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I BELIEVE IN PROGRESS

AND I WOULD CONSERVE THE HOPES OF MAN

TENNYSON TO AUBREY DE VERE

PREFACE.

When the publishers requested me to undertake an edition of The Princess, I at first saw no reason why I should. I argued that there were already a sufficient number of annotated editions, - that of Wallace, with its minute and elaborate notes; of Rolfe, with its critical examination of the progress of the poem through the five editions by means of which it attained finality, those of 1847, 1848, 1850, 1851, and 1853 ; of Woodberry, with its masterly Introduction ; of George, with its exaltation of Tennyson and the poets generally; and of Boynton, with its exclusion of all that could possibly be spared ; besides the Study by Dawson, but for which all the editions named would have been distinctly poorer.

Yet, on consideration, I found that none of these editions quite satisfied me; which is only another way of saying that I am I, with my own idiosyncrasies. One of my notions was that the student should be encouraged to do somewhat more for himself than the other editors seemed to think necessary; and another was that he should be shown how to direct his labor to the greatest advantage.

Where information was to be supplied, I usually discovered that one or another of my predecessors had provided what was needful; under these circumstances, I could either quote, giving credit; or paraphrase, with a fallacious show of independence; or draw from original sources. To the second of these I have rarely resorted; where statements were especially accurate and felicitous I have employed the first means; and in many cases I have had recourse to the third method. I found that Dawson had very frequently been transcribed or adapted by his successors ; and I had no option but to follow their example, only that I have adhered with considerable uniformity to the former of these methods of utilizing his labors. Besides this obligation, I have also to thank Mr. Dawson for his courteous permission to reprint Tennyson's letter in full. In doing so, I have taken the liberty of deviating in some typographical respects from the original as printed in Dawson's second edition of his Study; otherwise I believe my copy to be faithful.

I have brought forward some of the more eminent of Tennyson's critics, to present the different aspects under which his work can be regarded, in the belief that more is to be gained from a comparison of various opinions than from conning the views of any one individual. Instead of commenting at length upon metrical peculiarities, I have rather chosen to avail myself of the collection of examples made by Professor Corson, in his Primer of English Verse, and to refer from the respective lines to my reprint from his book, permission to use which was freely accorded. Obligations to other works than those already mentioned are for the most part duly recorded in their proper places.

As to the text, I have deliberately departed from the inconsistent usage with respect to the weak past participle which has prevailed from the first edition to the present. Hitherto, ed, 'd, and t have been employed, upon a plan which may possibly have meant something to its inventor, but which is not in accord with any recognized phonetic principle, and which presents to the eye only a confused mixture of conventional regularity (ed), Landorian reform spellings (t), and eighteenth century modishness (d). Thus, in the first sixty-five lines of the poem, as well in the definitive edition of the Works published by Macmillan as in the first edition of The Princess (which of course omits besieged - drown'd, inclusive), I find : flock'd phonetics would require flockt; show'd; carved; cursed — phonetically curst; dived, mixt - phonetically on a plane with cursed and flock'd; arm’d; besieged; shunn'd; seem'd; whelm’d; push'd - why not pusht? one might ask; drown'd; murmur'd; moved; rear'd; danced; fired. Perhaps it may be assumed (assum’d?) that the poet was responsible for these, and therefore they should be left untouched (untouch'd? untoucht ?); but I cannot feel that they add either beautiful or characteristic touches to the poetry as such, and it is hardly worth while to perpetuate them as a monument either of Tennyson's or the printer's confusion or negligence. Hence I have had no scruples in writing uniformly ed, except where standard usage requires t. The tho' and thro' of the current editions have been retained. Here and there I have changed the punctuation, when it seemed that the sense would be more clearly brought out.

For definition I have frequently been indebted to the Standard Dictionary, sometimes with and sometimes without specific acknowledgment. The art of definition is a peculiarly difficult one; and it is a pleasure to record my belief that the Standard Dictionary is in this particular unexcelled among English works of its class. Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology has been freely drawn upon for the illustration of ancient proper names.

My views on the teaching of The Princess are indicated in the Introduction, under the head, Suggestions to Students. In schools where this poem is ‘read,' and not studied,'

the apparatus provided can easily be ignored or slighted; · but, personally, I could wish that literature deemed worthy of designation by a National Committee for use in the schools should likewise be deemed worthy of something more than a hurried perusal should bear to be dwelt on; should, indeed, so fascinate by its charms and virtues as irresistibly to compel a more intimate acquaintance on the part of the student.

MONTVILLE, NEW JERSEY,

August 30, 1897.

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