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Bloom’s Modern Critical Views

Poets: Volume 1

Poets: Volume 2

Aldous Huxley
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Alice Munro
Alice Walker
American Modernist

American Women

Poets: 1650–1950
American Women

Poets: 1950 to the

Amy Tan
Anton Chekhov
Arthur Miller
Asian-American Writers
August Wilson
� e Bible
� e Brontës
Carson McCullers
Charles Dickens
Christopher Marlowe
Contemporary Poets
Cormac McCarthy
C.S. Lewis
Dante Alighieri
David Mamet
Derek Walcott
Don DeLillo
Doris Lessing
Edgar Allan Poe
Émile Zola
Emily Dickinson
Ernest Hemingway
Eudora Welty
Eugene O’Neill
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Flannery O’Connor
Franz Kafka
Gabriel García

Geo� rey Chaucer
George Bernard Shaw

George Orwell
G.K. Chesterton
Gwendolyn Brooks
Hans Christian

Henrik Ibsen
Henry David � oreau
Herman Melville
Hermann Hesse
H.G. Wells

Honoré de Balzac
Jack London
Jamaica Kincaid
James Joyce
Jane Austen
Jay Wright
J.D. Salinger
Jean-Paul Sartre
John Donne and the

Metaphysical Poets
John Irving
John Keats
John Milton
John Steinbeck
José Saramago
Joseph Conrad
J.R.R. Tolkien
Julio Cortázar
Kate Chopin
Kurt Vonnegut
Langston Hughes
Leo Tolstoy
Marcel Proust
Margaret Atwood
Mark Twain
Mary Wollstonecraft

Maya Angelou
Miguel de Cervantes
Milan Kundera
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Native American


Norman Mailer
Octavio Paz
Oscar Wilde
Paul Auster
Philip Roth
Ralph Ellison
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ray Bradbury
Richard Wright
Robert Browning
Robert Frost
Robert Hayden
Robert Louis

� e Romantic Poets
Salman Rushdie
Samuel Beckett
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Stephen Crane
Stephen King
Sylvia Plath
Tennessee Williams
� omas Hardy
� omas Pynchon
Tom Wolfe
Toni Morrison
Tony Kushner
Truman Capote

British Poets
Victorian Poets
Walt Whitman
W.E.B. Du Bois
William Blake
William Faulkner
William Gaddis
William Shakespeare:

William Shakespeare:

William Shakespeare:

William Shakespeare:

William Wordsworth
Zora Neale Hurston

Page 106

Soul and Spirit in In Memoriam 99

scheme of elaboration and explanation in which the parallel units, distinct in
themselves, all point to the same thing. The scheme or word order—apposi-
tion—supports and strengthens the trope—paronomasia—and the meaning
of the proposition in this stanza is already apparent. The songs, the air, and
life itself “Cry through the sense to hearten trust / In that which made the
world so fair” (ll. 7–8). The crucial phrase is “through the sense.” Spiritual
discernment is not some disembodied activity, but the act of our ordinary
senses, now understood as energized by a shaping power—spirit—which
makes perception both possible and intelligible.

Section 122 is yet another exploration of the nature of spiritual percep-
tion, but here Tennyson attempts to suggest the excitement, the joy, and the
magic of such seeing. As we would expect, he distinguishes between “my soul”
(l. 7), the being created by God, and his active and creative spirit (here called
“the strong imagination”) when he yearns

To feel once more, in placid awe,
Th e strong imagination roll
A sphere of stars about my soul,
In all her motion one with law. (ll. 5–8)

The “sphere of stars” is a conventional trope for the created universe, here
pictured in its rolling not as a static thing but as a dynamic order or “law”
(perhaps even with suggestions of a cosmic dance). We note, however, that
the sphere is not an independent creation, but one in which the imagina-
tion participates; we also note that the article “the” is deliberately neutral. It
allows one to ask, whose imagination? God’s? The poet’s? Both, one must
conclude. God’s creative spirit is reflected in man’s imagination, which
shares actively in shaping its world. Like its companion lyric (93), section
122 is an invocation to Hallam. The earlier imperatives (“Descend, and
touch, and enter”) become this lyric’s “be with me now, / And enter in at
breast and brow” (ll. 10–11). He wants to be inspired “Till all my blood, a
fuller wave, / Be quickened with a livelier breath” (ll. 12–13). The adjec-
tive (“livelier”) and verb (“quickened”) indicate that the breath is not just
material but a life-giving and animating power. Its effect is like that of “the
former f lash of joy” (l. 15), a reference to the climactic moment in section 95:

