« PreviousContinue »
appearance as a poet, he was quietly overlooked by the public, and was treated to more derision than criticism by the literary journals. When his popularity once struck root, it grew rapidly, and in a few years became an overshadowing fashion. Since the publication of his first Idylls of the King, it has been almost considered as a heresy, in England, to question the perfection of his poetry i even the sin of his art came to be regarded as its special virtue. The estimate of his performance rose into that extravagance which sooner or later provokes a reaction against itself. There are, at present, signs of the beginning of such a reaction, and we need not be surprised if (as in Byron's case) it should swing past the line of justice, and end by undervaluing, for a time, many of the poet's high and genuine qualities. This is the usual law of literary fame which has known such vicissitudes. Its vibrations, though lessened, continue until Time, the sure corrector of all aberrations of human judgment, determines its moveless place. And Tennyson's place in the literature of the English language, whatever may be its relation to that of the acknowledged masters of song, is sure to be high and permanent.
1.-ULYSSES. [INTRODUCTION.—This poem contains seventy as strong lines of blank verse as are to be found in the English language. It has been pronounced “the soul of all Homer.” Under the heroic form of the Homeric Ulysses, the poem symbolizes the passionate desire felt by all noble souls " to seek a newer world”
“To follow knowledge, like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.")
NOTES. Ulysses. Ulysses, called his twenty years of adventurous
Odysseus ('Odvocevs) by the wanderings, and to have re-
cients to indicate the approach 1, 2. idle king ... crags. Ulysses is of rainy weather when they rose here supposed to have finished
with the sun.
LITERARY ANALYSIS.-1-5. It ... me. Is the structure periodic or loose? What is the logical subject of the verb " profits,” of which “it” is the antici. pative subject ?
3. mete and dole. What is the distinction between these synonyms? 6, 7. will drink ... lees. What is the figure of speech?
II. Vexed, etc. What is the figure of speech ?-1 am become a name. Ex plain.
Much have I seen and known-cities of men,
This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
LITERARY ANALYSIS.–18. I am a part, etc. Paraphrase this statement.
19-21. Yet all... move. What is the figure of speech ?-These three nobie lines should be committed to memory.
23. To rust unburnished, etc. On what is the figure founded ? 27. that eternal silence. For what word is this expression a periphrasis ? 30. spirit. What is the grammatical construction?
33-43. This is my son ... mine. Draw out in your own language the fine contrast of character between Ulysses and his son Telemachus.
There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail; There gloom the dark broad seas. My mariners, 45 Souls that have toiled and wrought and thought with me, That ever with a frolic welcome took The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed Free hearts, free foreheads, you and I are old. Old age hath yet his honor and his toil. Death closes all ; but something ere the end, Some work of noble note, may yet be done, Not unbecoming men that strove with gods. The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks; The long day wanes ; the slow moon climbs; the deep 55 Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends, 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world. Push off, and, sitting well in order, smite The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths Of all the western stars, until I die. It may be that the gulfs will wash us down ; It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles, And see the great Achilles, whom we knew. Though much is taken, much abides; and though 65 We are not now that strength which in old days Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are:
63. Happy Isles, the “Fortunate Isles,"
or Islands of the Blessed. The
the river Oceanus. In poems
LITERARY ANALYSIS.—44-53. There lies ... gods. Of the words in these ten lines ten are of other than Anglo-Saxon origin. What are these words? What effect is gained by the use of so large a proportion of Anglo-Saxon words ?-Point out an instance of personification in this passage.
54-70. The lights ... yield. In this passage point out specially vigorous or picturesque words or expressions.-Point out an instance of metaphor.-Explain what is meant by the fine expression “the baths of all the western stars." - Note the strong staccato effect of the monosyllables in the last two lines.
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
11.-LOCKSLEY HALL. Comrades, leave me here a little, while as yet 'tis early morn; Leave me here, and when you want me, sound upon the bugle
'Tis the place, and all around it, as of old, the curlews call,
15 When I clung to all the present for the promise that it closed : When I dipped into the future far as human eye could see; Saw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be.
In the spring a fuller crimson comes upon the robin's breast;
In the spring a livelier iris changes on the burnished dove; · In the spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of
love. Then her cheek was pale and thinner than should be for one so
young, And her eyes on all my motions with a mute observance hung.