And so, after these harrowing scenes, she would press him to herheart in the most passionate embrace; she would cover with her kissesthe traces of the blows; and she would strive, by the most deliriouscaresses, to make him forget the paternal brutalities. With him shesobbed. Like him, she would shake her clinched fists in the vacantspace; exclaiming, "Coward, tyrant, assassin!" The little Gilbertemingled her tears with theirs; and, pressed against each other, theydeplored their destiny, cursing the common enemy, the head of thefamily.
He returned just before noon, when he judged the chambermaids would have finished tidying the bedrooms, and then, without asking for his key, sat down in the lounge and waited for the reception clerk to go away for his midday meal. At length, seeing the man leave the desk and another clerk take his place, he strolled leisurely up and asked for key No. 74, hoping that this second clerk would not be familiar with the numbers of the various visitors’ rooms.
The Idylls of the King had a different fate and achieved instant popularity. The first four were published in 1859 and within a few months 10,000 copies were sold. Tennyson’s original design, formed early in life, had been to build a single epic on the Arthurian theme, which seemed to him to give scope, like Virgil’s Aeneid, for patriotic treatment. ‘The greatest of all poetical subjects’ he called it, and it haunted his mind perpetually. But if Virgil found such a task difficult nineteen hundred years before, it was doubly difficult for Tennyson to satisfy his generation, with scientific historians raking the ash heaps of the past, and pedants demanding local colour. In shaping his poem to meet the requirements of history he was in danger of losing that breadth of treatment which is essential for epic poetry. He fell back on the device of selecting episodes, each a complete picture in itself, and grouping them round a single hero. The story is placed in the twilight between the Roman withdrawal and the conquests of the Saxons, when the lamp of history was glimmering most faintly. In these troublous times a king is miraculously sent to be a bulwark to the people against the inroads of their foes. He founds an order of Knighthood bound by vows to fight for all just and noble causes, and upholds for a time victoriously the standard of chivalry within his realm, till through the entrance of sin and treachery the spell is broken and the heathen overrun the land. After his last battle, in the far west of our island, the king passes away to the supernatural world from which he came. This last episode had been handled many years before, and the ‘Morte d’Arthur’, which had appeared in the volume of 1842, was incorporated into the ‘Passing of Arthur’ to close the series of Idylls.详情 ➢
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