« 이전계속 »
peaceful and appropriate, and the picture will not soon pass from the memory of the white face which
Gleam'd to the flying moon by fits.
RECOGNITION AwardED TENNYSON.
ONCERNING Tennyson's exquisite art two opinions have not been, and cannot be, held. He furnishes, indeed, an instance unique in literature of a man of absolutely foremost mark, concerning whose place in the Temple of Fame no doubt is permissible, who yet in his lifetime won plenary recognition. A few crabbed old dogs of the old-fashioned school bayed at his brightness, and the “crusty, crusty, musty, fusty Christopher North even snapped at his heels.” The elect, however, recognised his merits from the first, and in early life even he was idolised of the reading public generally. Admiration of him is mightiest in the mightiest, and the warmest tributes to the poet have been paid him by the greatest of his compeers. The utterance of Wordsworth, who, contrary to what might have been expected, recognised the worth of the man destined to be his successor; those of Carlyle, Longfellow, and others have been given to the world in extenso ; that of Mr. Swinburne, who alone is worthy to wear the mantle of the Laureate, fallen from the august shoulders that wore it, is known to his friends. Not easily shall I forget hearing Mr. Swinburne recite as the most musical lines ever written, two lines from the “Lotos-Eaters ”:
Music that gentlier on the spirit lies
The shorter lyrics meanwhile are unequalled since Shakespeare, Milton himself having nothing in the way so exquisite ; only in a foreign language, less suited perhaps than our own to the purposes of poetry, can we find anything to equal them in finish and beauty—a few lyrics of Musset and Victor Hugo alone can challenge supremacy.
HE one question that rises, then, is whether the message of Tennyson's poetry is equally worthy with the method employed by the poet. On this point alone two opinions are possible. A certain measure of truth underlies the assertion that in some of his best known poems Tennyson reflected his own age rather than the world at large, and that the “In Memoriam,” in some respects his
crowning work, presents aspects of mental struggle which the world has since outlived. A man so creative and daring as Shakespeareand, longo intervallo, Balzac—may take for his domain the whole range of human life. On natures less profoundly original, the times in which they are placed exercise a potent influence. If Tennyson is held to represent a period, the same may be said of Dante and of Milton. Men who in the matter of negation go what is practically the whole length-Rabelais, Voltaire, Goethe-get the credit or discredit of their thoroughness. Others, with Pascal and Tennyson, though held by the “unco guid” as heretics, are in fact the most devout of believers. Of what may be and is called agnosticism“In Memoriam” is the bible, of aggressive negation it contains nothing. The most serious defect in his literary equipment, as in that of Victor Hugo and Milton, is the absence of humour. His poems in dialect—“ The Northern Farmer" and the like-are regarded by some as humour. What is so called is, however, observation of nature and insight into life.
TENNYSON'S APPEARANCE. N EVER, probably, was a face so seldom seen so familiar to the IV public. Photography is, of course, responsible for this. Tennyson, to use the customary phrase, "took well.” Among men still living, Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Irving alone probably would be as easily recognisable as was Tennyson. The costume he affected contributed to render him more conspicuous. His was a face that repaid perusal-beautiful in itself, revealing imagination, refinement, distinction, and pride. Carlyle's often-quoted description cannot be surpassed: “One of the finest-looking men in the world. A great shock of rough, dusty-dark hair ; bright-laughing, hazel eyes ; massive aquiline face, most massive yet most delicate, of sallow-brown complexion, almost Indian-looking ; clothes cynically loose, free and easy—smokes infinite tobaccos.” With the exception of the “brightlaughing eye,” which was known only to those more intimate than I had the privilege to be, the portrait is exact. I am disposed to add as complementary to it, however, the statement of Edward Fitzgerald, that his smile was rather grim. Some particulars of his excursions I had from his brother Septimus, who long ago died. Of these none is worth recalling except one statement that bears out Carlyle's description—"smokes infinite tobaccos.” In company with friends, a long ramble in Italy had been arranged. When the party arrived at Florence, Tennyson found that his tobacco had given out. No tobacco fit to be smoked could be found in Italy, and the poet,
abandoning his tour, returned home. Whether this was an excuse to be rid of comradeship that proved less agreeable than had been anticipated, or a genuine excuse, I know not.
