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The younger poet was only incidentally a poet of Naturereversing the phrase about loving 'not man the less.' He is so much more interested in men and women ; but his own intense vitality gives him a joyous sympathy with all that has life, and all that gives life. Apart from his acute observation, the out-of-door feeling, the physical exhilaration (not the Wordsworthian moral elevation) of being in the open is very marked in him. His horse-back poems have it, of course ; James Lee's wife' is chiefly readable-I speak for myself—because of it; but perhaps it reaches about its highest pitch in the out-door bit of Pauline, at the lines
'Blue sunny air, where a great cloud floats laden
Water is beautiful, but not like air.' As might be expected, the Laureate stands somewhat as a link between the two in his way of looking at Nature. She is more intimately bound up with his thoughts than with Browning's, but is less exclusively responsible for the best of them than with Wordsworth. He presents her with an accuracy and an unfailing felicity of phrase unrivalled except by the universal rival Shakspeare, and by Keats. He can be lavish in gorgeous detail, as in ‘Enoch Arden'; but he can call up a complete picture in a couple of lines
There is a whole landscape in that, or in such a phrase as 'the long grey fields at night' (in the ‘May Queen '), just as clear as Wordsworth gives us in ‘Tintern Abbey. He has above all the art of putting clearly before you the salient features which of themselves suggest the background; the art of not saying the superfluous thing ; so that in a few lines you have a picture of infinite suggestiveness The scene of the Passing of Arthur is a perfect piece of painting, with its ruined chapel-
"A broken chancel with a broken cross,
There Sir Bedivere left the King, and
From the ruined shrine he stepped,
'Heard the water lapping on the crag,
In this purely picturesque treatment of Nature, Tennyson's mastery of happy phrase, though at times the hypercritical may feel it a trifle forced, aids his artistic skill in selecting what needs
a to be presented to make the picture which he wishes you to see, so as to produce an extraordinarily visible effect. But you feel in such a case as this that the scene was painted for the sake of the story enacted in it. Whereas in Wordsworth, if you got such a fine piece of painting, you would feel that if anything was going on, it was a superfluous thing to which you needn't pay much attention--the scene itself would be the important matter, On the other hand, 'The Higher Pantheism 'is not in the least Wordsworthian, but it is the outcome of a comparatively Wordsworthian way of looking at Nature: not the mood of the painter, or of the dramatic artist in search of a suitable background; but of one contemplating the embodied glories of the universe, and endeavouring to realise the Eternal Being shadowed forth in them.
But it is in that close observation, without which it would be impossible to attain such perfection of presentment, such felicity in the application of descriptive epithets, that the Laureate excels ; as of the eagle who 'clasps the rock with crooked hands,' or the sea-blue bird of March. In this particular respect the
'' difference between his method and Browning's seems to lie somewhat in this—that what Tennyson records is the thing that the rest of the world has half-noticed ; what is vaguely a part of the picture or idea in their minds, and forces the whole into vivid view when brought before them in a flash; whereas what Browning records is apt to be the thing that ordinary folk have not noticed at all. Both of them use their reminiscences of Nature by way of casual allusion or illustration ; but scenery, birds, flowers, are much oftener in the mind of Tennyson, and
are set before us in more familiar guise. We are commonly more pleased by such a line as the earliest pipe of halfawakened birds,' than by being reminded that the thrush 'sings each song twice over,' or that the cuckoo's cry is sometimes in a minor third.
If it is the majesty of Nature that most of all impresses itself on the mind of Wordsworth, and her vitality that most strikes Browning, it is in her every day garb of quiet beauty that Tennyson chiefly loves to present her; it is in the pastoral and the idyll that we find his most characteristic delineations—as indeed it is in such pieces that his most distinctive work is generally to be looked for. One may doubt the permanent interest of King Arthur and his knights; one may question the philosophic merits of 'Vastness,' and the value of 'Despair'; but while summer suns are warm, and woodland breezes are fragrant, it is difficult to imagine that such verses as these will lose their delight
* All the land in flowery squares
Apropos of the last line, by the way, it is interesting to note the manful disregard of the poetic tradition which insists on making the female bird the musician. It is rather difficult to understand why the Philomel’ theory has taken such hold on the literary imagination. Probably the pensive associations of the evening hour are largely responsible ; for the nightingale's song in broad
day is not very suggestive of a plaint.' Wordsworth and Tennyson have both been more regardful of the fact than of the tradition.
In this connection we may remark the Laureate's peculiarly felicitous rendering of the voices of birds, as in the much misunderstood Throstle.'
'Summer is coming, Summer is coming,
I know it, I know it, I know it.' I shall have occasion in my next paper to quote another very striking instance from Maud,' the point of which is often overlooked, though it might be considered sufficiently obvious.
But if we want to feel the poet's real and constant intimacy with Nature, we shall perhaps find it most convincingly presented, not so much in his deliberate description of scenes, whether chiefly for their own sakes (as in the Gardener's Daughter'), or for their effect as accessories (as in the Passing of Arthur'), as in the incidental touches which serve to illustrate some idea with which they are only imaginatively associated. With one example of this class I will close
· Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
When I put out to sea,
Too full for sound and foam,
ARTHUR D. INNES.
RUN TO EARTH.' BY MARY CHOLMONDELEY, AUTHOR OF THE DANV ERS' JEWELS'
AND `SIR CHARLES DANVERS.'
How we got through the rest of that night I hardly know. That we none of us had closed an eye I should have been certain had not the grey dawn, when at last it came, turned to sunshine in a moment's space, and I found Challoner shaking me up to go and bathe with him in the mere. We came back glowing and in recovered spirits to the Chase to find the old woman on her knees before the fire cleaning the grate, and Lord Carden fast asleep as we had left him in his arm-chair.
Poor Charles,' said Challoner, smiling, as he remembered how on our return to the hall we had found that gentleman ensconced under the oak table with the poker, and much too seriously alarmed to keep up even a semblance of valour.
And at the remembrance of the events of the night Challoner's face clouded over. Even in broad daylight the ghost troubled him, as well it might. He was soon absorbed in intense thought, pacing up and down with his arms folded, his eyes on the ground. At last he stopped, frowned, bit his lip, and with an impatient gesture turned sharply to his brother, and woke him up, it being now close upon nine o'clock, the breakfast hour of the Wisemans. Lord Carden gasped, rubbed his eyes, shivered, and making an involuntary dab at the poker, murmured something about there being no cause to be alarmed.'
* None in the least, as you observe,' said Challoner, cheerfully, but with an evident effort. Come, old man, you have overslept yourself. Mostyn and I have had a swim in the mere. There won't be time for you, or Mrs. Wiseman's muffins will be cold. We are due at breakfast at the cottage in ten minutes.'
Lord Carden recovered himself, poked the new-born fire with