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Full text of "Tennyson"

ALFRED TENNYSON 




t 



THE 

BOOKMAN 
BIOGRAPHIES 







t 












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ALFRED TENNYSON 



Photograph by 

The London Stereoscopic Co. 



T 



ENNYSON 



BY 



G. K. CHESTERTON 

AND 

DR. RICHARD GARNETT, C.B. 



WITH NUMEROUS ILLUSTRATIONS 



LONDON 

HODDER AND STOUGHTON 

27 PATERNOSTER ROW 

1903 



1 RINTED BV 

HAZKLL, WATSON AND V1NEY, LD. 
LONDON AND AYLESBURY. 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGE 

ALFRED TEXXYSOX ... . Frontispiece 

THE BROOK AT SOMEHSBY ...... 1 

Ax EARLY PORTRAIT OF TEXXYSOX ..... 2 

SOMERSBY RECTORY, LINCOLNSHIRE (where Alfred Tennyson was born) . . 3 

LOLTH . 4 

SOMERSBY CHURCH . 4, 



ALFRED TEXXYSOX (from the painting by Samuel Laurence) . 5 

TENNYSON S MOTHER ...... g 

BAG EXDERBY CHURCH ......... g 

ALFRED TEXXYSOX, 1838 7 

| 

OLD GRAMMAR SCHOOL, LOUTH ...... 7 

ARTHUR H. HALLAM (from the bust by Chantrey) ... 8 

ALFRED TEXXYSOX (from the medallion by Thomas Woolner, R.A.) . . 9 

THE LADY OF SHALOTT ........ 10 

THE PALACE OF ART ....... n 

ALFRED TEXXYSOX (from the bust by Thomas Woolner, R.A.) . .12 

MARIANA ix THE SOUTH 13 

STOCKWORTH MILL ....... 14 

CLEVEDOX CHURCH ....... 14 

GERAINT AXD EDYRX 15 

Ix MEMORIAM (" Man dies : nor is there hope in dust ") . \Q 

IN MEMORIAM ("Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky") . . . .17 

LADY TEXXYSOX -10 

..... 10 

HORXCASTLE (the home of Emily Sell wood) .... 19 



iv LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



PAGE 



GRASBY CHURCH ............ 20 

CHAPEL HOUSE, TWICKENHAM (Tennyson s first home after his marriage) . 20 
ELAINE .............. 21 

ALFRED TEXXYSOX (1867) 22 

ALFRED TEXXYSOX (from a portrait by G. F. Watts, K.A., 1859) . . 23 
ALFRED TEXXYSOX (from the chalk drawing by M. Arnault) . . .24 
FARRIXGFOUD (Tennyson s residence at Freshwater) . . . . .25 

TENNYSON (about 1871) .......... 26 

MERLIN AND VIVIEN ......... .27 

FACSIMILE OF TENNYSON S MANUSCRIPT, " CROSSING THE BAR " . 28 

GLADE AT FARRIXGFORD (from a water-colour drawing by Mrs. Allingham) . 29 
FRESHWATER ......... . . 30 

FRESHWATER BAY ....... .30 

GUINEVERE ......... .31 

ALFRED TENNYSON ..... . . 32 

TENNYSON S LANE, HASLEMERE ... .33 

ALDWORTH (Tennyson s home near Haslemere) 33 

TENNYSON S MEMORIAL, BEACON HILL, FRESHWATER 

ALFRED TENNYSON (from a portrait by G. F. Watts, R.A.) 35 



TENNYSON 







T was merely the 
A accident of his hour, 
the call of his age, which 
made Tennyson a philo 
sophic poet. He was 
naturally not only a pure 
lover of beauty, but a 
pure lover of beauty in a 
much more peculiar and 
distinguished sense even 
than a man like Keats, or 
a man like Robert Bridges. 
He gave us scenes of 
Nature that cannot easily 
be surpassed, but he chose 
them like a landscape 
painter rather than like a 
religious poet. Above all, 

he exhibited his abstract love of the beautiful in one most personal 
and characteristic fact. He was never so successful or so triumphant 
as when he was describing not Nature, but art. He could describe 
a statue as Shelley could describe a cloud. He was at his very 
best in describing buildings, in their blending of aspiration and 
exactitude. He found to perfection the harmony between the 
rhythmic recurrences of poetry and the rhythmic recurrences of 
architecture. His description, for example, of the Palace of Art 
is a thing entirely victorious and unique. The whole edifice, as 



From a photo by Messrs. Carlton & Sous, Horncastle 
THE BROOK AT SOMERSBY 



TENNYSON 




AN EARLY 

PORTRAIT OF 

TENNYSON 

Rischgitz Collection 




described, rises as lightly as a lyric, it is full of the surge of the 
hunger for beauty ; and yet a man might almost build upon the 
description as upon the plans of an architect or the instructions 
of a speculative builder. Such a lover of beauty was Tennyson, 
a lover of beauty most especially where it is most to be found, in 
the works of man. He loved beauty in its completeness, as we 
find it in art, not in its more glorious incompleteness as we 



TENNYSON 3 

find it in Nature. There is, perhaps, more loveliness in Nature 
than in art, but there are not so many lovely things. The 
loveliness is broken to pieces and scattered : the almond tree in 
blossom will have a mob of nameless insects at its root, and the 
most perfect cell in the great forest-house is likely enough to 
smell like a sewer. Tennyson loved beauty more in its collected 
form in art, poetry, and sculpture ; like his own " Lady of Shalott," 
it was his office to look rather at the mirror than at the object. 
He was an artist, as it were, at two removes : he was a splendid 
imitator of the splendid imitations. It is true that his natural 
history was exquisitely exact, but natural history and natural 




From a thoto by Messrs. Cariton &r Sens, Jl outcast It 

SOMERSBY RECTORY, LINCOLNSHIRE 
Where Alfred Tennyson was born, on Sunday, August 6th, 1809 



TENNYSON 




LOUTH 

(Reproducer! from " The Laureate s Country," by kind permission of 
Messrs. Seeley & Co., Ltd.) 



