Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/240

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STUDIES OF A BIOGRAPHER

of description in which Tennyson is unapproachable, that perhaps it rather raises the question why the architect of the palace should not have stayed there quietly and worshipped 'art for art' for the rest of his days. The conversion comes rather abruptly, but, at least, shows how much Tennyson's mind was occupied with the problem of how the artist is to be also the moralist. I certainly do not quarrel with his solution, which in some sense worked itself out in In Memoriam. The moral crisis through which he passed is indicated by the 'Two Voices' or 'Thoughts of a Suicide' (that is, of somebody who decided not to commit suicide), written contemporaneously with the first poems of In Memoriam, under a 'cloud of overwhelming sorrow.' All joy, he said, was 'blotted out' of his life and he 'longed for death.' He continued, however, to write, and his writing does not suggest unbroken gloom. He was finally, it would seem, restored to full mental health by the love which was to be the blessing of later years. If we may not call it morbid, it is at least abnormal that the loss of a college friend should cause not only immoderate agony, but such prolonged depression. Arthur Hallam may have deserved all that was said of him, though for us he can only be, like