Printer Friendly

Clough's last summer.

One of the puzzles of Victorian literature is the eight-year silence of Arthur Hugh Clough (1819-61). He appears to have composed no verse at all between the middle of 1853 and the spring of 1861, apart from some experimental translations from Homer. (1) Special interest attaches therefore to the long poem that he poured out in the last summer of his life, Tales on Board or Mari Magno (referred to hereafter as Tales), and to the circumstances of its composition.

If there is any expression of the thoughts and feelings of the missing years, it should be in Tales. However, many critics, especially in the last half century, have been rather dismissive of this last work, holding that Clough had become conventional and ordinary in his views and that his poetic imagination had grown weak. However, some earlier critics were more enthusiastic. W. Y. Sellar thought "he had here struck on one of his happiest veins"; J. A. Symonds said it showed him to be "a better Crabbe"; an anonymous reviewer in the Contemporary Review found that the tales "attract the reader in the way that Chaucer attracts"; H. W. Garrod believed that, if it could not be called his masterpiece, it was "only because he died in the middle of writing it." He wrote "There is nothing that I more desire than that someone who has not read Mari Magno should be lured into doing so." (2)

Part of the trouble came from the title, Mari Magno, "on the great sea," which recalls the opening lines of Lucretius' De Rerum Natura, Book 2: "how pleasant, when the winds whip up the waters over a great sea, to watch from land the trouble of others!" (my translation). To those with a classical education, this could sound as if it meant that Clough was smugly satisfied to be able, from the refuge of a happy marriage, to look with equanimity on the suffering of others. However, there is no reason to suppose that he was thinking of anything more than the literal meaning of the two words, for he gave Norton the same title for two other poems, both composed in 1852-53: (3) "Where lies the land" (which appeared at one point as a possible envoi to Tales; see below) conveys the exhilaration of being in mid-ocean (Poems, p. 342); "Some future day" looks forward to being able to recollect emotion in tranquillity (Poems, p. 338). As for his feelings about Lucretian Schadenfreude, they are expressed in the following lines, deleted from the manuscript of Amours de Voyage, on Britain's failure to come to the aid of the Roman Republic in 1849:

   O happy Englishmen we! that so truly can quote from Lucretius
   Suave mari magno--how pleasant indeed in a tempest
   Safe from the window to watch and behold the great trouble of
   O blessed government ours, blessed Empire of Purse and Policeman!
   (Poems, p. 631)

Mari Magno was a misleading title for another reason. Clough's education had been almost entirely classical, and most of his readers had the same background. It is not surprising that his previous poetry was full of allusions to ancient literature and history, and that many of his titles were in Latin or Greek. In Tales, however, he consciously addresses a wider audience in a style inspired by Chaucer or Crabbe. (4) The titles are in English, except for "Currente Calamo," (also "Primitiae" as an alternative to "Third Cousins," later "The Lawyer's First Tale"--hereafter "Lawyer I"--and "A La Banquette" for "A Modern Pilgrimage"). In this paper I use the English titles.

Since interpretation of the poem has been influenced so much by ideas about the state of mind in which the reader believes it to have been written, it seems necessary to give some account of Clough's last years. Three things changed in his life after his return from America in June 1853: the immediate start of his humdrum job at the Office of Education, his marriage to Blanche Smith in June 1854 and the beginning of his exhausting voluntary work for Blanche's cousin Florence Nightingale in August 1856. His letters during this period are curiously impersonal and detached. The consensus has been that overwork and poor health account for his poetic silence. It is possible, though, that marriage to Blanche was stifling him and that the old Clough smouldered on beneath the calm exterior.

Clough was undoubtedly a dutiful husband, but it is strange that he was willing to give up so much of his spare time to clerical work for the Nightingale Fund. When Blanche was pregnant in 1857 she went home to live with her father while Clough and her mother worked to support Florence, after whom he named the baby the following year. Blanche clearly disapproved, writing after his death: "unfortunately, he was too willing and too anxious to take work of every sort and to spend himself for others. Therefore he soon became involved in labours too exciting for a constitution already somewhat overtasked." (5)

The most often quoted account of the marriage has been that of Blanche herself, the undoubted author of the memoir in PPR, (6) where she wrote that "his life did reach a sort of culmination, that a great-hearted man did for a short time find his natural repose in the pleasures of a home.... The humour which in solitude had been inclined to take the hue of irony and sarcasm, now found its natural and healthy outlet.... [The] new experience which he was daily gathering at home made many perplexed questions, both social and religious, clear and simple to his mind.... The close and constant contact with another mind gave him fresh insight into his own" (PPR, pp. 44-45) and so on for five pages. People writing to Blanche after his death naturally said nothing to contradict this view.

Other observers suggest a less happy Clough. Herbert Spencer, meeting him and Blanche in the Highlands in the autumn of 1860, wrote: "He was a very reserved, undemonstrative man, who usually took little share in general conversation. His face had a weary expression which seemed to imply either chronic physical discomfort or chronic mental depression--an apparent depression which suggested that he was oppressed by consciousness of the mystery of things." (7) Jowett, who assured Blanche "I have always considered his marriage as the real blessing and happiness of his life" (8) told Florence Nightingale: "Life was dark to him, and his wife and children made him as happy as he was capable of being made." (9) W. J. Stillman, who saw much of the Cloughs in the winter of 1859-60, remarked that "there seemed to be in him an arcanum of thought, something beyond what came into every-day existence,--a life beyond the actual life, into which he withdrew, and out of which he came to speak." (10)

The impression is of a man locked inside himself, terribly alone with his thoughts. Clough's old friends had become "churchy," (11) and his new friends were on the other side of the Atlantic--and even in them he did not confide. Blanche adored him, or rather her image of him; she was determined to deny his skepticism and to believe that he was still in some sense a Christian. Whatever her intelligence, its working was inhibited by her deeply held prejudices. Biswas, on the basis of a penetrating analysis of the period of the engagement, concluded that Clough's marriage was "intellectual suicide." (12) However, John Addington Symonds' often quoted description of her as "thick-sighted" can perhaps be discounted; he was contrasting "a clear-sighted man [Frederic Myers] and a thick-sighted woman" (Grosskurth, pp. 150-151); the remark may have been partly sexist.

Depression seems the best description of Clough's state during the silent years. He had also been depressed during his time at University Hall, October 1849 to December 1851, and often as a student at Oxford, October 1837 to March 1842. On the other hand, there had been periods of exaltation-frequent episodes during his last years at Rugby and as an undergraduate at Oxford, and above all during his Highland visit in the summer of 1847 and in the months following his resignation of his tutorship in March 1848. It is risky to apply modern psychiatric concepts to the dead, but he does seem to have had what is now called a bipolar temperament, alternating between depression and mania. As a student he often spoke brilliantly at a dinner or in a debate at the Decade, only to come back to his rooms and berate himself for having been "foolish."