religion are things 
that can be, under 
certain circumstances, 
more unnatural than 
anything in the world. 
In reading Tennyson s 
natural descriptions 
we never seem to be 
in physical contact 
with the earth. We 
learn nothing of the 
coarse good - temper 
and rank energy of 
life. We see the 

whole scene accurately, but we see it through glass. In Tennyson s 
works we see Nature indeed, and hear Nature, but we do not smell it. 
But this poet of beauty and a certain magnificent idleness 
lived at a time when all men had to wrestle and decide. It is not 
easy for any person who lives in our time, when the dust has settled 

and the spiritual 
perspective has been 
restored, to realise 
what the entrance 
of the idea of evolu 
tion meant for the 
men of those days. 
To us it is a discovery 
of another link in a 
chain which, however 
far we follow it, still 
stretches back into a 

From a photo by Messrs. Carlton & Sons, Horncastlt: 

SOMERSBY CHURCH divine mystery. To 




TENNYSON 



ALFRED 
TENNYSON 

From the painting by 
Satnuel Laurence 

Rischgitz Collection 




many of the men of that time it would appear from their 
writings that it was the heart-breaking and desolating discovery 
of the end and origin of the chain. To them had happened 
the most black and hopeless catastrophe conceivable to human 
nature ; they had found a logical explanation of all things. To 
them it seemed that an Ape had suddenly risen to gigantic stature 
and destroyed the seven heavens. It is difficult, no doubt, for us 



6 



TENNYSON 




TENNYSON S MOTHER 




From a photo hy Messrs. Cart/on &" Sons, Horncastlc 
BAG ENDERLY CHURCH 



in somewhat subtler days to understand 

/ 

how anybody could suppose that the 
origin of species had anything to do 
with the origin of being. To us it 
appears that to tell a man who asks 
who made his mind that evolution 
made it, is like telling a man who 
asks who rolled a cab-wheel over his 
leg that revolution rolled it. To state 
the process is scarcely to state the 
agent. But the position of those who 
regarded the opening of the " Descent 
of Man " as the opening of one of the 
seals of the last days, is a great deal 
sounder than people have generally 
allowed. It has been constantly 
supposed that they were angry 
with Darwinism because it 
appeared to do something or 
other to the Book of Genesis ; 
but this was a pretext or a fancy. 
They fundamentally rebelled 
against Darwinism, not because 
they had a fear that it would 
affect Scripture, but because 
they had a fear, not altogether 
unreasonable or ill-founded, that 
it would affect morality. Man 
had been engaged, through in 
numerable ages, in a struggle 
with sin. The evil within him 
was as strong as he could cope 



TENNYSON 



ALFRED 
TENNYSON, 

1838 

From an early 
Daguerreotype 

(Reproduced 

from Tennyson : 

a Memoir," by 

kind permission 

of Messrs. 
Macmillan & Co. , 

Ltd.; 



with it was as powerful as a cannonade 
and as enchanting as a song. But in this 
struggle he had always had Nature on his side. 
He might be polluted and agonised, but the 
flowers were innocent and the hills were 
strong. All the armoury of life, 
the spears of the pinewood and 
the batteries of the lightning, went 
into battle beside him. Tennyson 
lived in the hour when, to all 
mortal appearance, the whole of 
the physical world de 
serted to the devil. The 
universe, governed by 
violence and death, left 
man to fight alone, with 
a handful of myths and 
memories. Men had now 
to wander in polluted 
fields and lift up their 
eyes to abominable hills. 
They had to arm them 
selves against the cruelty 
of flowers and the crimes 
of the grass. The first 
h o n o u r , 
surely, is to 
those who 
did not faint 
in the face 
of that con- 
f ounding 




l>v Cr. J . SloJxrt 



OLD GRAMMAR 
SCHOOL, LOUTH 

The original building, 

now no longer in 

existence, where 

Tennyson was sent 

to school at the 

age of seven 

(Reproduced from 

"The Laureate s 

Country," by kind 

permission of 

Messrs. Seeley & 

Co., Ltd.) 




Prom a drawing by E. Hull 



8 



TEXXYSOX 



cosmic betrayal ; to those who 
sought and found a new vantage- 
ground for the army of Virtue. 
Of these was Tennyson, and it 
is surely the more to his honour, 
since he was the idle lover of 
beauty of whom we have spoken. 
He felt that the time called him 
to be an interpreter. Perhaps 
he might even have been some 
thing more of a poet if he had 
not sought to be something 
more than a poet. He might 
have written a more perfect 
Arthurian epic if his heart had 
been as much buried in pre 
historic sepulchres as the heart 
| of Mr. W. B. Yeats. He might 
have made more of such poems 
as "The Golden Year" if his 
mind had been as clean of meta 
physics and as full of a poetic 
rusticity as the mind of William 
Morris. He might have been 
a greater poet if he had been 
less a man of his dubious and rambling age. But there are some 
things that are greater than greatness ; there are some things that no 
man with blood in his body would sell for the throne of Dante, and 
one of them is to fire the feeblest shot in a war that really awaits 
decision, or carry the meanest musket in an army that is really 
marching by. Tennyson may even have forfeited immortality : but he 
and the men of his age were more than immortal ; they were alive. 




From the bust by Cliantrey 

ARTHUR H. HALLAM 

(Reproduced from Hallam s " Remains," by kind 
permission of Mr. John Murray) 



TENNYSON 



9 



Tennyson had not a special talent for being a philosophic poet, 
but he had a special vocation for being a philosophic poet. This 
may seem a contradiction, but it is only because all the Latin or 
Greek words we use tend endlessly to lose their meaning. A 
vocation is supposed to mean merely a taste or faculty, just as 
economy is held to mean merely the act of saving. Economy 
means the management of a house or community. If a man 
starves his best horse, or causes his best workman to strike for 
more pay, he is not merely unwise, he is uneconomical. So it is 
with a vocation. If this country were suddenly invaded by some 
huge alien and conquering population, we should all be called 
to become 
soldiers. We 
should not think 
in that time 
that we were 
sacrificing our 
unfinished work 
on Cattle-Feed 
ing or our hobby 
of fretwork, our 
brilliant career 
at the Bar or 
our taste for 
painting in 
water - colours. 
We should all 
have a call to 
arms. W e 
should, however, 
by no means 
that we 




agree 



From the medallion by Thomas Woolner, R.A. 

ALFRED TENNYSON 

(Reproduced from "Tennyson s Poems," by kind permission of 
Messrs. Macmillan & Co., Ltd.) 



