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that careless readers often fail to appreciate the depth of his thought. Tennyson is not only remarkable for clearness and conciseness of expression, he is chiefly remarkable for the range and variety of his work. His work covers almost the entire field of the poet's art. He is a lyric poet, an epic poet, a dramatist; he writes ballads, dialect poems, sonnets, and elegies. He is a consummate artist, as varied in subject as in manner. In Ulysses, The Lotus Eaters, and many other poems, he treats of classic themes; in St. Simon Stylites, Galahad, and others, he goes to the Middle Ages for his subjects; while in such poems as Maud, The Gardener's Daughter, or Aylmer's Field, he gives us finished studies of the life of modern England. In Dora, he told a story of quiet country life as simply as Wordsworth might have done; in The Charge of the Light Brigade, he was the patriot poet, stirring the heart of England, very much as Kipling stirred it at a later time. You have only to compare the rough vigor and humor of the Northern Farmer with the spiritual exaltation and refined beauty of In Memoriam to form some idea of the range and variety of Tennyson's art.

Of course Tennyson was not equally successful in all these widely different fields, yet his skill as an artist seldom fails him, and on the whole the average excellence of his poetry is surprisingly high.

Theory of Art. — Tennyson was a true lover of beauty. He is both musical and pictorial; that is, he had a fine ear for the melody of words, and a quick and true eye for all that is picturesque. But while he loved beauty, and while he had a marvelous power of expressing it, he believed, like Milton and Browning, that beauty is not the only essential of great poetry. To Tennyson the true poet must be something of a prophet; he

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must not live for himself only, in selfish enjoyment of
culture or emotion, he must be the helper and teacher
of others. Tennyson's convictions on this whole ques-
tion of the right relation of beauty and culture to life
were embodied, as has been already said, in a memorable
and beautiful poem, The Palace of Art. Not all the
refined enjoyments of human life, all knowledge, though
we know "the best that has been said and thought
in the world," all beauty, not even all religions,
they are merely studied, but neither practised nor
believed, will save the "sinful soul," if, absorbed in
itself, it fails in love to others, for love is the greatest
thing in the world.


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“And he that shuts Love out, in turn shall be
Shut out from Love, and on her threshold lie
Howling in outer darkness."

In her high palace of Art, built far above the reach of common men, the selfish soul learns at last that culture and beauty are not enough for life. In her despair she hears from far off the sound of human footsteps,the steps of the men and women who toil and suffer in the great plain below. She comes down from her lofty house of pride and selfishness, and seeks for herself a cottage in the valley. The royal palace is left untouched; her mistake has not been in loving beauty and culture, but in loving them only:

"Yet pull not down my palace towers, that are
So lightly, beautifully built:

Perchance I may return with others there

When I have purged my guilt."

As a Teacher. Tennyson was not content with pointing out the place that beauty and culture should

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hold in life; he practised what he taught. He did not shut himself away from his fellow-men in a Palace of Art, he was keenly interested in the scientific thought and social questions of the day, and more fully than any other Victorian poet he felt and interpreted the changing spirit of his time. We cannot do more here than refer to some of the fundamental principles of Tennyson's teaching, and show in a very general way how he spoke for Victorian England as well as for himself.

First of all, Tennyson was distinctly the poet of the new science. In Locksley Hall, one of his earlier poems, he put into stirring verse the youthful enthusiasm of those who, as they looked at the wonders which were being done by science, thought that a better day had at last dawned for the race. The hero of the poem has nourished his youthful spirit on "the fairy tales of science." He is unsuccessful in love, and in the bitterness of his disappointment he finds consolation in the future triumphs of science, in the "Vision of the World" that is to be. Written in the early years in an era of change, this poem sounded as a trumpet call to young men of that generation, for its cry is"Forward!"-better fifty years of progress than a cycle of stagnation.


"Not in vain the distance beacons.

Forward, forward let us


Let the great world spin forever down the ringing grooves of change."

In the early part of the Victorian period many thought that science was to lead them into the land of promise: in the latter part many saw sadly that the world was still in the land of bondage. In Locksley Hall Sixty

Years After, written toward the close of his life, Tennyson expressed the feeling of the later period, the sense of the inadequacy of modern science, which we have already found in the works of Ruskin and Carlyle. The cry of "Forward" is heard no longer; the inventions of science have not, after all, redeemed the world:

"Half the marvels of my morning, triumphs over time and space Staled by frequence, shrunk by usage into commonest commonplace!"

But Tennyson is not merely the poet of scientific invention, in its promise or in its disappointments; he is the poet of science in a far deeper sense. He absorbed the theories and the spirit of modern science, and made them the basis of much of his work. Yet his point of view is not purely scientific, for he interpreted the new scientific ideas in his own way, often finding in them a deeper spiritual meaning. The theory of evolution, for example, appealed to him very deeply and became a leading feature of his teachings. But it was the broad spiritual application of this theory which interested him. Evolution, or the development of life from the lower to the higher, suggested to him the eternal purpose of God in his creation; it revealed life to him as a slow progress toward perfection. So the youthful cry of "Forward" gains a deeper meaning, and Tennyson sees:

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Thus Byron's rebellious clamor for liberty, Shelley's noble "passion for reforming the world" by some sudden and unaccountable conversion of humanity, were

succeeded by Tennyson's belief that the race is slowly moving upward, and that all which is low and brutal in man is to be brought at last under the mastery of the spirit. This painful but certain progress of the race is the underlying theme of the Idylls of the King. Taken as a whole, these Idylls show us the struggle between the lower and the higher elements in man, between body and spirit, the senses and the soul. The higher elements are not always victorious: the progress of the world, while certain, is not uninterrupted. King Arthur tries to set up his ideal Kingdom, to reform the world at a stroke, as Shelley would have done, and apparently fails. But his failure is only apparent. He is disheartened only because he has been too impatient and has not seen to the end. Arthur will come again, and as he departs, the King himself declares, "I pass but shall not die."

Finally, Tennyson is not only the poet of modern science and modern progress; he is the poet of that conflict between doubt and faith which stirred the men of his generation. Up to a certain point he followed science; but he felt that science alone could not meet the deepest needs of the soul. To Tennyson, the unseen, or spiritual, world was more real than the world which we call physical. He appreciated with the scientist the laws which govern the physical world, the world we can see, and feel, and touch, yet to him the "true world" was the world of spirit:

"" .. Within the world we see Whereof our world is but the bounding shore."

To him, as to Wordsworth, Carlyle, and Ruskin, Nature was but the manifestation of that Spirit which fills and sustains it:

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