One may ask how far Clough's marriage contributed to his depressed mood of the 1850s. He had gone into it determined to have no illusions. He made this clear repeatedly to his fiancee, for example in the letter he wrote to her, newly engaged, on his thirty-third birthday:

What was the true apple? do you know? I believe its true name was "Love is everything." Women will believe so and try and make men act as if they believed so, and straightway, behold, the Fall, and Paradise at an end etc., etc.

Love is not everything, Blanche; don't believe it, nor try to make me pretend to believe it. "Service" is everything. Let us be fellow-servants.

There is no joy nor happiness, nor way nor name by which men may be saved but by this.

(Corr. p. 300; Reconsideration, pp. 431-432)

So had Clough been saved? Had fellow service brought him joy and happiness? Would a love-match have made him happier? That these questions were exercising him in 1861 seems clear from the fact that, while travelling alone on the Continent, he spent much of his time composing a series of poems, full of autobiographical elements, on love's opportunities lost, on marriage as arbitrary juxtaposition, on marriage gone wrong--and on simple voyeurism. One should not expect straightforward answers, for he was a complex man with a powerful intellect and strong emotions. He also combined a strong sense of humor with his deep seriousness, and he often ridiculed himself as well as writing satirically about others.

Clough's health began to break down when he had scarlet fever at the end of 1859. His mother died soon after, adding to his unhappiness, and in October 1860 he finally started a long sick leave, from which he was never to return. He underwent a water cure for a month before Christmas and a month after it at Malvern, to no avail. It is interesting, in view of what happened in the following summer, that he wrote to Blanche from Malvern (unpublished, dated only "Monday"): "Where shall we go? I don't want to rush into Alfred's bosom at Freshwater." In fact that is exactly where they did go toward the end of February, and they stayed for about six weeks. Clough had known Tennyson since at least 1852, and he seems to have had a special regard for Emily Tennyson, five and a half years his senior, to whom he presented a copy of the one-volume version of his Plutarch's Lives in 1860. (13) During this visit he may have come to see her as a mother figure and confidante. While there, he broke his poetic silence, penning "Trunks the forest yielded" and "From thy far sources."

In April, thanks partly to a gift of 500 [pounds sterling] from Florence Nightingale, Clough embarked on a cruise to Greece and Turkey and then, after three unhappy weeks trying to attend to business in England, on travels in Auvergne and the Pyrenees. It was during these trips that he composed the poems that were to form Tales. There is more information on these last seven months than on the preceding eight years. Clough sent at least fifty letters and received many. He poured verse into three notebooks and crammed both poetic drafts and journal entries into a pocket diary of 244 pages (Poems, pp. 768-769). This is one of three "synoptic diaries," the other two being Hallam Tennyson's "French Diary" (June 27 to September 28) and Emily Tennyson's Journal (unfortunately much edited). (14) It is thus possible to work out a detailed chronology of his movements and his writing.

A few simple assumptions can be made: (1) that he drafted in his diary only when he did not have a notebook to hand, in ink when available and otherwise in pencil; (15) (2) that he wrote preferably on unused diary pages for past dates as well as on blank pages at the beginning and end; (3) as his habit was to compose on the recto of pages in the notebooks, what is written on verso pages was written later, sometimes considerably later; (4) that drafts in the diary follow roughly the sequence of composition. The last assumption is less certain than the others, but it applies well to the tales of ascertainable date--"Lawyer I" (before mid-June), "A Modern Pilgrimage" (July 25/26), the bridge passage to "Currente Calamo" (by August 31), "The Officer's Story" (early September), "The Lawyer's Second Tale" (hereafter "Lawyer II," after mid-September).

The first tale in the diary is "Third Cousins" or "Primitiae" (beginnings, first-fruits), later to become "Lawyer I." This was written, Blanche tells us (PPR, p. 51) during Clough's voyage to Greece and Turkey, April 20 to June 5. It runs from the front of the diary to the blank page facing February 14 to 16, and continues in reverse direction on the blank pages at the back, running eventually into December. He made a fair copy in the first of the notebooks (Mulhauser's MS B). This is identical in format with the second notebook, MS A, except in having exactly half as many pages, suggesting that both were bought in the same place, perhaps Bordeaux, where he stayed on June 10 and again on July 26 and 27. He must have left this first fair copy in London, where he stayed from June 15 to July 6; there is no other way to explain the fact that he made a second fair copy in MS A.

Clough clearly conceived "Third Cousins" as a self-contained poem and not as part of a sequence; it is longer than any of the other tales and differs from them, except "My Tale," in being told in the first person (though, when it is put into the mouth of the lawyer, he cautions that it may not be his own story). It is in tetrameters, while the others, except the unfinished "Officer's Story," are in heroic couplets. It starts with holiday visits of the narrator as a boy to his mother's second cousin and her clergyman husband, who have six daughters. In successive stays he becomes increasingly attracted to Emily, two years his senior, but he puts her off by his smug displays of schoolboy learning. He takes an Oxford degree, then spends a year traveling in Greece and Turkey. On his way back, meeting her and her husband in Switzerland, he realizes his love--too late! A couple of years later, now a college fellow, he visits her, now a mother, and she tells him that his studies have left him only half alive. He takes her advice and leaves the University.

The autobiographical elements are clear--Clough's boyhood holidays with cousins, his bookishness, his resignation from his fellowship, his recent travels. Attempts to identify "Emily" have not succeeded, but her name was perhaps a tribute to Emily Tennyson. The poem is sensitively written, and the growth of the characters is drawn with subtlety. He seems to have been in nostalgic mood, recalling lost loves and wondering how life might have been different if he had married somebody else. In lines from MS B (italicized below) he even came close to acknowledging the sexual problem that had tormented his youth: (16)

   [passions ... wants ... ] obscurely worked
   Without their names and unexplained
   Anal with a sense of secret sin
   Were hidden and repressed within,
   And only half, like sin, restrained. (Poems, after II.153; p. 776)

The remainder of MS B is taken up by "Spectator ab Extra"--a version of Dipsychus, scene V, lines 130-195, expanded to 102 lines and transposed to France, reflecting the rich food and drink of the French hotels he had passed through. The last stanza especially suggests that the temptations of Dipsychus are still very much alive:

   And the angels in pink and the angels in blue,
   In muslin and moires so lovely and new,
   What is it they want, and so wish you to guess,
   But if you have money, the answer is Yes.
   So needful, they tell you, is money, heigh-ho!
   So needful it is to have money. (Poems, p. 701)

Clough left again for France on July 6. He knew from Palgrave (letter no. 1048 of July 3) that the Tennysons had "fled in the direction of Auvergne"; indeed he may already have been contriving an "accidental" meeting with them, for Matthew Arnold, in his last ever letter to Clough, sent from Brighton on July 5 in reply to a letter of "a day or two ago," said he considered Auvergne "not worth going to except for a geologist"; he recommended instead "the mountain country of the Haute Loire, about Puy [en Velay]." (17) Yet, strangely, Clough does not seem to have told Blanche in advance of his plan; he wrote to her from Paris (letter no. 1052 of the 8th): "I shall then go to Auvergne [his emphasis]--write if you please to Clermont-Ferrand--and so round to Geneva in good time."