10 



TENNYSON 




THE LADY OF 
SHALOTT 

From a drawing by 
II- . Holman Hunt 

(Reproduced from 

" Tenny^n s Poems," 

by kind permission of 

Messrs. Macmillan&Co. , 

Ltd.) 



all had a vocation for arms. Yet a vocation is only the Latin for 
a call. 

In a celebrated passage in *Maud," Tennyson praised the 
moral effects of war, and declared that some great conflict might 
call out the greatness even of the pacific swindlers and sweaters 
whom he saw around him in the Commercial age. He dreamed, 
he said, that if 

. . . The battle-bolt sang from the three-decker out on the foam, 
Many a smooth-faced, snub-nosed rogue would leap from his counter 

or till, 
And strike, were it but with his cheating yard-wand, home. 

Tennyson lived in the time of a conflict more crucial and frightful 



TENNYSON 



11 



THE PALACE OF 
ART 

From a drawing by 
Dante Gabriel Rossetti 

(Reproduced from 

" Tennyson s Poems," 

by kind permission of 

Messrs. Macmillan & Co., 

Ltd.) 




than any European struggle, the conflict between the apparent 
artificiality of morals and the apparent immorality of science. A 
ship more symbolic and menacing than any foreign three-decker 
hove in sight in that time the great, gory pirate-ship of Nature, 
challenging all the civilisations of the world. And his supreme 
honour is this, that he behaved like his own imaginary snub-nosed 
rogue. His honour is that in that hour he despised the flowers 
and embroideries of Keats as the counter-jumper might despise his 
tapes and cottons. He was by nature a hedonistic and pastoral 
poet, but he leapt from his poetic counter and till and struck, were 
it but with his gimcrack mandolin, home. 



TENNYSON 



Tennyson s influence 
on poetry may, for a 
time, be modified. This 
is the fate of every man 
who throws himself into 
his own age, catches the 
echo of its temporary 
phrases, is kept busy in 
battling with its tem 
porary delusions. There 
are many men whom 
history has for a time for 
gotten to whom it owes 
more than it could count. 
But if Tennyson is extin 
guished it will be with 
the most glorious extinc 
tion. There are two 
ways in which a man 
may vanish through 
being thoroughly con 
quered or through being 
thoroughly the Conqueror. 
In the main the great 
Broad Church philosophy 
which Tennyson uttered has been adopted by every one. This will 
make against his fame. For a man may vanish as Chaos vanished 
in the face of creation, or he may vanish as God vanished in filling 
all things with that created life. 

G. K. CHESTEKTOX. 




ALFRED TENNYSON 

A marble bust, copied by Miss Grant trom the original, sculptured 
from life in 1857 by Thomas Woolner, R.A. 

Rischgitz Collection 



TENNYSON 

AS AN INTELLECTUAL FORCE 

IT is easy to exaggerate, and equally easy to underrate, the 
influence of Tennyson on his age as an intellectual force. It 
will be exaggerated if we regard him as a great original mind, a 
proclaimer or revealer of novel truth. It will be underrated if we 
overlook the great part reserved for him who reveals, not new 
truth to the age, but the age to itself, by presenting it with a 



MARIANA IN THE 

SOUTH 

From a drawing by 
Dante Gabriel Rossetti 

(Reproduced from 

"Tennyson s Poems," 

by kind permission of 

Messrs. Macmillan& Co., 

Ltd.) 




14 



TENNYSON 




miniature of its own 
highest, and frequently 
unconscious, tenden 
cies and aspirations. 
Not Dry den or Pope 
were more intimately 
associated with their 
respective ages than 
Tennyson with that 
period 



STOCKWORTH MILL 

(Reproduced from " The Homes and Haunts of Alfred, Lord Tennyson," by kind 
permission of Mr. George G. Napier and Messrs. James Maclehose & Sons) 



brilliant 
which we now 
back as the 
Victoria. His 



age 



to 
look 
of 



figure 

cannot, indeed, be so dominant as theirs. The Victorian era was 
far more affluent in literary genius than the periods of Dryden and 
Pope ; and Tennyson appears as but one of a splendid group, some 
of whom surpass him in native force of mind and intellectual 
endowment. But when we measure these illustrious men with the 

spirit of their age, we 
perceive that - - with 
the exception of 
Dickens, who paints 
the manners rather 
than the mind of the 
time, and Macaulay, 
w r ho reproduces its 
average but not its 
higher mood - - there 
is something as it 
CLEVEDON CHURCH were sectarian in 

Where the remains of Arthur Hallam were finally laid to rest on , . 

January 3 rd, 1834 tllClU WlllCll 

(Reproduced from "The Homes and Haunts of Alfred, Lord Tennyson," by kind tl } 

permission of Mr. George G. Napier and Messrs. James Maclehose & Sons) 111611* OClllg 




16 



TENNYSON 



as representatives of 
their epoch in the 
fullest sense. In 
some instances, such 
as Carlyle and 
Browning and 
Thackeray, the 
cause may be an 
exceptional original 
ity verging upon 
eccentricity; in 
others, like George 
Eliot, it may be 
allegiance to some 
particular scheme of 
thought ; in others, 
like 11 u skin and 
Matthew Arnold, 
exclusive devotion 
to some particular 
mission. In Tenny 
son, and in him 
alone, we rind the 
man who cannot be 
identified with any 
one of the many 
tendencies of the 
age, but has affini 
ties with all. Ask 
for the composition 
which of all contemporary compositions bears the Victorian stamp 
most unmistakably, which tells us most respecting the age s thoughts 




From a drawing by A. Garth Jones 

IN MEMORIAM 

" Man dies: nor is there hope in dust " 

(Reproduced from the Caxton Series Edition of Tennyson s " In Memoriam," 
by kind permission of Messrs. George Newnes, Ltd.) 



TENNYSON 



17 



respecting itself, and 
there will he little 
hesitation in naming 
" Locksley Hall." 

Tennyson re 
turns to his times 
what he has received 
from them, but in an 
exquisitely embel 
lished and purified 
condition ; he is the 
mirror in which the 
age contemplates all 
that is best in itself. 
Matthew Arnold 
would perhaps not 
have been wrong in 
declining to recog 
nise Tennyson as 
" a great and power- 
f ul spirit" if 
" power " had been 
the indispensable 
condition of " great 
ness " ; but he forgot 
that the receptive 
poet may be as 
potent as t li e 
creative. His cavil 
might with equal 
propriety have been aimed at Virgil. In truth, Tennyson s fame 
rests upon a securer basis than that of some greater poets, for 




From a drawing fry A. Garth Jones 

IN MEMORIAM 
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky" 

(Reproduced from the Caxton Series Edition of Tennyson s " In Memoriam," 
by kind permission of Messrs. George, Newnes, Ltd.) 



