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In one, King Arthur, in sleep that may be death, is watched by weeping queens; iu another, Numa meets the nymph Egeria; in a third, Ganymede shoots through the sky, borne upward by the eagle. I have often wondered whether this last was suggested by Titian's picture of Ganymede and the eagle in our National Gallery.
Or sweet Europa's mantle blew unclasp'd
From off her shoulder backward borne;
The mild bull's golden horn.
I quote this as it appears in the earlier editions. In the most recent, the word " blew" in the first line is changed into "blue." The reader may take which he chooses, but I think the picture gains more by the animation and movement of the blowing breeze than by the touch of color. In this instance, the painter would have the advantage of the poet, for with one sweep of the brush he could show the mantle both as blue in color and as blown backward by the wind. When Tennyson tells us that the mantle was blue, he takes the wind out of his picture, and the unclasped mantle threatens to fall down upon the bull's back. Titian may have given the suggestion for this picture also. Round the royal dais, on which the soul took her scat, were choice paintings of wise men, conspicuous among them Milton, Shakspeare, Dante, and Homer. Plato and Verulam looked down upon her.
At first the soul was joyful and exultant. She sang in feastful mirth, feeling herself " lord over nature, lord of the visible earth, lord of the senses five." She rejoiced in her isolation, gazing scornfully on the herds of human swine that darkened the plain. At last she summed up her pride in this magnificent and celebrated verse:
I take possession of man's mind and deed.
I care not what the sects may brawl.
But contemplating all.
So it continued for three years. Then, " lest she should fail and perish utterly," she was struck by Heaven with pangs of hell. She dreaded and loathed her solitude. She scorned herself, then laughed at her self-scorn. She struggled to bethink her of her spacious mansion, her place of strength, her glorious world of intellect, beauty, music, pride.
But in dark corners of her palace stood
Uncertain shapes: and unawares
And horrible nightmares.
And hollow shades enclosing hearts of flame,
And, with dim-fretted foreheads all,
That stood against the wall.
Was the imagery of a mind diseased—of a soul tormented by conscience—ever more powerfully delineated?
Back on herself her serpent pride had cm I'd.
"No voice," she shrieked in that lone hall,
One deep, deep silence all I"
She, mouldering with the dull earth's mouldering sod,
Inwrapt tenfold in slothful shame,
Lost to her place and name;
And death and life she hated equally,
And nothing saw, for her despair,
No comfort anywhere.
"She howled aloud,' I am on fire within !'" There was no reply. For four years the searching agony endured. Then she threw aside her royal robes.
"Make me a cottage in the vale," she cried,
"Yet pull not down my palace towers that are
The essence of the sin was not culture, but the selfishness and aristocraticism of cultured pride; not delight, whether of the senses or of the mind, but delight unshared by others; not abstention from the partisanship of creeds, but contemptuous isolation from those who accept them, and lack of sympathetic appreciation of the truth they contain. Such isolation, such pride, such culture, arc indeed damnable.
TENNYSON AS A PEOPLE'S POET.
TN the Dream of Fair Women and Palace of Art Tennyson -*- dealt with subjects belonging emphatically to what may be called the academic or patrician department of literary production. The fair women whose "star-like sorrows" are written on their " immortal eyes," in the one poem, were, each and all, daughters or wives of kings or mighty chiefs; and the lesson inculeated in the other can hardly have much practical interest for any but persons of elaborate culture, aesthetic sensibility, and high social position. In The Princess, too, the subject, scene, and characters belong to the upper classes, and the various lays of the Round-table are idyls of a king.
At first glance, then, it might seem absurd to call Tennyson in any sense a poet of the people; and yet he has continued from first to last in true poetic sympathy with that wave of democratic feeling and aspiration which passed over the United Kingdom in the days of his early manhood, and which has produced no utterance so melodious as Locksley Hall. The hopes and wishes of the young Liberal in that poem are independent of class distinctions. Listen to his self-delineation:
Yearning for the large excitement that the coming years would yield,
"Work," "brotherhood "—therc nrc no words more expressive of the kinship of humanity, of the fellowship which is at once noble, rational, and practicable, than these. Mr. Matthew Arnold read us lately an eloquent lecture on the antique precept, " Choose equality and flee greed;" and there can, I think, be no doubt that, from the days of Menander downward, men have believed that, in some sense or other, social equality was a blessing and a boon, a something to be aimed at and held precious as the finest essence of civilization. But unless we merge all precision of idea in vague flourishes of rhetoric, we must have some understanding as to the nature of the equality in question. Negatively, it cannot be better defined than by pointing out, with Menander and Mr. Arnold, its opposition to greed, selfishness, pride of possession. But when we attempt to define it positively, we are met by the faot, which none but a lunatic will dispute, that, apart from all question of property, no two men, women, or children in the world are equal in respect of capacity, sensibilit}', or energy. Is there any trait of character which may link us in the bond of a real, and not a merely imaginary equality—an equality attainable by all, and, therefore, presenting a basis on which the brotherhood of mankind might be worked out, not merely as a pleasing fancy, but as a possible fact?
We may venture, I think, to return an affirmative answer to this question. I sec no reason why mutual consideration should not become a universal characteristic of men; that is to say, I do not see that any degree of weakness of intellect or will, however extreme, is incompatible with the attainment of this habit. When it becomes so—when a man is literally incapable, whether from meagreness of brain or infirmity of will, of considering any one but himself—then he falls below the human level, and I would no more call him my equal than I should a born idiot. But I can imagine that, in a society in which mutual consideration reached a high point of develop