Let it pass, the dreary brow,
Let the dismal face go by,
Will it lead me to the grave?
Then I lose it: it will fly:
Can it overlast the nerves?
Can it overlive the eye?
But the other, like a star,
Thro’ the channel windeth far
Till it fade and fail and die,
To its Archetype that waits
Clad in light by golden gates,
Clad in light the Spirit waits
To embrace me in the sky.
[On the fly-leaf of a book illustrated by Bewick, in the library of the late Lord Ravensworth, the following lines in Tennyson’s autograph were discovered in 1903.]
A gate and a field half ploughed,
A solitary cow,
A child with a broken slate,
And a titmarsh in the bough.
But where, alack, is Bewick
To tell the meaning now?
[This poem, published in the second volume of Poems by Alfred Tennyson (in two volumes, London, Edward Moxon, MDCCCXLII), was reprinted in every edition until 1851, when it was suppressed.]
Sure never yet was Antelope
Could skip so lightly by.
Stand off, or else my skipping-rope
Will hit you in the eye.
How lightly whirls the skipping-rope!
How fairy-like you fly!
Go, get you gone, you muse and mope—
I hate that silly sigh.
Nay, dearest, teach me how to hope,
Or tell me how to die.
There, take it, take my skipping-rope
And hang yourself thereby.
=The New Timon and the Poets=
[From Punch, February 28, 1846. Bulwer Lytton published in 1845 his satirical poem ‘New Timon: a Romance of London,’ in which he bitterly attacked Tennyson for the civil list pension granted the previous year, particularly referring to the poem ‘O Darling Room’ in the 1833 volume. Tennyson replied in the following vigorous verses, which made the literary sensation of the year. Tennyson afterwards declared: ’I never sent my lines to Punch. John Forster did. They were too bitter. I do not think that I should ever have published them.’—Life, vol. I, p. 245.]
We know him, out of Shakespeare’s
And those fine curses which he spoke;
The old Timon, with his noble heart,
That, strongly loathing, greatly broke.
So died the Old: here comes the New:
Regard him: a familiar face:
I thought we knew him: What, it’s you
The padded man—that wears the stays—
Who killed the girls and thrill’d
With dandy pathos when you wrote,
A Lion, you, that made a noise,
And shook a mane en papillotes.
And once you tried the Muses too:
You fail’d, Sir: therefore now you turn,
You fall on those who are to you
As captain is to subaltern.