18 



TENNYSON 




acquaintance 
with him will 
always be in- 
dispensable 
to the history 
of tli on glit 
and culture 
in England. 
What George 
Eliot and An 
thony Trol- 
lope are for 
the manners 
of the period, 
he is for its 
mind : all the 
ideas which 
in his day 
chiefly moved 

* 

the elect 
spirits of 
English so 
ciety are to 
be found in 
him, clothed 

in the most exquisite language, and embodied in the most consummate 
form. That they did not originate with him is of no consequence 
whatever. We cannot consider him, regarded merely as a poet, as 
quite upon the level of his great immediate predecessors ; but the 
total disappearance of any of these, except Wordsworth, would 
leave a less painful blank in our intellectual history than the 
disappearance of Tennyson. 



From the portrait at Aldworth by G. F. Watts, R.A. 

LADV TENNYSON 



TENNYSON 



19 




From a drawing by E. Hull 

HORNCASTLE 

The home of Emily Sellwood, afterwards Lady Tennyson 
(Reproduced from "The Laureate s Country," by kind permission of Messrs. Seelcy & Co., Ltd.) 

Beginning, even in his crudest attempts, with a manner dis 
tinctly his own, he attained a style which could be mistaken for 
that of no predecessor (though most curiously anticipated by a few 
blank- verse lines of William Blake), and which no imitator has 
been able to rival. What is most truly remarkable is that while 
much of his poetry is perhaps the most artificial in construction of 
any in our language, and much again wears the aspect of bird-like 
spontaneity, these contrasted manners evidently proceed from the 
same writer, and no one would think of ascribing them to different 
hands. As a master of blank verse Tennyson, though perhaps not fully 
attaining the sweetness of Coleridge or the occasional grandeur of 
Wordsworth and Shelley, is upon the whole the third in our language 
after Shakespeare and Milton, and, unlike Shakespeare and Milton, he 
has made it difficult for his successors to write blank verse after him. 



20 



TENNYSON 




From a photo in the possession of the Rev. A. II- . Workman, Wear of Grasl y 

GRASBY CHURCH 



Tennyson is es 
sentially a composite 
poet. Dryden s famous 
verses, grand in ex 
pression, but question 
able in their applica 
tion to Milton, are 
perfectly applicable 
to him ; save that, in 
making him, Nature 
did not combine two 
poets, but many. 
This is a common 

phenomenon at the close of a great epoch ; it is almost peculiar to 
Tennyson s age that it should then have heralded the appearance 
of a new era ; and that, simultaneously with the inheritor of the 
past, perhaps the most original and self-sufficing of all poets should 
have appeared in the person of Robert Browning. A comparison 
between these illustrious writers would lead us too far; we have 

already implied that 
Tennyson occupies the 
more conspicuous place 
in literary history on 
account of his repre 
sentative character. 

The first import 
ant recognition of 
Tennyson s genius 
came from Stuart Mill, 
who, partly perhaps 

CHAPEL HOUSE, TWICKENHAM Ullder tllC gUldailCC of 

Tennyson s first settled home after his marriage - ,- Tr , , . -, 

I aylor, evinced 



I 




collection 




from a i/> ii:i i>n; l<y Gtutave Dorc 



ELAINE 



(Reproduced from " Illustrations to Tennyson s Idylls of the King, " by kind permission of Messrs. 

Ward, Lock & Co.) 



22 






ENNYSON 



about 1835 a remarkable 
insight into Shelley and 
Browning as well as 
Tennyson. In the course 
of his observations he de 
clared that all that Tenny 
son needed to be a great 
poet was a system of 
philosophy, to which Time 
would certainly conduct 
him. If he only meant 
that Tennyson needed 
" the years that bring the 
philosophic mind," the 
observation was entirely 
just ; if he expected the 
poet either to evolve a 
system of philosophy for 
himself or to fall under 
the sway of some great 
thinker, he was mistaken. 
Had Tennyson done either 
he might have been a 
very great and very inter 
esting poet ; but he could not have been the poet of his age : for 
the temper of the time, when it was not violently partisan, was 
liberally eclectic. There was no one great leading idea, such as 
that of evolution in the last quarter of last century, so ample 
and so characteristic of the age that a poet might become its 
disciple without yielding to party what was meant for mankind. 
Two chief currents of thought there were ; but they were antag 
onistic, even though Mr. Gladstone has proved that a very 




From a photograph in 1867 l>y Mrs. Julia Margaret Cameron 

ALFRED TENNYSON 
(Reproduced by permission of Mr. J. Caswall Smith) 



TENNYSON 



23 



exceptional mind might 
find room for both. 
Nothing was more char 
acteristic of the age than 
the reaction towards 
mediaeval ideas, headed by 
Newman, except the rival 
and seemingly incom 
patible gospel of "the 
railway and the steam 
ship " and all their corol 
laries. It cannot be said 
that Tennyson, like 
Gladstone, found equal 
room for both ideals in 
his mind, for until old 
age had made him mis 
trustful and querulous he 
was essentially a man of 
progress. But his choice 
of the Arthurian legend 
for what he intended to 
be his chief work, and the 
sentiment of many of his 

most beautiful minor poems, show what attraction the mediaeval 
spirit also possessed for him ; nor, if he was to be in truth the 
poetical representative of his period, could it have been otherwise. 
He is not, however, like Gladstone, alternately a mediaeval and a 
modern man ; but he uses mediaeval sentiment with exquisite 
judgment to mellow what may appear harsh or crude in the new 
ideas of political reform, diffusion of education, mechanical inven 
tion, free trade, and colonial expansion. The Victorian, in fact, 




Front the portrait in the possession of Lady 1 1 airy Somerset, 
painted by G. F. H atts, K.A., in 1859 