After a few days in Paris, he travelled via Clermont to Mont Dore, which he reached on July 15, two days before the Tennysons. At first the weather was cold and wet, and on Tuesday 16th he wrote to Blanche unenthusiastically about this "queer place" (letter no. 1059; Corr. p. 589; PPR, p. 262), saying he thought he would leave on Friday and be in Geneva by Monday. The next day he began to enjoy himself, as described in letter no. 1060:

Today the weather changed at 11 a.m.--I went for a long walk along a road but through a sort of forest hill country, i.e. along mountain sides partly open partly covered with dense sapins.

Tomorrow I go with a riding party to the chief mountain top Puy de Sancy. I think, if weather still be fine--there are also one or two more things to do--so that probably I may stay even till Monday.

'Tis an odd enough place to be in--dejeuner at 10, diner at 5 1/2 two tables of about 25 people all French--We also have a drawing room where we meet before meals and sit generally (only I don't)--gentlemen unbeknown to ladies give their arms to ladies aforesaid to conduct 'em into dinner and occasionally out from dinner. I sat near some pleasantish people at dinner--a Parisian of the Parisians on one hand and a Marseilles opulent-seeming merchant with a wife, a sister and some children on t'other.

Last night from 8 to 91/2 was a soiree magicale--things coming out of hats etc. etc. followed by a divertissement of a poet and improvisateur who did tout rimer--the company supplied him for his last epreuve with about 14 or 16 words--rhymes masculine and feminine--mitraille, canaille, volcan, encore ending with baigneur and bonheur, which gave him the opportunity--the subject by the way being given him after the rhymes, viz. vin de champagne--to wish in conclusion chaque aimable baigneur I don't know how much bonheur which of course drew the house. The poet's face was a great and round simple looking piece of countenance and he was fat but alert and knew more tricks than one I dare say. The only verse I remember was

... mitraille

Le champagne n" est pas le vin de la canaille.

I think it is possible I may stay even longer so if there is anything particular write here as well.

(PPR, pp. 262-263 amalgamates with the previous letter)

Clough did indeed stay longer, with outings every day from the Wednesday to the Saturday. Having initially said he would head for Geneva on Friday 19, he was finally to leave for the Pyrenees on Thursday 25. On Sunday 21 he wrote to Blanche:

My plans are changed. This morning about 8 1/2 going across the place to the cafe whom should I see but Tennyson.... They had been here two days. They go to the Pyrenees and I am to follow them. They go tomorrow--I've sent some boots to mend and can't go till Tuesday or Wednesday. (letter no. 1062; Corr., p. 591; PPR, p. 264)

The Tennysons were there in strength, with the two boys, aged nine and seven, their young tutor, Henry Dakyns, and a nurse, Elisabeth Andrews. Only Tennyson himself could get a room in Mont Dore; the rest of the party were at La Bourboule, four miles to the west, on the road to Laqueuille. Recalling it much later, Hallam Tennyson said they were not enjoying their holiday much, but that is not the impression given by his childhood diary. (18) Clough took Hallam on his own to a waterfall that afternoon. On Monday morning he went out with Tennyson and Dakyns, and in the afternoon they all made an expedition. By the time he wrote his next letter to Blanche (no. 1063, of Tuesday 23, unpublished paragraphs) he had postponed his departure and changed his reason for delay:

   I go from this on Thursday--could I only get my linen I would go
   sooner and shall be at Bordeaux on Saturday.... The Tennysons
   started this morning....

   This alas is a wet day again. If it be fine tomorrow and if I get
   back my linen I think I shall start but probably it won't be fine.

In fact it was fine, but instead of leaving he went up the plateau for a view of the lake. The change of pretext from boots to linen could be procrastination. There is a further mystery: he had agreed to follow the Tennysons to "Bagneres" but they meant Bagneres de Bigorre, and Clough headed for Bagneres de Luchon. Was there a genuine misunderstanding, or was his choice deliberate? His behavior in the next six weeks suggests strangely mixed feelings about being with the Tennysons. At the same time, his letters home seem to have contradictory aims, on the one hand to reassure Blanche that all was well, for example by holding out the prospect of being with the Tennysons, and on the other to solicit her sympathy for his supposed loneliness, and even her jealousy over the mixed company he was keeping.

There are suggestive parallels with Clough's journey in two tales written later in the year. In "Lawyer II," it is because he waits for his linen that the tutor stays on in the Highland inn and is seduced. "The Clergyman's Second Tale" (hereafter "Clergyman II") tells of an office worker, nine years married, travelling alone in France on sick-leave. Feeling hurt because his wife insists on him remaining abroad, he lets a "Junonian" beauty lure him into her hotel bed. Smitten with remorse, he flees, arrives late at night, "four days from his fall," in a French provincial town, and leaves next day after sending letters, including a confession to his wife. Clough arrived late on Sunday 28th in Tarbes, four days after leaving Mont Dore, and went on next day after posting his application to extend his sick leave.

Clough did indeed feel hurt that Blanche was pressing him to remain abroad beyond September. In answer to her letter to this effect (no. 1061, Corr. p. 590), he wrote on the 23rd (no. 1063; Corr. pp. 591-592):

   I don't understand what this is all about--I want to come back in
   September and see no sufficient reason yet for not returning to
   work in November. I don't at all want to spend a winter abroad,
   away from the children [note, not "you and the children"]--and were
   I to be brought to do so, I should want to come home first.

He returned to the theme of his resentment in his letter of Tuesday 30 July, the day after he arrived in Luchon:

I think it very funny of you people at home--Flo and all of you--to suppose that it can be so very pleasant or easily endurable to stay poking about abroad for more than two or three months at a time, all by oneself or something no better--or perhaps worse. (no. 1067, Corr. p. 595)

What would have been worse than being alone if not being in the wrong company--the wrong female company?

It is possible, even probable, as suggested by Sir Anthony Kenny, (19) that Clough had a close encounter with an attractive woman in Mont Dore, perhaps the sister of the gentleman from Marseilles. Even supposing that there was no physical sex, he would have felt bad enough about simply having wanted it and imagined it. He was clearly excited by the spectacle of "gentlemen unbeknown" to ladies escorting them into and out from dinner. The idea of people getting into the wrong hotel bed was exercising him, for the next poem he pencilled in his diary was "Juxtaposition," which was to become "The American's Tale." "Juxtaposition" is the story of a young woman who, in an American hotel, accidentally gets into the bed of a strange man; nothing happens, but she ends up marrying him. Intriguingly, Clough left four sides blank between line 11, the going to bed, and line 12, the awakening--the only place in the whole diary with four consecutive blank pages.

At all events, Clough left Mont Dote early on Thursday July 25 to catch the mail coach to Tulle. Next day he continued by coach to Brive-la-Gaillarde and then by train to Bordeaux, where he spent two nights. The next poem in the diary describes the journey to Tulle and so can be firmly dated. (This also dates "Juxtaposition," of which the first 19 lines precede it and lines 20-35 follow it.) As he wrote it in ink, it is likely to have been in his hotel room, probably in Tulle. A fair copy is the first poem in MS A, hence the supposition that he bought the notebook in Bordeaux on the Saturday. He entitled it "A la Banquette or a Modern Pilgrimage" suggesting that already the thought of Chaucer was present.

