Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/221

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
209
LIFE OF TENNYSON

before, we felt the power of a direct and intensely powerful utterance of one mode of treating the eternal problem.

All this, it may be replied, is to explain that a certain class of young men were partially alienated from Tennyson's poetry because they did not like his philosophy; which is a proof that they were aesthetically dull and philosophically grovelling. I will not dispute the inference; I think, indeed, that there is much to be said for it; and as I have admitted my tendencies that way, I am obviously disqualified from speaking as an impartial judge. I only wish to urge, by way of extenuation at any rate, that we were still accessible to other Tennysonian influences, and, indeed, to poems in which his doctrine finds a more direct utterance. I love In Memoriam, and should be sorry if I were forced to admit that I could not understand the true secret of its extraordinary beauty. Professor Sidgwick contributes to this volume a most interesting account of its influence upon him. For certain reasons, I could not adopt all that he says, and my intellectual dissent from Tennyson begins, I may say, at an earlier stage; but I decline to admit that I am for that reason incapable of feeling the emotional power. Therefore, without