ALFRED TENNYSON 




from the chulk drawing by M Arnault in the National Portrait Gallery 

ALFRED TENNYSON 
Rischgitz Collectiuii 



TENNYSON 




From a photo bv Messrs. F. Frith <5r> Co., Reigate 

FARRINGFORD 
Tennyson s residence at Freshwater 

finds himself nearly in the position of the Elizabethan, who also 
had a future and a past ; and, except in his own, there is no age 
in which Tennyson would have felt himself more at home than in 
the age of Elizabeth. He does, indeed, in " Maud react very 
vigorously against certain tendencies of the age which he disliked ; 
but this is not in the interest of the mediaeval or any other order 
of ideas incompatible with the fullest development of the nine 
teenth century. If the utterance here appears passionate, it must 
be remembered that the poet writes as a combatant. When he 
constructs, there is nothing more characteristic of him than his 
sanity. The views on female education propounded in " The 
Princess are so sound that good sense has supplied the place of 
the spirit of prophecy, which did not tabernacle with Tennyson. 
" In Memoriam is a most perfect expression of the average 
theological temper of England in the nineteenth century. As 
in composition, so in spirit, Tennyson s writings have all the 



26 



TENNYSON 



advantages and all 
the disadvantages of 

the golden mean. 

By virtue of this 
golden mean Ten- 
nvson remained at 

* 

an equal distance 
from revolution and 
reaction in his ideas, 
and equally remote 
from extravagance 
and insipidity in his 
work. He is es- 
sentiallv a man of 



the new time : he 
begins his career 
steeped in the in 
fluence of Shelley 



and Keats, without 
whom he would 
never have attained 
the height he did- 
a height neverthe 
less, in our opinion, appreciably below theirs, if he is regarded 
simply as a poet. But he is a poet and much else : he is the 
interpreter of the Victorian era firstly to itself; secondly to the 
ages to come. Had even any poet of greater genius than himself 
arisen in his own day. which did not happen, he would still have 
remained the national poet of the time in virtue of his universality. 
Some personal friends splcndide wendficcshsLve hailed him as our 
greatest poet since Shakespeare. This is absurd : but it is true 
that no other poet since Shakespeare has produced a body of 




From m ftfto by Mrs. Julia. Margaret Cameron 

TENNYSON (Ar 
(Reproduced by permission of Mr. J. Ca^wall Smith) 





28 TENNYSON 

poetry which 
comes so near 
to satisfying 
all tastes, 
reconciling 
all tenden 
cies, and 

7 / j registering 

/ /Mf- f>> 4T f44*. 

every move 
ment of the 

intellectual 

L / / 

flw- f-rfl Sfri*6 \^ rv&fii, j life of the 

^k* tUt vfc* tfow fa n+ fo fr^^/ / U ^, P eri(>cL Had 
^ / i ^ S ^ h^ s inen tal 

*^ balance been 

less accur 
ately poised, 
h e m i g h t 
h a v e bee n 
the laureate 
of a party, 
but he could 
n o t h a v e 
b c e 11 the 
laureate of 
the nation. 
As tin intel 
lectual force 

A FACSIMILE OF TENNYSON S MANUSCRIPT, "CROSSING THE BAR " 

(Reproduced from " Tennyson : A Memoir," by kind permission of IS, WC 

Messrs. Macmillan & Co., Ltd.) ,j , i 

tined to be powerful and durable, because the charm of his poetry 
will always keep his ideas before the popular mind ; and these 




TEXXYSOX 



ideas will always be 
congenial to the solid, 
practical, robust, and 
yet tender and 
emotional mind of 
England. They may 
be briefly defined as 

. 

the recognition of the 
association of c o n - 
tinuity with mutability 
in human institutions : 
the utmost reverence 
for the past combined 
with the full and not 
regretful a d m i s s i o n 
that 




The old order changes, 

giving place to new, 
And God fulfils Himself 

in manv ways ; 

the conception of 
Freedom as something 
that " broadens down, 
from precedent to pre 
cedent " ; veneration 
for " the Throne un 
shaken still," so long as it continues " broad-based upon the People s 
will," which will always be the case so long as 

Statesmen at the Council meet 
Who know the seasons. 

Philosophically and theologically, Tennyson is even more con 
spicuously the representative of the average English mind of his 

3 



From a toatcr-colowr drawing l>y Airs. Allingliain 

THE GLADE AT FARRINGFORD 
(Reproduced by kind permission of the Artist) 



TEXXYSOX 




From a photo by Messrs. F. Ftith &> Co., Reigate 

FRESHWATER 



day. Xot that he is 
a fusion of conflicting 1 
tendencies, but that 
he occupies a central 
position, equally re 
mote from the ex 
cesses of scepticism 
and the excesses of 
devotion. This 
position he is able to 
fill from his relation 
to Coleridge, the great 
exponent of the rid 
media ; not, as in former days, between Protestantism and Roman 
ism, but between orthodoxy and free thought. Tennyson cannot, 
indeed, be termed Coleridge s intellectual heir. As a thinker 
he is far below his predecessor, and almost devoid of originality ; 
but as a poet he fills up the measure of what was lacking in 
Coleridge, whose season of speculation hardly arrived until the 

season of poetry was 
past. Tennyson was 
but one of a band of 
auditors it might be 
too much to call them 
disciples of the sage 
who, curiously enough, 
had himself been a 
Cambridge man, and 
who, short and un 
satisfactory as had 
been his residence at 
that seat of learning, 







From a photo by Messrs. / . Frith &> Co, Rc igat 
FRESHWATER BAY 




From a drawing by Gustave Dore 



GUINEVERE 



(Reproduced from the "Illustrations to Tennyson s Idylls of the King, " by kind permission of 

Messrs. Ward, Lock & Co.) 




From a photo !y Barraud 



ALFRED TENNYSON 



TENNYSON 




From a photo by the Graphotonc Co. 