And all the breeze of Fancy blows,
And every dew-drop paints a bow,
Th e wizard lightnings deeply glow,
And every thought breaks out a rose. (ll. 17–20)

Page 107

Donald S. Hair100

The images here are realized in sharp physical detail, and yet every object of
sense—and of mental attention—is a node of spiritual energy, apprehended
by an inspired Fancy. Fancy and imagination are, I think (pace Coleridge),
synonymous in this lyric, and are one with spirit.

Th e view that material things are unstable and changing centers of
force, and that spirit is the ground of all existence, is the substance of section
123, which completes the invocation of 122. Th is section, well known for its
account of geological time speeded up (“Th ey melt like mist, the solid lands, /
Like clouds they shape themselves and go”), ends with an affi rmation crucial
to the consolation of the elegy:

But in my spirit will I dwell,
And dream my dream, and hold it true;
For though my lips may breathe adieu,
I cannot think the thing farewell. (ll. 9–12)

Spirit is the shaping and creative power which produces (what others with
empiricist assumptions would call) “dreams,” which Tennyson (with his
idealist assumptions) identifies with truth. “My spirit” may be an indi-
vidual power, but it is also one with the power that pervades all of creation.
“My spirit”—the spiritual body, that is—is a center of force, and it enables
Tennyson to recognize all other centers as they truly are. In sections 125
and 126, that spirit is Love, and Love, Tennyson affirms, is “fixed in
truth” (125.8).

Th e numbered sections of the elegy end with the words “soul in soul”
(131.12), but the “living will” that this section apostrophizes seems synony-
mous with spirit. Tennyson asks this will to “Rise in the spiritual rock.” Th e
image is an allusion to 1 Corinthians 10.4, where Paul, anxious to read typo-
logically the story of Moses striking the rock and bringing forth water, iden-
tifi es the rock with Christ, whose pierced side on the cross also gave forth
water. Moses’ followers, Paul writes, “did all drink the same spiritual drink:
for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was
Christ.” Th e rock is metaphorically identical with the cornerstone of the tem-
ple, and Paul in 1 Corinthians 3.16 uses the temple image for human beings
themselves: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit
of God dwelleth in you?” Hallam Tennyson records in his Memoir the fact
that the temple image was an important one for his father: “St. Paul’s expres-
sion ‘Th e temple of the Holy Ghost’ he thought had had a powerful eff ect
on the Christian appreciation of the meaning of life” (Memoir, 1:318n). From
this perspective, every human being or “soul” is a type of Christ, and spiritual
discernment takes the form of typology, extended forward beyond the Old

Page 211


Sordello (Browning), 135
“Souls of the Slain, The” (Thomas),

South Africa, 147–162
Spedding, James, 93
speech acts. See performative speech

“Spelt from Sibyl’s Leaves”

(Hopkins), 48, 50
Spenser, Edmund, 8, 20, 165

Faerie Queene, The, 12
Spinoza, Baruch, 101
“Spring and Fall” (Hopkins), 48
Stateliest Measures (Markley), 166
“Statue and the Bust, The”

(Browning), 137–138, 139, 140
Stedman, E.C., 114, 115
Steiner, George, 108
“Stellenbosh” (Kipling), 151–152
Sterling, John, 167
Stevens, Wallace, 6
Stevenson, Lionel, 9
Stones of Venice, The (Ruskin), 135
Story, W.W., 138
Sullivan, Arthur

Iolanthe, 24–25, 37
Supposed Confessions (Tennyson), 8
Svaglic, Martin J., 133
Swinburne, Algernon Charles,

10–11, 18, 95, 153
“Age and Song,” 131
“Ave Atque Vale: In Memory of

Charles Baudelaire,” 131
“Memorial Verses on the Death

of Théophile Gautier,” 131

“Tears, Idle Tears” (Tennyson), 30
Tempest, The (Shakespeare), 16
Temple of Nature, The (Darwin), 172
Tennyson, Alfred (Lord), 5–15, 17,

