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of harmony was within, and only waiting its time to come forth in fuller power and more unmistakeable shape.
“Where Claribel low lieth
And so on for several stanzas:—the following tinkletoo is not poetry:
These lines, however, have a rich lingering beauty of diction quite delicious to the ear.
“Thou art not steeped in golden languor,
Who may know?”
“Thy dark eyes opened not,
In these specimens the poetical reader will find more to admire than to censure; but the critics sometimes are deaf, “charm ye never so wisely” their ears are shut to music, and their eyes to beauty.
Three years afterwards, Mr. Tennyson published another volume, and gave the fullest evidence of his poetical genius. He had been wise enough to profit by the criticism of his friends and enemies, and, consequently, the new volume was received with more favor: it showed a marvellous advance on the previous book, and stamped the author as one of the rising men of our time. In this volume were the exquisite poems of “The Miller's Daughter,” and “The Proud Lady Clara Vere de Vere.” Shortly after he printed a poem called “The Lover's Tale:” this, however, he supprest, contenting himself with giving a few copies away. As he disavows this production, we shall quote nothing from it. It is decidedly unworthy his reputation. Here lapse ten years of Alfred Tennyson's life; silent to the public, but slowly working. In 1843 appeared his two volumes, including many of his old productions previously published, with the addition of many new ones; alterations were also made in those he retained. In this volume he first made audible “The Two Voices,” undoubtedly the greatest poem he has written; we observe that it was composed as far back as 1833; contrasting the union of force and thoughtful subtlety displayed in this poem, with the last of his productions, “The Princess,” the conclusion is forced upon us that the mind of Alfred Tennyson is not progressive. We shall devote some space to its examination, and select instances of the peculiar force with which the poet places before the mind of his readers thoughts of the utmost subtlety. The poem is an argument, pro. and con. between the hopeful and despondent impulses of our nature, one prompting to suicide, the other urging cheerfulness and patience:
“A “still small voice’ spake unto me,
Then to the still small voice I said:
To which the voice did urge reply,
An inner impulse rent the veil
He dried his wings—like gauze they grew,
I said, ‘when first the world began,
She gave him mind—the lordliest
Thereto the silent voice replied—
This truth within thy mind rehearse,
The despondent spirit then goes on to show that the existence
of any particular item is immaterial in so vast an universe. The hope-blest voice demands that some peculiarity gives an individual value to every separate human being.
“To which he answered scoffingly—
Or will one beam be less intense,
A shower of tears is the poet's reply. Again the Mephistophilean voice urges the despondency of his heart, as a conclusive argument of the insufficiency of human life to attain felicity. The brighter voice consults patience in you,
“Shut the life from happier chance."