TENNYSON S LANE, HASLEMERE 



seemed to have left 
behind him some in 
visible influence des 
tined to germinate in 
due time, for all his 
most distinguished 
followers were Can- 
tabs. Such another 
school, only lacking a 
poet, had flourished at 
Cambridge in the 
seventeenth century, 
and now came up 
again like long-buried seeds in a newly disturbed soil. The precise 
value of their ideas may always be matter for discussion ; but 
they exerted without doubt a happy influence by 

Turning to .scorn with lips divine 
The falsehood of extremes. 



providing religious 
minds reverent of the 
past with an alterna 
tive to mere medi- 
asvalism, and gently 
curbing Science in the 
character she some 
times assumes of " a 
wild Pallas of the 
brain. " When the 
natural moodiness of 
Tennyson s tempera 
ment is considered, the 







A LD WORTH 

Tennyson s home near Haslemere 



TENNYSON 



prevalent optimism of his ideas, both 
as regards the individual and the 
State, appears infinitely creditable to 
him. These are ideas natural to 
sane and reflecting Englishmen, un 
challenged in quiet times, but which 
may be obscured or overwhelmed in 
seasons of great popular excitement. 
The intellectual force of Tennyson is 
perhaps chiefly shown in the art and 
attractiveness with which they are 
set forth ; even much that might 
have appeared tame or prosaic is 
invested with all the charms of 
imagination, and commends itself to 
the poet equally with the statesman. 
Tennyson is not the greatest of poets, 
but appreciation of his poems is one 
of the surest criteria of poetical 
taste ; he is not one of the greatest 
of thinkers, but agreement with his 
general cast of thought is an excel 
lent proof of sanity ; many singers 
have been more Delphic in their 
inspiration, but few, by maxims of temperate wisdom, have provided 

their native land with such a Palladium. 

RICHARD GARNETT. 




Front a photo by Messrs. F. Frith & Co., 

Reigatc 

TENNYSON S MEMORIAL, BEACON 
HILL, FRESHWATER 



Somersby 
Rectory, the 
birthplace of 
Alfred Tennyson 

see page 3 



BIOGRAPHICAL NO T E 

Alfred Tennyson was born on Sunday,, August Oth, 1809, at Somersby, 
a village in North Lincolnshire between Horncastle and Spilsby. His father, 
the Rev. Dr. (ieorge Clayton Tennyson, Hector of Somersby, married in 1805 
Kli/abeth Fytche, daughter of the Vicar of Louth, in the same county ; and, 
(if their twelve children, Alfred was the fourth. 




From a portrait by G. F. Watts, R.A. 



ALFRED TENNYSON 

Rischgitz Collection 

35 



36 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 



Somersby Brook 

see page i 



Tennyson s 
Mother 

see pagi 6 



Somersby 
Church 



see page 4 



Bag Enderby 
Church 

see page 6 



Louth 

see pa je 4 

The Grammar 
School, Louth 

see page 7 



He always spoke with affectionate remembrance of his early home : of the 
woodbine trained round his nursery window ; of the mediaeval-looking dining^ 
hall, with its pointed stained-glass casements ; of the pleasant drawing-room, 
lined with bookshelves and furnished with yellow upholstery. The lawn in 
front of the house, where he composed his early poem, "A Spirit Haunts 
the Year s Last Hours," was overshadowed on one side by wych-elms, on the 
other by larch and sycamore trees. On the south was a path bounded by a 
flower-border, and beyond "a garden bower d close" sloping gradually to the 
field at the bottom of which ran the Somersby Brook 

That loves 

To purl o er matted cress and ribbed sand, 
Or dimple in the dark of rushy coves, 
Drawing into his narrow earthen urn 

In every elbow and turn, 
The filtered tribute of the rough woodland. 

The charm and beauty of this brook haunted the poet throughout his life, 
and to it he especially dedicated, "Flow down, cold rivulet, to the sea." 
Tennyson did not, however, attribute his famous poem, "The Brook," to the 
same source of inspiration, declaring it was not addressed to any stream in 
particular. 

Tennyson was exceedingly fortunate in the environment of his childhood 
and the early influence exercised by his parents. His mother was of a sweet 
and gentle disposition, and devoted herself entirely to the welfare of her 
husband and her children. Her son is said to have taken her as a model in 
" The Princess "; and he certainly gave a more or less truthful description 
of this "remarkable and saintly woman " in his poem "Isabel " : 

Locks not wide-dispread, 
Madonna-wise on either side her head ; 
Sweet lips whereon perpetually did reign 
The summer calm of golden charity. 

Tennyson s father was a man of marked physical strength and stature, 
called by his parishioners "The stern Doctor." In 1807 he was appointed 
to the living of Somersby, and that of the adjoining village of Bag Enderby, 
and this position he held until his death, on March Kith, 1831, at the age of 
fifty-two. He was buried in the old country churchyard, where "absolute 
stillness reigns," beneath the shade of the rugged little tower. In his time 
the roof of the church was covered with thatch, as were also those of the 
cottages in its immediate vicinity. 

The livings of Somersby and Bag Enderby were held conjointly, service 
being conducted at one church in the morning and at the other in the 
afternoon. Dr. Tennyson read his sermons at Bag Enderby from the quaint 
high-built pulpit, Alfred listening to them from the squire s roomy pew. 

At the age of seven Tennyson was sent to school at Louth, a market-town 
which may fairly lay claim to having been a factor of some importance in his 
early life. His maternal grandmother lived in Westgate Place, her house 
being a second home to the young Tennysons. The old Grammar School 
where Alfred received the early portion of his education is now no longer in 
existence. Tennyson s recollections of it and of the Rev. J. A\ aite, at that 
time the head-master, were not pleasant. "How I did hate that school! 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 



87 



Arthur Hallam 
(from the bust by 
Chantrey) 

see page 8 



The Lady of 
Shalott 

see page 10 



lie wrote later. "The only good I got from it was the memory of the words 
SO-IIHK drsilivHtiN (K/itfc, and of an old wall covered with wild weeds opposite 
the school windows." 

Tennyson s first connected poems were composed at Louth, and in this 
town also his first puhlished work saw the light, appearing in a volume 
entitled "Poems hy Two Brothers," issued in 1827 hy Mr. J. Jackson, a 
bookseller. The two brothers were Charles and Alfred Tennyson. 

After a school career which lasted four years, Alfred returned to Somersby 
to continue his studies under his father s tuition. This course of instruction 
was supplemented by classics at the hands of a Roman Catholic priest, and 
music-lessons given him by a teacher at Horncastle. 