The next tale in MS A--"Edmund and Emma" or "Fellow-Service," later to become "The Clergyman's First Tale" (hereafter "Clergyman I")--must have been written at Luchon. Blanche thought it might have been written on the Greek tour (PPR, p, 51), but she was clearly mistaken. The two young people rediscover each other after having matured through long years of separation and introspection; they marry, as Clough had done, on the basis that "love is fellow-service," but we do not discover how their marriage turned out. This is followed in MS A by the first version of "Actaeon," a highly sensual poem, telling of the hunter's fatal glimpse of Artemis bathing in her "ambrosial nakedness." With its wealth of detail, including the mention of seven tree and shrub species, it sounds as if it had been drawn from life. Perhaps Clough, on an excursion from Luchon, was indeed inspired by a glimpse of a nude bather.

Clough claimed to be distressed at not finding the Tennysons at Luchon. In the closing paragraph (unpublished) of his letter of July 30/31, no. 1067, he wrote:

   I am pretty well convinced my dear that the Tennysons are suddenly
   gone home again.... Anyway, I think they would have turned up
   before this if they were here. This is rather a nuisance for me--I
   don't think that Pyreneeing alone will be very delightful--however
   I must try.

In fact Pyreneeing--not entirely alone--was sufficiently delightful for him to spend twelve days in Luchon, where he received the news that Blanche had given birth on August 5 to their daughter, whom he named Blanche Athena. He recorded four excursions--one with a family from Tours, one with Pierre Redonnet, an ex-hussar, one with Pierre's cousin Jean and one on his own. He heard on the 7th, by a letter from Dakyns (who thus knew where he was), that the Tennysons were in Bigorre. Despite his repeated complaints about missing them, he left almost as soon as they arrived in Luchon. On Friday August 9 (letter no. 1074 to Blanche--incomplete in PPR, p. 266) he wrote:

   Today comes a note to say that the Tennysons are coining here this
   evening--and I have already taken my place for Luz via Bigorre! Go
   I must and I shall--and what they'll do I don't know.... I don't
   propose to stay long at Luz unless indeed the Tennysons (which is
   possible) come after me there.

They arrived at Luchon at eight that evening, and at half past nine Clough said goodbye to them. He left early next morning on the two-day journey to Luz.

On his first day at Luz, Monday August 12, Clough walked to the watering place at Saint Sauveur and a little way up the valley. This was perhaps when he followed the young woman of "Currente Calamo" ("with hurrying pen"), which he wrote next morning, sending a copy to Blanche with the letter he started on the 13th (no. 1077; PPR, p. 267). With its sensuous description of her olive skin, her dark eyes, her jet-black hair, "thence passing down / A skirt of darkest yellow brown, / Coarse stuff, allowing to the view / The smooth limbs to the woollen shoe," it was an extraordinary thing to send a wife who had just given birth. It is as if he felt that Blanche was too detached and ought to be jealous. In MS A, this stands between the two versions of "Actaeon"; voyeurism was certainly on his mind.

The initial plan for Tales was now clear. In MS A, following the second version of "Actaeon," Clough wrote the title "Mari Magno or Tales on Board," a fair copy of the Preface, which he had penciled into the back of the diary, then bridge passages to join on "The Lawyer's [First] Tale" and "The Clergyman's [First] Tale," then a bridge to, and fair copy of, "The American's Tale" ("Juxtaposition"), and finally "My Tale" ("A Modern Pilgrimage"), excluding "Currente Calamo." Most of the connecting passages had first been pencilled in the diary. After the end of "My Tale" is the first line of an envoi--"Where lies the Land to which the ship would go" (the poem once entitled "Mari Magno"). When he later decided to finish with arrival in Boston, this mid-ocean envoi ceased to be appropriate and was deleted.

The Preface introduces the storytellers, a group of passengers on a transatlantic steamer such as Clough had sailed on in 1852 in the company of Thackeray and Lowell. The narrator is a youth, travelling with his "guardian friend," a lawyer aged 33--Clough's age in 1852. The conversation turns to marriage:

   Marriage is discipline, the wise had said,
   A needful human discipline to wed;
   Novels of course depict it final bliss,--Say,
   had it ever really once been this? (11. 87-90)

The American makes a proposal:

   "You'll reason on till night and reason fail.
   My judgement is you each shall tell a tale;
   And as on marriage you can not agree,
   Of love and marriage let the stories be." (ll. 95-98)

At the time of The Bothie, Clough had believed that the deep union of a loving couple, the radical undergraduate poet Philip Hewson and the crofter's daughter, Elspie Mackaye, could be a basis for marriage. Concern over the uncertainty of love darkened the tone of Amours de Voyage. His experience in Venice, reflected in Dipsychus, led him to fear that lust might replace love, and he arrived at the idea of fellow-service as the only foundation for marriage; but had the reality satisfied him or did he still long for a deep union? The format of Tales allowed him to turn his inner debate into a sequence of stories.

The most puzzling thing is that Tales was originally to culminate in "My Tale," describing Clough's coach journey of July 25, put into the mouth of a callow youth, who claims no experience of love. Apart from the coachman's song, lamenting that he is no longer young enough for love, it appears to have no relevance to the theme. The simplest hypothesis is that it is in fact about marriage, treated allegorically and told by an unmarried man to deter readers from supposing that it is about Clough's own experience. It starts with a lyrical passage recalling the exalted mood of some of his poems of the 1840s and expressing the sort of freedom enjoyed by those who have no ties:

   The mountains of Auvergne are all in sight;
   The Puy de Sancy and the Puy de Dome,
   Were Puy on Puy, you'd see the gates of Rome.
   Green pastoral heights that once in lava flowed,
   Of primal fires the product and abode,
   And all the plateaux and the lines that trace
   Where in deep dells the waters find their place;
   Far to the south above the lofty plain
   The Plomb du Cantal lifts his towering train.
   Ascend the steep and you may see the show;
   Mid-day was burning, and I did not go. (ll. 8-18)

This "mid-day" may echo Dante's "nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita--midway through life"; Clough was thirty-five when he married. The poem makes two contrasts: firstly between moving freely about the puys and then being carried along willy-nilly, confined in a vehicle, secondly between the imposing nature of the diligence, with its four cart-horses, and the triviality of the conversation inside it. Given the present hypothesis, these would symbolize the contrasts between bachelor life and marriage, and between the grand claims made for marriage and the dullness of the reality.

The journey starts not at Mont Dore but at Laqueuille (cf. l'acceuil-"the welcome, the reception"), a village dominated by a large church of black volcanic stone. The road at once drops precipitously 100 metres to the Plateau de Millevaches, a monotonous expanse of what was scrubby pasture. The only distraction is the conversation of the all-male company. Clough's fellow passengers talk of their experience of the French war in Italy and the disappointments of revolution. A priest boards the coach and tells a story about a miracle. To tease him, the driver sings a song, the burden of which is that at fifty he must say goodbye to the love affairs of his youth, though the memory of the girls he loved tempts him to "think I'm young in spite of all my years." "To leave is painful, but absurd to stay" (ll. 15,16).

