your lands? Oh! teach the orphan-boy to read, Or teach the orphan-girl to sew; Pray Heaven for a human heart, And let the foolish yeoman go.



In her ear he whispers gayly,
"If my heart by signs can tell,
Maiden, I have watch'd thee daily,
And I think thou lovest me well."
She replies, in accents fainter,
"There is none I love like thee."
He is but a landscape-painter,
And a village maiden she.
He to lips, that fondly falter,
Presses his without reproof;
Leads her to the village altar,

And they leave her father's roof. "I can make no marriage present; Little can I give my wife.

Love will make our cottage pleasant,
And I love thee more than life."

They by parks and lodges going
See the lordly castles stand:

Summer woods, about them blowing,
Made a murmur in the land.
From deep thought himself he rouses,
Says to her that loves him well,
"Let us see these handsome houses
Where the wealthy nobles dwell."

So she goes, by him attended,
Hears him lovingly converse,

Sees whatever fair and splendid
Lay betwixt his home and hers;
Parks with oak and chestnut shady,
Parks and order'd gardens great,
Ancient homes of lord and lady,
Built for pleasure and for state.
All he shows her makes him dearer:
Evermore she seems to gaze
On that cottage growing nearer,

Where they twain will spend their days.
Oh! but she will love him truly!
He shall have a cheerful home;
She will order all things duly,
When beneath his roof they come.
Thus her heart rejoices greatly,
Till a gateway she discerns
With armorial bearings stately,
And beneath the gate she turns;
Sees a mansion more majestic
Than all those she saw before:
Many a gallant gay domestic

Bows before him at the door.
And they speak in gentle murmur,
When they answer to his call,
While he treads with footsteps firmer,
Leading on from hall to hall.
And, while now she wonders blindly,
Nor the meaning can divine,
Proudly turns he round, and kindly—
"All of this is mine and thine!"
Here he lives in state and bounty,
Lord of Burleigh, fair and free;
Not a lord in all the county
Is so great a lord as he.

All at once the color flushes

Her sweet face from brow to chin: As it were with shame she blushes, And her spirit changed within. Then her countenance all over

Pale again as death did prove; But he clasp'd her like a lover,

And he cheer'd her soul with love. So she strove against her weakness, Though at times her spirits sank; Shaped her heart, with woman's meekness, To all duties of her rank:

And a gentle consort made he,

And her gentle mind was such,

That she grew a noble lady,

And the people loved her much.

But a trouble weigh'd upon her,

And perplex'd her, night and morn,

With the burden of an honor

Unto which she was not born. Faint she grew, and ever fainter,

As she murmur'd-"Oh! that he

Were once more that landscape-painter,
Which did win my heart from me!"
So she droop'd and droop'd before him,
Fading slowly from his side:

Three fair children first she bore him,
Then, before her time, she died.
Weeping, weeping late and early,
Walking up and pacing down,
Deeply mourn'd the Lord of Burleigh,
Burleigh-house by Stamford-town.
And he came to look upon her,

And he look'd at her, and said-
"Bring the dress, and put it on her,
That she wore when she was wed."
Then her people, softly treading,
Bore to earth her body, drest
In the dress that she was wed in,
That her spirit might have rest!


The splendor falls on castle walls
And snowy summits old in story;
The long light shakes across the lakes,
And the wild cataract leaps in glory:
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying.
Blow, bugle, answer echoes, dying, dying, dying.

Oh, hark! oh, hear! how thin and clear,
And thinner, clearer, farther going!
Oh! sweet and far, from cliff and scar
The horns of Elf-land faintly blowing.
Blow! let us hear the purple glens replying,
Blow, bugle, answer echoes, dying, dying, dying.

O love, they die on yon rich sky,

They faint on hill, on field, on river;

Our echoes roll from soul to soul,

And grow for ever and for ever.

Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
And answer echoes, answer, dying, dying, dying.


Two children in two neighbor villages

Playing mad pranks along the heathy leas;

Two strangers meeting at a festival;

Two lovers whispering by an orchard wall;
Two lives bound fast in one with golden ease;
Two graves grass-green beside a gray church-tower,
Wash'd with still rains and daisy-blossomed;
Two children in one hamlet born and bred;

So runs the round of life from hour to hour.

These few lines set before us very pleasantly two villagers-playing, parted, meeting, loving, wedding, dying, and leaving behind them two orphan children.

« AnteriorContinuar »