In 1828 Charles and Alfred Tennyson followed their elder brother 
Frederick to Trinity College, Cambridge. They began their university life 
in lodgings at No. 12, Rose Crescent, moving later to Trumpington Street. 
No. -57, Corpus Buildings. Of his early experiences of life at Cambridge. 
Alfred wrote to his aunt: "I am sitting owl-like and solitary in my rooms 
(nothing between me and the stars but a stratum of tiles). The hoof of 
the steed, the roll of the wheel, the shouts of drunken Gown and drunken 
Town come up from below with a sea-like murmur. . . . The country is so 
disgustingly level, the revelry of the place so monotonous, the studies of the 
University so uninteresting, so much matter of fact. None but dry-headed, 
calculating, angular little gentlemen can take much delight in them." 

It was at Trinity College that Tennyson rirst made the acquaintance of 
Arthur Ilallam, youngest son of the historian, whose friendship so profoundly 
influenced the poet s character and genius. " He would have been known if 
he had lived," wrote Tennyson, "as a great man, but not as a great poet ; he 
was as near perfection as mortal man could be." 

In February 1881 Tennyson left Cambridge without taking a degree, and 
returned to Somersby, his father dying within a month of his arrival. From 
this time onward Ilallam became an intimate visitor at the Rectory, and 
formed an attachment for his friend s sister Emily. In July 1832 Tennysoii 
and Ilallam went touring on the Rhine, and at the close of the year appeared 
the volume of " Poems by Alfred Tennyson," which contained, amongst 
others, "The Lady of Shalott," "The Miller s Daughter," "The Palace 
of Art," "The Lotos Eaters," and "A Dream of Fair Women." 

" Well I remember this poem," wrote Fitzgerald, with reference to " The 
Lady of Shalott," " read to me, before I knew the author, at Cambridge one 
night in 1882 or 8, and its images passing across my head, as across the 
magic mirror, while half asleep on the mail-coach to London in the creeping 
dawn that followed." 

There she \veaves by night and day 
A magic web \vith colours gay. 
She has heard a whisper say, 
A curse is on her if she stay 

To look down to Camelot. 
She knows not what the curse may be, 
And so she weaveth steadily, 
And little other care hath she, 

The Lady of Shalott. 

The idea of " Mariana in the South " came to Tennyson as he was 



38 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 



" Mariana in the 
South " 

see page 13 



Stockworth Mill 

see page 14 



The Palace of Art 

see page n 



Clevedon Church 

see page 14 



" In Memoriam " 

see pages 16, 17 

The home of 
Emily Sellwood, 
at Horncastle 

see page 19 



travelling between Narboime and Perpignan. Hallam interpreted it to be 
the "expression of desolate loneliness." 

Till all the crimson changed, and past 

Into deep orange o er the sea, 
Lo\v on her knees herself she cast, 

Before Our Lady murmur d she ; 
Complaining, " Mother, give me grace 

To help me of my weary load," 

And on the liquid mirror glow d 
The clear perfection of her face. 

Of these earlier poems none added more to Tennyson s growing reputation 
than " The Miller s Daughter." Jt was probably written at Cambridge, and 
the poet declared that the mill was no particular mill, or if he had thought 
of any mill it was that of Trumpington, near Cambridge. But various 
touches in the poem seem .to indicate that the haunts of his boyhood were 
present in his mind. 

Stockworth Mill was situated about two miles along the hanks of the 
Somersby Brook, the poet s favourite walk, and might very well have inspired 
the setting of these beautiful verses. 

I loved the brimming wave that swam 

Thro quiet meadows round the mill, 
The sleepy pool above the dam, 

The pool beneath it never still, 
The meal-sacks on the whiten d floor, 

The dark round of the dripping wheel, 
The very air about the door 

Made misty with the floating meal. 

In the volume of 18.32, several stanzas of "The Palace of Art" were 
omitted, because Tennyson thought the poem was too full. The Palace 
of Art, " he wrote in 189(1, "is the embodiment of my own belief that the 
Godlike life is with man and for man." 

Amongst the "marvellously compressed word pictures" of this poem is 
the beautiful one of our illustration on page 11. 

Or in a clear-wall d city on the sea, 

Near gilded organ-pipes, her hair 
Wound with white roses, slept St. Cecily ; 

An angel look d at her. 

On the loth of September, 18.33, Arthur Hallam died suddenly at Vienna. 
His remains were brought to England, and laid finally to rest in the old and 
lonely church beside the sea at Clevedon, on January 3rd, 1834. 

When on my bed the moonlight falls, 

I know that in thy place of rest 

By that broad water of the west 
There comes a glory on the walls. 

Tennyson s whole thoughts were absorbed in memories of his friend, and 
he continually wrote fragmentary verses on the one theme which filled his 
heart, many of them to be embodied seventeen years later in the completed 
" In Memoriam." 

In 1830 Tennyson first met Emily Sellwood, who twenty years later 
became his wife. Horncastle was the nearest town to Somersby, and in the 
picturesque old market-square stood the red-brick residence of Mr. Henry 
Sellwood, a solicitor. The young Sellwoods being much of the same age as 
the Tennysons, a friendship sprang up between the two families, which in later 



BIOGKAPHICAL NOTE 



Grasby Church 

see page 20 



Lady Tennyson 

see page 18 



Chapel House, 
Twickenham 

see page 20 



Farringford, 
Tennyson s 
residence at 
Freshwater 

see page 25 



The Glade at 
Farring-ford 

see page 29 



years ripened into a double matrimonial relationship. In 188(5, Charles 
Tennyson, the poet s elder brother, married Louisa, the youngest daughter of 
Henry Sellwood. In the previous year he had succeeded to the estate and 
living of Grasby., taking the surname of Turner under his great-uncle s will. 
At his own expense he built the vicarage, the church and the schools ; and on 
his death, in 18~9, Grasby descended to the Poet Laureate. It was at his 
brother s wedding that the bride s sister, Emily, was taken into church by 
Alfred Tennyson, but no engagement was recognised between them until four 
or five years later, and their marriage did not take place until IHoO. It was 
solemnised at Shiplake Church on June 13th, the clergyman who officiated 
being the poet s intimate friend, the Rev. Robert Rawnsley. 

In the April of the same year, on the death of Wordsworth, Tennyson 
had been offered the poet-laureateship, to which post he was appointed 
on November 19th, owing chiefly to Prince Albert s admiration for " In 
Memoriam." 

Lady Tennyson became the poet s adviser in literary matters. " I am 
proud of her intellect," he wrote. She, with her "tender, spiritual nature," 
was always by his side, cheerful, courageous, and a sympathetic counsellor. 
She shielded his sensitive spirit from the annoyances and trials of life and 
"her faith as clear as the heights of the June-blue heaven" helped him in 
hours of depression and sorrow. 