Eventually, weariness with the postilion's story of a man and a horse sends the narrator to sleep. He wakes at the end of the journey in Tulle, a town of dark stone, enclosed and viewless at the bottom of a steep-sided valley, the road having taken another plunge down from the level of the plateau. He sees nothing interesting, only "houses in a row" (not very different from Clough's London home!), and goes "thankful ... to bed." If the monotonous coach journey represents marriage, then this is what it leads to: an aching dullness, from which the only escape is sleep.

Clough remained satisfied for a while with this conclusion for Tales, as is plain from the evidence of MS A. He had an obsessive interest in line counts, and little sums are dotted about the notebook. The first, ending with "A Modern Pilgrimage," is beside the title "Tales on Board." He did not know how many lines to count for "Lawyer I," guessing 500, corrected to 700, and this no doubt is one reason why he next embarked on a complete new fair copy. The decision to join "Currente Calamo" to the rest of "My Tale" clearly came later; the necessary bridge passage (first partially pencilled in the diary) was written on pages facing the original ending, over-writing one of his sums. This had certainly been done by August 31, as he included lines 211-218 of the bridge, which are not in the diary, with his letter of that day to Blanche, no. 1085 (paragraphs not in Corr.). He tactfully left out line 210: "A peasant beauty, beauteous past compare."

Meanwhile, Pyreneeing continued unabated. Clough's letter no. 1077, completed on Thursday August 15 (unpublished paragraph), explained that he was "rather laid up with the Pyrenean disorder of diarrhoea" but had recovered on a diet of rice water. By August 17 he felt well enough to walk to the fortified Templar church at Bareges, four miles away--"a regular pool of Bethesda ... a desolate place in a bare pass with a staring etablissement and a soldiers' hospital and everybody on crutches and the only apparent enjoyment card-playing in shabby cafes" (letter of the August 17, no. 1078, PPR, p. 323). On the 18th Clough went to Gavarnie, returning after "a hard day's riding ... more tired than I have been this long time, so tired I could scarcely eat" (letter no. 1081 unpublished paragraph). The next two days were foggy. On the August 21 he took the diligence to Cauterets, from which he visited the Lac de Gaube next day.

All through this time he was exchanging letters with Emily Tennyson. His of August 13 told her "I make no plans till I hear from you" and related the terrible death of Mrs Longfellow in a fire. (20) In letters to Blanche of August 15, 17, and 21 he mentions having heard from Emily, and by August 17 he had promised to visit them in Luchon, but it was only on August 23, after a second night at Cauterets, that he began a three-day ride through the mountains to get there. The first day brought him to Luz, where he received Blanche's letter of August 18 (no. 1079, unpublished) proposing to join him at [begin strikethrough]"Marseilles Avignon Bordeaux somewhere[end strikethrough] Lyons, so as to go on apace" early in September. He was not yet ready to end his period of freedom, nor did travel so soon after childbirth seem wise, and he replied straight away with letter no. 1082:

As for plans hereafter-heaven knows: I didn't think of your coming before October--would it be wise to do so? to begin real travelling sooner?--And by that time the passes would be no longer desirable I imagine [non sequitur]. (Corr. pp. 599-600)

Next day Clough started at 8:30 and rode, with detours, to Arreau, arriving at 6:30. On Sunday August 24, leaving at 6:30, he got to Luchon at 11. Emily and the boys were unwell, but he went on Monday with Tennyson to the nearby cascades "des Demoiselles" and "des Parisiens," setting out next day on the two-day ride back. As he was expecting them in Luz by the end of the week, this strenuous journey seems to have been unwarranted. A consequence of his visit was that on August 26 Emily sent Blanche letter no. 1084, conveying exactly the message he would have wanted:

   I do really hope this long separation will be repaid to you when
   you see the improved state of Mr Clough's health. It seems to me
   that even the Pyrenean illness which he has had has in one way been
   satisfactory as proving increase of strength in his power of
   recovery. Do not be overhasty in coining to him. Be tolerably
   strong before you undertake the journey for his sake. (21)

Clough reached Luz at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, August 28, having been in the saddle five days out of six. On Thursday he went to St Sauveur and heard a lecture. On Friday he went up the Pic des Bergons. On Saturday he went to St Sauveur again. That evening at 6.30 the Tennysons arrived. Out of the 40 days since they had left Mont Dore, he had spent one and a half days and one short evening with them. For most of this time his mood seems to have been one of elation, with feverish creative activity and manic travels to and fro, reminiscent of his criss-crossing of the Highlands in September 1847.

Clough's diary says for Sunday September 1 "House hunting," and for Monday "Gedre in carriage. Woods on fire." In his letter of Monday morning, no. 1086 (Corr. p. 602), he wrote "Today [Tennyson] and Dakyns go to Gavarnie and sleep, which I shan't." Emily's journal, in the entry dated September 1 (evidently written later), says "I go with A. and Mr Clough to ... Bareges ... we drive one day to Gedre.... The gentlemen go to Gavarnie. While they are there I send Elisabeth up the Pic de Bergons with Mr Clough's guide" (Journal, p. 160). Hallam's diary makes it clear that on Monday morning they all went to Gedre by carriage, then Tennyson and Dakyns walked on to Gavarnie, where they stayed till Wednesday, while Clough returned to Luz with Emily and the boys. Clough rode to Gavarnie on Tuesday, briefly met Tennyson and Dakyns there, then left them and rode back to Luz.

Although he had seen so little of the Tennysons, his initial response to their arrival seems to have been a desire to escape. On Sunday September 1st, concluding letter 1085, which he had started the previous day, he had said he would be in Pau by Monday 9th (which would have meant leaving the following Sunday). By Monday 2nd, when he wrote letter no. 1086, he was proposing to leave Luz even sooner: "Well, I shall go to Pau I think on Thursday"--the day after Tennyson's prospective return from Gavarnie. He may have been uncomfortable in the presence of such a well matched couple; or perhaps ashamed of what he had been doing or thinking while alone. Anyway, he added "write also to Cauterets, for perhaps it may be a convenience to them if I take Mrs Tennyson and the boys there." He was still hoping to put off Blanche's arrival, continuing (unpublished paragraph):

   After Pau I meant to go to Eaux Chaudes--but must I turn northward
   to meet you? I don't know. To me the reasons for October seem good
   and really you will still have weather I believe for the passes and
   for North Italy. We shall want I suppose 200 [pounds sterling].
   When [do] you propose to be back? [My italics]

That Monday morning he had received a letter from Blanche enclosing a few words written by three-and-a-half-year-old Florence and a scrawl by baby Arthur. It may have been this that provoked the writing of "Clergyman II"--the story of a repentant adulterer, who was too stiff-necked to accept his wife's forgiveness and stayed away until his daughter's illness forced him back to his family. His remorse and flight were provoked when a letter

   Came from his wife, the little daughter too
   In a large hand--the exercise was new--To
   her papa her love and kisses sent:--
   Into his very heart and soul it went. (ll. 140-143)

According to Blanche (letter to Norton, no. 1122 of March 19, 1862, Poems, pp. 794-795) this gloomy tale "was written in one night, while he was staying with the Tennysons in the Pyrenees." The night of Tuesday September 3, after his solitary ride to Gavarnie, seems the most likely. The thirty-two lines (11.186-195 and 198-219) pencilled in the diary had presumably already been written, perhaps that same day, leaving about 200 to compose in the night to make up the original of approximately 230 lines, on recto pages in MS A. To these Clough added a further 90-odd lines (of which 342 to 358 were first pencilled in the diary) on facing pages and at the end, and he made many corrections.

