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And I have set my heart upon a match.
Now therefore look to Dora, she is well
To look to; thrifty too beyond her age.
She is my brother's daughter: he and I
Had once hard words, and parted, and he died
In foreign lands; but for his sake I bred
His daughter Dora : take her for your wife ;
For I have wish'd this marriage, night and day.
For many years.” But William answer'd short,
“ I cannot marry Dora; by my life,
I will not marry Dora.” Then the old man
Was wroth, and doubled up his hands, and said,
“You will not, boy! you dare to answer thus!
But in my time a father's word was law,
And so it shall be now for me. Look to't.
Consider : take a month to think, and give
An answer to my wish; or by the Lord
That made me, you shall pack, and nevermore
Darken my doors again.” And William heard,
And answer'd something madly; bit his lips,
And broke away. The more he look’d at her
The less he liked her; and his ways were harsh;
But Dora bore them meekly. Then before
The month was out he left his father's house,
And hired himself to work within the fields;
And half in love, half spite, he woo'd and wed
A labourer's daughter, Mary Morrison.
Then, when the bells were ringing, Allan call'd
His niece and said, “ My girl, I love you well;
But if you speak with him that was my son,
Or change a word with her he calls his wife,
My home is none of yours. My will is law.”
And Dora promised, being meek. She thought,
“It cannot be: my uncle's mind will change!"
And days went on, and there was born a boy
To William ; then distresses came on him;
And day by day he pass’d his father's gate,
Heart-broken, and his father help'd him not.
But Dora stored what little she could save,
And sent it them by stealth, nor did they know
Who sent it; till at last a fever seized
On William, and in harvest time he died.
Then Dora went to Mary. Mary sat
And look'd with tears upon her boy, and thought
Hard things of Dora. Dora came and said,
I have obey'd my uncle until now,
And I have sinn'd, for it was all thro' me
This evil came on William at the first.
But, Mary, for the sake of him that's gone,
And for your sake, the woman that he chose,
And for this orphan, I am come to you:
You know there has not been for these five years
So full a harvest: let me take the boy,
And I will set him in my uncle's eye
Among the wheat; that when his heart is glad
Of the full harvest, he may see the boy,
And bless him for the sake of him that's gone."
And Dora took the child and went her way
Across the wheat, and sat upon a mound
That was unsown, where many poppies grew.
Far off the farmer came into the field,
And spied her not; for none of all his men
Dare tell him Dora waited with the child ;
And Dora would have risen and gone to him,
But her heart fail'd her; and the reapers reap'd,
And the sun fell, and all the land was dark.
But when the morrow came, she rose and took
The child once more, and sat upon the mound;
And made a little wreath of all the flowers
That grew about, and tied it round his hat
To make him pleasing in her uncle's eye.
Then when the farmer pass'd into the field
He spied her, and he left his men at work
And came and said, “ Where were you yesterday ?
Whose child is that? What are you doing here?”
So Dora cast her eyes upon the ground,
And answer'd softly, “This is William's child!”
“ And did I not,” said Allan, “ did I not
Forbid you, Dora?” Dora said again,
“Do with me as you will, but take the child
And bless him for the sake of him that's gone!”
And Allan said, “I see it is a trick
and the woman there.
I must be taught my duty, and by you !
You knew my word was law, and yet you dared
To slight it. Well-for I will take the boy;
But go you hence, and never see me more.”
So saying, he took the boy, that cried aloud
And struggled hard. The wreath of flowers fell
At Dora's feet. She bow'd upon her hands,
And the boy's cry came to her from the field,
More and more distant. She bow'd down her head,
Remembering the day when first she came,
And all the things that had been. She bow'd down
And wept in secret : and the reapers reap'd,
And the sun fell, and all the land was dark.
Then Dora went to Mary's house, and stood
Upon the threshold. Mary saw the boy
Was not with Dora. She broke out in praise
To God, that help'd her in her widowhood.
And Dora said, “ My uncle took the boy ;
But, Mary, let me live and work with you:
He says that he will never see me more.'
Then answer'd Mary, “ This shall never be,
That thou shouldst take my trouble on thyself:
And, now I think, he shall not have the boy,
For he will teach him hardness, and to slight
His mother; therefore thou and I will go,
And I will have my boy, and bring him home;
And I will beg of him to take thee back:
But if he will not take thee back again,
Then thou and I will live within one house,
And work for William's child, until he grows
Of age to help us.”
So the women kiss'd
Each other, and set out, and reach'd the farm.
The door was off the latch ; they peep'd and saw
The boy set up betwixt his grandsire's knees,
Who thrust him in the hollows of his arm,
And clapp'd him on the hands and on the cheeks,
Like one that loved him; and the lad stretch'd out
And babbled for the golden seal, that hung
From Allan's watch, and sparkled by the fire.