Chapel House, Twickenham, was the poet s first settled home after his 
marriage, and he resided in it for three years. It was here his " Ode on the 
Death of the Duke of Wellington " was written, and the birth of his son 
Hallam took place in this house on August llth, 1852. 

In 18o3, whilst staying in the Isle of Wight, Tennyson heard that the 
residence called Farringford was to let at Freshwater. He decided to take 
the place on lease, but two years later purchased it out of the proceeds 
resulting from " Maud," which was published in 18oo, and Farringford 
remained his home during the greater part of each year for forty years, and 
here he wrote some of his best-known works. 

"The house at Farringford," says Mrs. Richmond Ritchie in her Record*, 
"seemed like a charmed palace, with green walls without, and speaking 
walls within. There hung Dante with his solemn nose and wreath ; Italy 
gleamed over the doorways ; friends faces lined the passages, books filled 
the shelves, and a glow of crimson was everywhere ; the oriel drawing- 
room window was full of green and golden leaves, of the sound of birds and 
of the distant sea." 

The grounds of Farringford are exceedingly beautiful and picturesque. 
On the south side of the house is the glade, and close by 

The waving pine which here 
The warrior of Caprera set. 

Referring to Farringford in his invitation to Maurice, Tennyson wrote 

Where far from noise and smoke of town 

I watch the twilight falling brown 
All round a careless order d garden, 

Close to the ridge of a noble down. 

The ridge of the down in question constituted the poet s favourite walk, and 



40 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 



Freshwater Bay 

. see page 30 



Freshwater 
Village 

see page 30 



Alfred Tonnyson 

see pages 22 and 26 



"The Idylls of 
the King " 

see pogfs 15, 21, 
27, 3 1 



Aldworth 
see page 



Tennyson s Lane 

see page 33 



Tennyson s 
Memorial, 
Beacon Hill, 
Freshwater 

see page 34 



Alfred Tennyson 
(from the paint 
ing by Samuel 
Laurence) 

see page 5 



Alfred Tennyson 
(from the paint 
ing by G. F. Watts 
in 1859) 

see page 23 



the scenery which he encountered round Freshwater Bay might well have 
been represented in the opening verse of " Enoch Arden " 

Long lines of cliff breaking have left a chasm ; 
And in the chasm are foam and yellow sands. 

Inland the road leads to the little village of Freshwater, in which the erection 
of a number of new houses evoked from the poet the lines 

Yonder lies our young sea-village Art and Grace are less and less : 
Science grows and Beauty dwindles roofs of slated hideousness ! 

( )pposite these villas stands an ivy-clad house at that time occupied by 
Mrs. Julia Cameron, the celebrated lady art -photographer, two of whose 
effective portraits of Tennyson appear on pages ~2 2 and 26. 

In the autumn of 18-59, "The Idylls of the King " were first issued in then- 
original form, being four in number : Enid, Vivien, Elaine, and Guinevere, 
and from their publication until the end of Tennyson s life his fame and 
popularity continued without a check. During the next few years the poet 
spent much time in travelling, but in 18(>8 he laid the foundation-stone of a 
new residence, named Aldworth, about two miles from Haslemere, which 
became his second home 

You came, and look d and loved the view 

Long-known and loved by me, 
Green Sussex fading into blue, 

With one grey glimpse of sea. 

On the way from Haslemere to Aldworth, it is necessary to cross a rough 
common covered with whin bushes to reach the long winding lane which was 
named Tennyson s Lane. This was the poet s favourite walk when living in 
the neighbourhood. 

Tennyson died on Thursday, October Oth, 1892, and was buried in the 
Poets Corner, Westminster Abbey, next to Robert Browning, and near the 
Chaucer monument. Against the pillar close by the grave has been placed 
Woollier s well-known bust. The monument erected to the memory of the 
poet on Beacon Hill, near Freshwater, was unveiled by the Dean of 
Westminster on August Oth, 1897. 

With regard to the portraits of Tennyson reproduced in these pages, 
pei-haps those of chief interest in addition to the Cameron photographs already 
referred to are the paintings by Samuel Laurence, executed about 1888, and 
the three-quarter length by G. F. W atts, now in the possession of Lady 
Henry Somerset. Of the former Fitzgerald wrote: 

"Very imperfect as Laurence s portrait is, it is nevertheless the hrxt 
painted portrait I have seen ; and certainly the on/i/ one of old days. 
Blubber-lipt 1 remember once Alfred called it ; so it is ; but still the only 
one of old days, and still the best of all, to my thinking." 

The Watts portrait, according to Mr. Watts-Dunton, possesses "a certain 
dreaminess which suggests the poetic glamour of moonlight." The same 
writer asserts that " while most faces gain by the artistic halo which a painter 
of genius always sheds over his work, there are some few, some very few faces 
that do not, and of these Lord Tennyson s is the most notable that I have 
ever seen among men of great renown." 



AN EXPOSITION OF DANTE S INFERNO 

716 7/6 

L ETERNITY L 



PREFIXED BY A LIFE OF DANTE 

By 

REV J. S. CARROLL, M.A. 

There may seem to be some apology necessary for adding 
to the vast volume of Dante literature. It is true that 
there is no lack of Essays on isolated points, general 
Introductions and detailed Commentaries ; but of simple 
and popular Exposition, of the Conunedia, canto by 
canto, there exists very little in our language. To 
present such an exposition, bringing out the general 
bearing and scope of Dante s ethical teaching, is the 
chief purpose of this volume. Mere niceties and in 
genuities of interpretation have been avoided as far as 
possible. It is the author s belief that Dante s symbolism 
is not really so obscure and intricate as it appears to 
a beginner, and that once the clue is gained, it leads 
to the broad highway of universal morality. His 
aim is to remove the impression of arbitrariness 
which Dante s punishments leave on many minds, 
by showing that in the main they are, in material, 
visible and symbolic forms, the natural and inevitable 
moral and spiritual issues of the various sins. 
In this exposition constant reference is made to the 
writings of Dante s great ethical authorities, Aristotle 
and Thomas Aquinas ; but above all Dante is regarded 
as his own best interpreter. 

London: HODDER & STOUGHTON, 27, Paternoster Row, E.C. 




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ii 



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