Up to this point, Clough seems to have been reticent with Tennyson. An undated incident recounted by Dakyns, according to Miss E M. Stawall, may help to explain this:

   I remember once at a discussion on metre Clough would not say one
   word, and at last Tennyson turned to him with affectionate
   impatience, quoting Shakespeare in his deep kindly voice "Well,
   goodman Dull, what do you say?." ... I can't give the sweet
   humorous tone that made the charm of it. (22)

Clough may not have been charmed. He had published no poetry in England for more than twelve years and may have felt inadequate in the presence of the Poet Laureate. Tennyson too was reserved; Hallam Tennyson recalls that at Gavarnie "Mr Clough noticed how silent my father was and how absorbed by the beauty of the mountains" (Memoir, p. 474, cf. Journal, p. 160).

Clough was clearly at ease with Emily. If he had any confessions to make, she would have been the person to hear them. She was fresh from helping to hold the Weld family together, having received them all at Farringford after the adultery and disgrace of her brother-in-law, Charles Weld. (23) Following Monday's visit to Gedre, Clough was "with Mrs T in the prairies" on Wednesday, and on Friday he travelled by carriage with her, Elizabeth and the boys to Cauterets, while the other two men walked. He was thus Emily's companion for three days out of five that week. One would give a great deal to know what they said to each other. She certainly revered him; at the time of a visit from Blanche (July 18, 1871), she wrote: "Independent of all likings for herself, Mrs C. and her children have for his sake a kind of sacredness in our eyes." ("his" italicized in Letters, p. 159 note, not in Journal, p. 327).

At any rate, by the end of that week he had lost his urge to escape, and he spent the following week with the Tennysons in Cauterets. On Saturday--a misty day--the men went to the "sacred valley," where Tennyson had been with Arthur Hallam thirty-one years earlier, and Clough walked "up the valley with AT alone," seeing the "stately pine set in a cataract on an island crag" that figured in The Princess (V.334-335), while Dakyns considerately stayed behind (Friends, p. 205). That evening, Tennyson wrote his poem "In the Valley of Cauteretz." (24) On Sunday the three men went up to the Lac de Gaube, rowed on it and drank a pint of port. There were local outings every day for the rest of the week. It seems likely to have been during this second week that Clough felt sufficiently at ease with Tennyson to read to him from Tales, breaking down and crying "like a child" (Memoir, p. 475, note).

During his two weeks with the Tennysons, Clough thought of further expansion. He penned an incomplete tale by an artillery officer in the diary after the additions to "My Tale," and he wrote an introduction for it in MS A on the verso page facing the beginning of the fair copy of "Lawyer I." This seems to have been abandoned, to be replaced perhaps by "The Mate's Story" (Blanche Clough's title), which follows "Clergyman II" in MS A; but he seems to have returned to the officer's story at a later date, pencilling a second version in his diary. These two tales look like alternatives; each is a brief story of a damsel in distress rescued by an unexpected proposal of marriage. Either could have satisfied the need for a counterpart to "The American's Tale," and also for a more popular voice to set against those of the professional men.

Clough by now had a rendezvous with Blanche fixed for September 18 in Paris. Dakyns left on Wednesday September 11, but Emily was unwell and the rest of the party delayed their departure till Saturday when they went to Lourdes and L'Estelle. On Sunday they reached Pau, where Clough left them on Monday 16th. In her journal, Emily wrote:

At Pau Mr Clough leaves us. A sad parting. There could not have been a gentler, kinder, more unselfish companion than he has been. Among other kind things he corrected the boys' journals for them; we called him the "child-angel." (Memoir, 1:475)

In sharp contrast, in her diary of his last weeks, held in Balliol College Library (unpublished), Blanche described how she found him when they met:

   I was soon struck by his general languor, by the half-pain which it
   caused him to hear of things at home, partly as if he longed to be
   among them and partly as if he could not bear the effort of mind.
   He said after a little while "I think you shan't tell me any more
   about people in England."

It sounds as though she was chattering away, insensitive to the thoughts and feelings that lay beneath his silence. She may not yet even have known that he had written a long poem. Remarkably, he had never mentioned it in his letters home, apart from sending two fragments.

Clough's breakout was over. He and Blanche made an exhausting journey to Italy, with nights at Dijon, Salins, Pontarlier, Neuchatel, Vevey, Sion, Berisal, Domodossola, Stresa, Milan and Parma. He caught a chill by the Italian lakes and took to his bed on October 10 when they reached Florence. He developed a high fever but was able to work on a last tale. His sister Annie hurried down from Ambleside to be with him, arriving on November 9. He died four days later in the city of Florence Nightingale's birth, seven weeks short of his forty-third birthday. He was buried in the Protestant Cemetery, near to Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

The only clue we have to his state of mind in his last two months is "Christian" or "Lawyer II." Blanche said it "was conceived and written entirely during his last illness" (PPR, p. 51). In fact he surely thought of it as soon as he had written 'Clergyman II', for without it Tales would have been unbalanced both structurally and emotionally. His notebook was full, so he pencilled the draft into his diary wherever there was space between the pages for April 8 and November 25. Blanche wrote in her diary of those last weeks in Florence:

   He liked me to be there and not to stay too long away, but liked me
   to go too ... [He] used to keep his book under his pillow and
   write; I think that is why he did not mind my going away, for he
   could not talk about it.

He developed a high temperature but managed to make a fair copy of the first 282 lines. Early in November he suffered a stroke but was able to help Blanche to continue the fair copy to line 425. When she could not find lines 418-25 in the diary he recomposed them with a painfully shaky hand. These were his last written words. She transcribed the rest after his death.

