Tennyson’s Suppressed Poems


The Palace of Art

First published in the 1833 volume, this poem was considerably altered when reprinted in 1842, so much so as almost to make of it a new poem. New stanzas were added and others omitted, and many verbal alterations were introduced into the remaining stanzas. Following are the more important stanzas cancelled after 1833.

Alfred Tennyson


SO that my soul beholding in her pride
    All these, from room to room did pass;
And all things that she saw, she multiplied,
    A manyfacèd glass;


And, being both the sower and the seed,
    Remaining in herself became
All that she saw, Madonna, Ganymede,
    Or the Asiatic dame——


Still changing, as a lighthouse in the night
    Changeth athwart the gleaming main,
From red to yellow, yellow to pale white, again.
    Then back to red


“From change to change four times within the womb
    The brain is moulded,” she began,
“So through all phases of all thought I come
    Into the perfect man.


“All nature widens upward: evermore
    The simpler essence lower lies.
More complex is more perfect, owning more
    Discourse, more widely wise.


“I take possession of men’s minds and deeds.
    I live in all things great and small.
I dwell apart, holding no forms of creeds,
    But contemplating all,”


Four ample courts there were, East, West, South, North,
    In each a squarèd lawn wherefrom
A golden-gorgèd dragon spouted forth
    The fountain’s diamond foam.


All round the cool green courts there ran a row
    Of cloisters, branched like mighty woods,
Echoing all night to that sonorous flow
    Of spouted fountain-floods.


From those four jets four currents in one swell
    Over the black rock streamed below
In steamy folds, that, floating as they fell,
    Lit up a torrentbow;


And round the roofs ran gilded galleries
    That gave large view to distant lands.
Tall towns and mounds, and close beneath the skies
    Long lines of amber sands.


Huge incense-urns along the balustrade,
    Hollowed of solid amethyst,
Each with a different odor fuming, made
    The air a silver mist.


Far-off ’twas wonderful to look upon
    Those sumptuous towers between the gleam
Of that great foambow trembling in the sun,
    And the argent incense-steam;


And round the terraces and round the walls,
    While day sank lower or rose higher,
To see those rails with all their knobs and balls,
    Burn like a fringe of fire.


Likewise the deepset windows, stained and traced,
    Burned, like slowflaming crimson fires.
From shadowed grots of arches interlaced,
    And topped with frostlike spires.

.     .     .     .     .


And underneath freshcarved in cedarwood,
    Somewhat alike in form and face,
The Genii of every climate stood,
    All brothers of one race:


Angels who sway the seasons by their art,
    And mould all shapes in earth and sea;
And with great effort build the human heart
    From earliest infancy.


And in the sunpierced Oriel’s colored flame
    Immortal Michael Angelo
Looked down, bold Luther, largebrowed Verulam,
    The king of those who know.1


Cervantes, the bright face of Calderon,
    Robed David touching holy strings,
The Halicarnasseän, and alone,
    Alfred the flower of kings.


Isaïah with fierce Ezekiel,
    Plato, Petrarca, Livy, and Raphaël,
Swarth Moses by the Coptic sea,
    And eastern Confutzee:2

.     .     .     .     .


As some rich tropic mountain, that infolds
    All change, from flats of scattered palms
Sloping thro’ five great zones of climate, holds
    His head in snows and calms—


Full of her own delight and nothing else,
    My vainglorious, gorgeous soul
Sat throned between the shining oriels,
    In pomp beyond control;


With piles of flavorous fruits in basket-twine
    Of gold, upheapèd, crushing down
Muskscented blooms — all taste — grape, gourd or pine—
    In bunch, or singlegrown:


Our growths, and such as brooding Indian heats
    Make out of crimson blossoms deep,
Ambrosial pulps and juices, sweets from sweets
    Sunchanged, when seawinds sleep.


With graceful chalices of curious wine.
    Wonders of art—and costly jars.
And bossèd salvers. Ere young night divine
    Crowned dying day with stars,


Making sweet close of his delicious toils,
    She lit white streams of dazzling gas,
And soft and fragrant flames of precious oils
    In moons of purple glass


Ranged on the fretted woodwork to the ground.
    Thus her intense untold delight,
In deep or vivid color, smell and sound.
    Was flattered day and night.3

1.    Il maefstro di color chi sanno.—Dante, Inf., iii.    [back]

2.    [Note by Tennyson in 1833 volume.] When I first conceived the plan of the Palace of Art, I intended to have introduced both sculptures and painting into it; but it is the most difficult of all things to devise a statue in verse. Judge whether I have succeeded in the statues of Elijah and Olympias.

One was the Tishbite whom the raven fed,
    As when he stood on Carmel steeps
With one arm stretched out bare, and mocked and said,
    “Come cry aloud—he sleeps.”

Tall eager lean and strong, his cloak wind-bome
    Behind, his forehead heavenly bright
From the clear marble pouring glorious scorn,
    Lit as with inner light.

One was Olympias: the floating snake
    Rolled round her ancles, round her waist,
Knotted, and folded once about her neck,
    Her perfect lips to taste.

Round by the shoulder moved: she seeming blythe
    Declined her head: on every side
The dragon’s curves melted and mingled with
    The woman’s youthful pride
Of rounded limbs.

Or Venus in a snowy shell alone.
    Deep shadow’d in the glassy brine
Moonlike glowed double on the blue, and shone
    A naked shape divine.


3.    If the Poem were not already too long, I should have inserted in the text the following stanzas, expressive of the joy wherewith the soul contemplated the results of astronomical experiment. In the centre of the four quadrangles rose an immense tower.

Hither, when all the deep unsounded skies
    Shuddered with silent stars, she clomb,
And as with optic glasses her keen eyes
    Pierced thro’ the mystic dome,

Regions of lucid matter taking forms,
    Brushes of fire, hazy gleams,
Clusters and beds of worlds, and bee-like swarms
    Of suns, and starry streams.

She saw the snowy poles of moonless Mars,
    That marvellous round of milky light
Below Orion, and those double stars
    Whereof the one more bright
Is circled by the other, etc.


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