Then they came in; but when the boy beheld
His mother, he cried out to come to her,
And Allan set him down; and Mary said:
“O Father !—if you let me call you som
I never came a-begging for myself,
Or William, or this child; but now I come
For Dora : take her back; she loves
O sir, when William died, he died at peace
With all men; for I ask'd him, and he said,
He could not ever rue his marrying me;
I had been a patient wife; but, sir, he said
That he was wrong to cross his father thus.
God bless him!' he said, 'and may he never know
The troubles I have gone through! Then he tun'd
His face and pass'd-unhappy that I am!
But now, sir, let me have my boy, for you
Will make him hard, and he will learn to slight
His father's memory; and take Dora back,
And let all this be as it was before.”
So Mary said, and Dora hid her face
By Mary. There was silence in the room ;
And all at once the old man burst in sobs :-
“I have been to blamemto blame. I have kill'd my son. I have kill'd him-but I loved him—my dear son.
May God forgive me !—I have been to blame.
Kiss ine, my children.”
Then they clung about
The old man's neck, and kiss'd him many times.
And all the man was broken with remorse;
And all his love came back a hundredfold ;
And for three hours he sobb’d o'er William's child,
Thinking of William.
So those four abode
Within one house together; and as years
Went forward, Mary took another mate;
But Dora lived unmarried till her death.'- vol. ii. p. 33-41. We shall leave this without comment, which, we trust, is needless.
• Audley Court,' and Walking to the Mail,' are in a lighter style, and with less of interest. The Talking Oak' is more important, but does not satisfy us so well. This also, like most of Mr. Tennyson's better poems, is love-inspired and love breathing. But an ancient oak, that is won by a poet to utter Dodonæan oracles, would hardly, we conceive, be so prolix and minute in its responses. In 'Locksley Hall' the fancy is again at home. It is, perhaps, on the whole, the one of all these poems in which far-extended thought is best involved in genuine and ardent imagination. A quick and generous heart pours out through the lips of a young man who has been deceived by the woman he loved, and who, inflamed with disappointment, reviews at passionate speed-far unlike the prosaic slowness of professional reviewers--the images that the darkened world now presents to him, and the diverse paths of action that he is tempted to try. We know not what the author means by his hero's talk of comrades and bugle-horns; for all the rest is the direct outbirth and reflection of our own age. The speaker tells his former happiness in the following lines :*Then her cheek was pale and thinner than should be for one so young, And her eyes on all my motions with a mute observance hung ; And I said, “ My cousin Amy, speak, and speak the truth to me, Trust me, cousin, all the current of my being sets to thee." On her pallid cheek and forehead came a colour and a light, As I have seen the rosy red flushing in the northern night. And she turn'd-her bosom shaken with a sudden storm of sighs— All the spirit deeply dawning in the dark of hazel eyes Saying, “I have hid my feelings, fearing they should do me wrong;" Saying, “ Dost thou love me, cousin ?" weeping, “I have loved thee long." Love took up the glass of Time, and turn'd it in his glowing bands; Every moment, lightly shaken, ran itself in golden sands.
Love took up the harp of Life, and smote on all the chords with might
Smote the chord of Self, that, trembling, pass’d in music out of sight.
Many a morning on the moorland did we hear the copses ring,
And her whisper throng'd my pulses with the fulness of the Spring.
Many an evening by the waters did we watch the stately ships,
And our spirits rush'd together at the touching of the lips.
O my cousin, shallow-hearted ! O my Amy, mine no more!
O the dreary, dreary moorland! O the barren, barren shore !
Falser than all fancy fathoms, falser than all songs have
Puppet to a father's threat, and servile to a shrewish tongue!
Is it well to wish thee happy?-having known me—to decline
On a range of lower feelings, and a narrower heart than mine!!
- vol. ii.
94-96. The images that haunt him, of the faithless maiden's married life with a despised husband, are full of bitter strength; but we prefer a small specimen of his more indistinct and wider notions :
* Can I but relive in sadness? I will turn that earlier page. Hide me from my deep emotion, O thou wondrous Mother-Age! Make me feel the wild pulsation that I felt before the strife, When I heard my days before me, and the tumult of my life; Yearning for the large excitement that the coming years would yield, Eager-hearted as a boy when first he leaves his father's field, And at night along the dusky highway near and nearer drawn, Sees in heaven the light of London flaring like a dreary dawn; And his spirit leaps within him to be gone before him then, Underneath the light he looks at, in among the throngs of men ; Men, my brothers, men the workers, ever reaping something new : That which they have done but earnest of the things that they shall do: For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could seeSaw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be; Saw the heavens fill'd with commerce, argosies of magic sails, Pilots of the purple twilight, dropping down with costly bales; Heard the heavens fill with shouting, and there rain'd a ghastly dew From the nations' airy navies grappling in the central blue; Far along the world-wide whisper of the south-wind rushing warm, With the standards of the peoples plunging thro' the thunder-storm.'
- vol. ii. pp. 103, 104. · Lady Clare' is not memorable; but the Lord of Burleigh well deserves citation, as an example of the skill with which a poet can find a true and complete imaginative interest in an anecdote of our actual refined life :