   "Lawyer II" is an echo of The Bothie, without the speeches. It is
   the story of an Oxford don, another Philip, who stays on in
   Scotland after his students have gone home from their reading
   party. In a Highland inn, he falls for Christian or Chirstie the
   chambermaid. Her name must surely be taken as indicating the
   virtues he attributed to her. Katie the cook contrives to get the
   two into bed together. He escorts her to her aunt and uncle in
   Glasgow, who let the couple live together for a week before he has
   to return to Oxford, promising to come back in three weeks but
   without making clear his intention to marry her. The relatives do
   not trust him and trick her into sailing with them to Australia
   where she bears his child. He leaves the University, seeks her in
   vain in Australia, returns, becomes a successful writer and marries
   a Lady Mary. Many years later he glimpses Christian at a party in
   London and sends Lady Mary to meet her. The two women agree that he
   should take over the upbringing of his son, also called Philip.
   Christian, about to return to Australia, tells him in a letter that
   she has loved him all along. The story--and the debate of
   Tales---concludes with last words worthy of this most paradoxical
   of poets:

      O love, love, love, too late! the tears fell down.
      He dried them up--and slowly walked to town. (ll 510-511)

There are echoes here of Clough's Scottish reading parties, of the Highland lassies who appear several times in his earlier poems, of Philip Hewson, the "Chartist" student poet (and perhaps of Lady Maria) in The Bothie, of his leaving Oxford and of his attempt to get a professorship in Australia. It seems certain that he was deeply attracted by a woman in the Highlands, most likely in the autumn of 1847, and that he was fascinated by her naturalness. The person he called "[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], "the foreign woman" in his diary entry for September 6 of that year may have been the one who made him realize that Highland women could be very different from the English, as Elspie explains in The Bothie, not

   Locking-up as in a cupboard the pleasure that any man gives them,
   Keeping it out of sight as a prize they need be ashamed of. (VII.

Blanche hesitated before including Tales in her 1862 edition. Finally, she printed only the clergyman's tales and "My Tale," ending the poem with the sanctimonious cleric instead of the tolerant lawyer, creating an impression of conventionality and conformism. In a serious editorial misjudgement, she assigned "Clergyman I" to the lawyer, losing the contrast of voices that Clough intended. (25) She rectified this in 1863 (but not many people who had the first edition would also read the second), and she also restored the lines in which Clough distances himself from the clergyman by presenting three views of the story:

   The Artillery Captain, as we went below,
   Said to the lawyer, "life could not be meant
   To be so altogether innocent.
   What did the atonement show?" He for the rest,
   Could not, he thought, have written and confessed.
   Weakness it was, and adding crime to crime
   To leave his family that length of time,
   The lawyer said. The American was sure
   Each nature knows instinctively its cure. ("Clergyman II," 11.

Like his protagonists, with their many echoes of his own life, Clough was metaphorically at sea. As in his other long poems, the different voices in Tales represent different sides in his internal debates. The clergyman is both the Spirit from Dipsychus, urging a worldly view of marriage, and Dipsychus, expressing horror at material and sexual temptations. The lawyer is more like Adam, the tutor in The Bothie: "By nature he to gentlest thoughts inclined." He believes in love--and he has the last word. Nothing could be further than his second tale from conventional morality. Philip and Christian express no remorse for their love-making; their only regret is to have lost each other. Katie the cook and the aunt and uncle all aid and abet the couple. Lady Mary enthusiastically adopts her illegitimate stepson. No one is seriously punished and there is a bitter-sweet ending.

Some critics may have been influenced, at least unconsciously, by the impression that Tales was the work of a dying man, no longer in possession of his full powers. However, even in the case of "Lawyer II," there is no reason to believe that Clough composed it with any sense of imminent death. By the end of August, when he made his marathon ride from Cauterets to Luchon and back to Luz, he perhaps felt that he had recovered his health and that his main problems lay elsewhere. A succession of women inflamed his imagination-the lawyer's "Emily," "Artemis," several peasant beauties, the memory of his Highland "Christian," the "Juno" of Mont Dore, above all, perhaps, Emily Tennyson. In 1861 Clough broke his silence to show that he was, at least in mind, very much alive.


Letter from Blanche Clough to Emily Tennyson

This letter is held in the Tennyson collection at Lincoln Central Library. Judging by the writer's reluctance to write before she has better news, it may be the only--or almost the only--letter sent from the sickroom in which Clough died. It is not listed in Mulhauser's catalogue of all known letters, and it does not appear to have been published in its entirety before (but see Patrick Scott, Tennyson Research Bulletin 1 no. 3 (Lincoln, 1969): 64-70). The postscript is mysterious. Was it a private message to Emily? What was the three weeks old "Cauterets Baby," and what did he hear when it "squalled"? Clough was in Cauterets alone on August 22 and rode from there to Luchon to see the Tennysons in three crazy days, August 23 to 25. Counting backwards three weeks from the September 17, when he arrived in Paris, takes us to August 27, the day he started his ride back to Luz. It is here reproduced with acknowledgement to the Tennyson Research Centre, Lincolnshire County Council.

[P.S.] Arthur says perhaps you will be glad to hear that the 3 weeks old Cauterets Baby entered Paris safely with him. He heard it squall just before arriving in Paris.

Care of [illegible]

Macquary and Pakenham


Oct 19 / 61

My Dear Mrs Tennyson,

My husband has for several days been entreating me to write to you, he is anxious to hear how you accomplished your return home and I should have most willingly obeyed him but that I wished to wait a few days longer to give a better account of himself. We have now been here since Thursday week (10th) and he has since then been suffering from a bad feverish attack which he caught we suppose either at the Lakes or at Milan. They are unfortunately common now, but now he is not in any danger before now, and he is improving, but it has been a sad blight on our hopes of improvement for him from this journey. I cannot yet tell you what we may find it well to do, till he has thrown off the fever, but I hope it may be to stay on here quietly, where there is plenty to see, some kind friends and a good doctor, who has I think done very carefully and kindly for him. So we have some things to be thankful for in this trouble. I have to thank you very much for your kind little note long ago which I always intended to answer sooner, but waited to have been settled happily somewhere.

If you can spare time to let us hear how you are and most especially yourself it would be a great pleasure to us and a relief too to him. He was so happy with you in the Pyrenees, and it was quite like adopting another family, his interest about the boys. We have good accounts of our 3 little ones. We are so sorry Mr Browning is no longer here.

My husband is now lying on the sofa turning over the Golden Treasury, and I am sorry to say inveighing against Mr Palgrave as a Pedant--but I believe the smallness of the print affects his temper more than the pedantic arrangement. I wish it had been better type.

Will you excuse this scrappy letter. I wish we were back again at that nice little cottage at Freshwater with all my heart; we have had a hard time of it ever since. I wish he would have let me wait a few days longer, for I think they would have allowed me to write much more cheerfully about him. He has never been in danger, and has always been able to get up for some hours and to take considerable nourishment. He desires to be most kindly remembered to you and Mr Tennyson and sends his love to the Boys. He hopes they have made their journals all quite correct.

Believe me dear Mrs Tennyson

Very sincerely yours, BMS Clough


I am grateful to Nicholas Jacobs and Ann Thwaite for helpful comments on my first draft, to Anthony Kenny for much help in the course of this research, to Patrick Scott for pointing out the value of material held at the Tennyson Research Centre, Lincolnshire County Council, and to Grace Timmins, Collections Officer at the Centre, for bringing to my attention Blanche Clough's letter to Emily Tennyson.


