Tennyson’s Suppressed Poems


The Germ of ‘Maud’

There was published in 1837 in The Tribute, (a collection of original poems by various authors, edited by Lord Northampton), a contribution by Tennyson entitled ‘Stanzas,’ consisting of xvi stanzas of varying lengths (110 lines in all). In 1855 the first xii stanzas were published as the fourth section of the second part of ‘Maud.’ Some verbal changes and transpositions of lines were made; a new stanza (the present sixth) and several new lines were introduced, and the xth stanza of 1837 became the xiiith of 1855. But stanzas xiii-xvi of 1837 have never been reprinted in any edition of Tennyson’s works, though quoted in whole or part in various critical studies of the poet. Swinburne refers to this poem as ‘the poem of deepest charm and fullest delight of pathos and melody ever written, even by Mr Tennyson.’ This poem in The Tribute gained Tennyson his first notice in the Edinburgh Review, which had till then ignored him.

Alfred Tennyson


BUT she tarries in her place
And I paint the beauteous face
        Of the maiden, that I lost,
                In my inner eyes again,
Lest my heart be overborne,
By the thing I hold in scorn,
        By a dull mechanic ghost
                And a juggle of the brain.


I can shadow forth my bride
        As I knew her fair and kind
                As I woo’d her for my wife;
She is lovely by my side
        In the silence of my life—
                ’Tis a phantom of the mind.


’Tis a phantom fair and good
        I can call it to my side,
                So to guard my life from ill,
        Tho’ its ghastly sister glide
                And be moved around me still
With the moving of the blood
        That is moved not of the will.


Let it pass, the dreary brow,
        Let the dismal face go by,
Will it lead me to the grave?
        Then I lose it: it will fly:
Can it overlast the nerves?
        Can it overlive the eye?
But the other, like a star,
Thro’ the channel windeth far
        Till it fade and fail and die,
To its Archetype that waits
Clad in light by golden gates,
Clad in light the Spirit waits
        To embrace me in the sky.

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