18, 22, 31
“The Ancient Sage,” 6
Ballads and Other Poems, 167
“The Charge of the Light

Brigade,” 149

“Despair,” 6
The Devil and the Lady, 6
“Dora,” 8
“English Idyls,” 167
“The Epic,” 171–172
as the “English Virgil,” 167
“five distinctive excellences,” 7
Idylls of the King, 177
In Memorium, 7, 11, 14, 24, 167,

“Locksley Hall,” 81, 171
“lord of language” phrase, 167,

172, 177, 180
“Lucretius,” 15
“Mariana,” 8–9
“metaphysics of night,” 11
“Morte d’Arthur,” 172
Ode: O Bosky Brook, 6
“Ode to Memory,” 12,134
“The Palace of Art,” 15
Poems, 11, 167
as poet laureate, 168
The Prelude, 7
The Princess, 25
“Recollections of the Arabian

Nights,” 11–13
Supposed Confessions, 8
“Tears, Idle Tears,” 30
“Tithonus,” 15
“To Dante,” 168
“To Virgil,” 164–173, 177, 179,

“Ulysses,” 15

Testamentary Acts (Millgate), 130
“That Nature Is a Heraclitean

Fire and of the Comfort of the
Resurrection” (Hopkins), 48

The Ring and the Book (Browning),
177–178, 181

Thompson, Francis
“Ode for the Diamond Jubilee of

Queen Victoria, 1897,” 134
“Tithonus” (Tennyson), 15, 30
“To Dante” (Tennyson), 168
“To R.B.” (Hopkins), 48

Page 212

Index 205

“To Virgil” (Tennyson), 164–173,
177, 179
excerpt, 168–169, 169–170
phrasing of, 172
“Roman Virgil,” 168, 169
stanzas/meter of, 168, 171, 181
syntactical structure of, 168

“To What Serves Mortal Beauty”
(Hopkins), 51

“Toccata of Galuppi’s, A”
(Browning), 133, 134, 135

“Triad, A,” 80
“Triumph of Life, The” (Shelley), 7
“Truce of the Bear, The” (Kipling),

“Two in the Campagna” (Browning),


“Ulysses” (Tennyson), 15
“Up-Hill” (Rossetti), 30

Van Wyk Smith, Malvern, 148
Vaughn, Henry, 17
Vergilian Academy of Mantua, 167
Victorian England

amatory ideologies and, 57, 84, 85
fallen woman in, 73
female self-realization in, 67
feminity in, 25
ideological subcultures in, 61
motherhood in, 64, 88
poetess role models, 86
value systems in, 74

“Victoria’s Tears” (Barrett
Browning), 62, 64–66, 74, 81

Virgil, 164, 165
Aeneid, 166, 176, 181
Georgics, 166, 173, 174
as “landscape-lover,” 167
as “lord of language,” 172, 180
opera, 166
“voicing” of, 166

virginity, 10
Visions of the Daughters of Albion

(Blake), 10, 14

Wanderings of Oisin, The (Yeats), 10
Warren, Austin, 19
“Way That He Took, The”

(Kipling), 152
Webster, Augusta, 79, 80
“What Would I Give!” (Rossetti), 30
“White Man’s Burden, The”

(Kipling), 154
Whitman, Walt

Drum Taps, 149
“Wilful-Missing” (Kipling), 154–155
“Winter: My Secret” (Rossetti), 26
“Wish, A” (Rossetti), 25
women, 29, 35, 63, 71, 80

cultural role of, 61–62
domestic sphere of, 64–65,

67–68, 70, 72, 75, 81
“fallen,” 61, 74
love and, 28, 64
self-realization/fulfillment of, 67,


Woolford, John, 130
Wordsworth, William, 6, 25, 28, 68,

88, 130
“The Affliction of Margaret,” 8
Barrett Browning and, 68, 69
Ecclesiastical Sonnets, 6
Excursion, 69
Michael, 8
The Prelude, 10
“Prospectus,” 69
“Resolution and Independence,” 7

“World, The” (Rossetti), 73–74
“Wreck of the Deutschland, The”

(Hopkins), 7, 39, 40, 42, 49, 50,
51, 52

Yeats, W.B., 6, 7
Art and Ideas, 5
The Wanderings of Oisin, 10

“Young Queen, The” (Barrett
Browning), 62, 63

Younghusband, George, 148

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