WHO is TO BE LAUREATEP
If the example previously set is followed, there will be a long
period, during which the poetic “dovecots” will be “fluttered" with regard to the succession to the Laureateship. Tennyson is said to have hoped that the dignity, if such a term can be applied to a post held by men such as Nahum Tate and Lawrence Eusden, would expire with himself. This is, perhaps, the best solution of the question. Judged by the standard of poetic merit there is only one man worthy to step into the poetic shoes, and that is, of course, Mr. Swinburne. Mr. William Morris's entire career seems to disqualify him for any post or connection with royalty. Of the others who have been named, I can only say that any one of them who ascends the vacant chair will display a sad lack of humour. That a berth filled in succession by Southey, Wordsworth, and Tennyson should pass into the hands of Or would be enough to produce a new “Dunciad.” Matthew Arnold, had he lived, would probably have been the Laureate, and his appointment would have been generally approved. I have long had in view a candidate of whom I have not as yet read. The Laureateship is a Court function. It was offered to Rogers, the banker, who was little enough of a poet, before it was taken by Tennyson. Sir Theodore Martin, the biographer of the Prince Consort, is known to be a persona grata at Court. His poetic abilities, though he would not himself put them in the first rank, are higher than those of Rogers. Supposing the office not to be accepted by Mr. Swinburne and not to be abolished, I would, if I were a sporting prophet, advise my readers to “put their money on ” Sir Theodore.
ANECDOTE OF TENNYSON.
N one occasion the Laureate was in the rooms of an eminent astronomer, possessor of a fine telescope. Through this the Laureate was able to divide the Milky Way into the separate systems
of which it is composed. In characteristic silence Tennyson gazed
his fill, then, turning away, lighted his pipe and sat down, observing
simply, “I don't think much of our English county families.” I have told the story before, but the occasion seems to justify its repetition.
By RICHARD MARSH.
" U IGMAKERS have brought their art to such perfection
VV that it is difficult to detect false hair from real. Why should not the same skill be shown in the manufacture of a mask ? Our faces, in one sense, are nothing but masks. Why should not the imitation be as good as the reality? Why, for instance, should not this face of mine, as you see it, be nothing but a mask—a some. thing which I can take off and on?”
She laid her two hands softly against her cheeks. There was a ring of laughter in her voice.
“ Such a mask would not only be, in the highest sense, a work of art, but it would also be a thing of beauty-a joy for ever."
“ You think that I am beautiful ? "
I could not doubt it—with her velvet skin just tinted with the bloom of health, her little dimpled chin, her ripe red lips, her flashing teeth, her great, inscrutable dark eyes, her wealth of hair which gleamed in the sunlight. I told her so.
“So you think that I am beautiful? How odd-how very odd !”
I could not tell if she was in jest or earnest. Her lips were parted by a smile. But it did not seem to me that it was laughter which was in her eyes.
“And you have only seen me, for the first time, a few hours
“ Such has been my ill-fortune."
“ And you think there is nothing in my theory about—a mask?"
“ On the contrary, I think there is a great deal in any theory you may advance."
A waiter brought me a card upon a salver.
I glanced at the card. On it was printed, “ George Davis, Scotland Yard.” As I was looking at the piece of pasteboard she passed behind me.
“ Perhaps I shall see you again, when we will continue our discussion about-a mask.”
I rose and bowed. She went from the verandah down the steps into the garden. I turned to the waiter. “Who is that lady ?"
“ I don't know her name, sir. She came in last night. She has a private sitting-room at No. 22.” He hesitated. Then he added, “ I'm not sure, sir, but I think the lady's name is Jaynes—Mrs. Jaynes.”
“Where is Mr. Davis ? Show him into my room.”
I went to my room and awaited him. Mr. Davis proved to be a short, spare man, with iron-grey whiskers and a quiet, unassuming manner.
“ You had my telegram, Mr. Davis ?”
“ The circumstances of my case are so peculiar, Mr. Davis, that, instead of going to the local police, I thought it better to at once place myself in communication with head-quarters." Mr. Davis bowed. “I came down yesterday afternoon by the express from Paddington. I was alone in a first-class carriage. At Swindon a young gentleman got in. He seemed to me to be about twentythree or four years of age, and unmistakably a gentleman. We had some conversation together. At Bath he offered me a drink out of his flask. It was getting evening then. I have been hard at it for the last few weeks. I was tired. I suppose I fell asleep. In my sleep I dreamed.”
" You dreamed ?"
“I dreamed that I was being robbed." The detective smiled. “ As you surmise, I woke up to find that my dream was real. But the curious part of the matter is that I am unable to tell you where my dream ended, and where my wakefulness began. I dreamed that something was leaning over me, rifling my person-some hideous, gasping thing which, in its eagerness, kept emitting short cries which