(1) J.P. Phelan suggests, in "The Textual Evolution of Clough's Dipsychus and the Spirit," Review of English Studies, 46 (1993): 230-239, that Clough wrote six scenes of Dipsychus after October 1854. The evidence cited is the mention, in scene 3 (a scene suppressed by Blanche Clough) 1.172, of Sidney Herbert sending women out to colonize, which Phelan supposes to refer to Florence Nightingale and her nurses, but it is clear that it refers to Herbert's founding of the Female Emigration Fund in 1849--on which Disraeli commented "35,000 needlewomen to be deported at 5 [pounds sterling] a-piece!" (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, s.v. Herbert, Sidney). Phelan also relies on the reference to Ruskin (scene 5, line 225), but this does not need to be later than 1851, year of publication of volume I of John Ruskin, Stones of Venice (London: Smith, Elder, 1851-54). The argument against Phelan's view was further developed by Sir Anthony Kenny in an unpublished talk delivered at Dr Williams' Library, University College, London on February 3, 2010.

(2) Michael Thorpe, Editor, Clough: the Critical Heritage (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1972) pp. 193,230, 387. H. W. Garrod, Poetry and the Criticism of Life (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1931), pp. 122-123.

(3) The Poems of Arthur Hugh Clough, ed. Frederick. L. Mulhauser (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1974), pp. 767-768; ; hereafter abbreviated to Poems.

(4) Apart from the references to ancient history in the travels described in the first tale, there is only one place--a learned joke--where a classical education heightens appreciation: Edmund in "Clergyman I" says "Erotion! I saw it in a book ... I do not love, I want, I try to love. This is not love, but lack of love instead!" (ll. 161-164). "Erotion" does not bear the fanciful meaning he gives it; it is the name of the little slave girl whose death is mourned in three of Martial's Epigrams.

(5) The Poems and Prose Remains of Arthur Hugh Clough (London, 1869), 1:45; hereafter abbreviated to PPR.

(6) Phyllis Grosskurth, John Addington Symonds (London: Longmans, 1964), quotes a letter to Henry Dakyns from Symonds, who was Blanche's collaborator over the publication of PPR: "The memoir is written--inadequately, but still written--by Mrs Clough" (p. 133).

(7) Herbert Spencer, An Autobiography (New York: Appleton, 1904), 2:62.

(8) Letter no. 1099 ofc. November 20, 1861, The Correspondence of Arthur Hugh Clough, ed. Frederick L Mulhauser, vol. 2 (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1957), p. 605; letter numbers refer to the catalogue on pp. 622-649; citations to this text are hereafter abbreviated to Corr. Some letters are in PPR, but this source partially rewrites the text and also combines letters of different dates without indicating the fact. Transcriptions here have been made from the originals held in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

(9) Quoted in Edward T. Cook, The Life of Florence Nightingale (London: Macmillan, 1913), 2:12.

(10) William J. Stillman, The Autobiography of a Journalist (Boston: Houghton Miffin, 1901), 1:303.

(11) "Somehow or other all those friendships seem to be going off rather. They have all got so churchy [Clough's underlining]; there is no possibility of getting on thoroughly--Matt Arnold is not churchy--though his wife is, which is a pity" (Clough's letter to Blanche, August 31, 1853, Corr., p. 460).

(12) Robindra K. Biswas, Arthur Hugh Clough: Towards a Reconsideration, (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1972), p. 439; hereafter abbreviated to Reconsideration.

(13) A detailed account of the visit to Freshwater is given by Patrick Scott, "The Cloughs visit the Tennysons," Tennyson Research Bulletin 3, no. 1 (1977): 10-13. On the general subject of Clough's relations with Tennyson, see Scott, "Tennyson and Clough," Tennyson Research Bulletin 1, no. 3 (1969): 64-70.

(14) James O. Hoge, ed., Lady Tennyson's Journal (Charlottesville: Univ. Press of Virginia, 1981), p. 158; hereafter abbreviated to Journal. Hallam's little diary has not been published; it is held in the Tennyson Research Centre. Although he had only his ninth birthday that summer, he gives many useful details.

(15) In letter no. 1082 of August 23, Clough speaks of "recovering my bag per diligence at 12--which enables me to write."

(16) The Oxford Diaries of Arthur Hugh Clough, ed. Anthony Kenny (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1990), p. lxii.

(17) Letters of Matthew Arnold, ed. Cecil Y. Lang (Charlottesville: Univ. Press of Virginia, 1997), 2:7942. This letter is not listed in Corr. Haute Loire is in fact part of Auvergne.

(18) Hallam Tennyson, Alfred Lord Tennyson: a Memoir (London, 1897), 1:472; hereafter abbreviated to Memoir.

(19) Anthony Kenny, Arthur Hugh Clough: A Poet's Life (London: Continuum, 2005), pp. 279-280.

(20) Letter in Yale, not listed by Mulhauser, quoted by Ann Thwaite, Emily Tennyson: the Poet's Wife (London: Faber and Faber, 1996), pp. 361,669.

(21) The Letters of Emily Lady Tennyson, ed. James O. Hoge (University Park: Pennsylvania State Univ. Press, 1974), p. 159; hereafter abbreviated to Letters.

(22) Hallam Tennyson, ed., Tennyson and his Friends (London: Macmillan, 1911), p. 203; hereafter abbreviated to Friends. Dakyns joined the Tennysons as tutor on February 20, 1861, so the incident could have occurred either at Freshwater or--less probably--in France. In Love's Labours Lost, Act V, scene i, Holofernes says to Dull "Via, goodman Dull! Thou hast spoken no word all this while." Dull replies: "Nor understood none neither, sir." Tennyson was perhaps mocking himself as well as teasing Clough, since the conversation that Dull had failed to understand was a parody of academic verbosity, but Clough was no stranger to scholarship.

(23) The Tennysons' choice of itinerary may have been influenced by Charles Weld's books, Auvergne, Piedmont and Savoy (1850) and The Pyrenees, West and East (1858), the latter dedicated to Mrs Alfred Tennyson.

(24) Tennyson, and after him Hallam, confused the dates of the trip, thinking that the family arrived in Cauterets on Tennyson's birthday, August 6, and that the poem was composed on August 7 (Memoir, 1:474); see also Christopher Ricks, ed., The Poems of Tennyson, 3 vols. (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1987), 2:617-618. This contradicts the evidence of Clough's diary and letters and of Emily's Journal, p. 160. There is also the evidence of Dakyns' letter from Bigorre, received by Clough on August 7.

(25) The bowdlerized 1862 version did not disappear. The third and fourth editions of Poems of Arthur Hugh Clough, published in 1871 and 1883 respectively and reprinted altogether seven times, leave out the Lawyer's First Tale (and My Tale), and attribute the Clergyman's First Tale to the Lawyer. It was only with the fifth edition of 1888 that the whole of Tales, less the American's, was reprinted. In 1906 the 1862 edition resurfaced to mislead a new generation when it was republished verbatim in London by George Routledge and Sons in the Muses' Library series. E. P. Dutton & Co. in New York had rights in the series but appears not to have printed that volume. Humphrey S. Milford used the 1862 text of "Tales" in the selection that he edited: Poems of Clough (London: Henry Froude, 1910).
COPYRIGHT 2013 West Virginia University Press, University of West Virginia
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2013 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Arthur Hugh Clough
Author:Stewart, Philip J.
Publication:Victorian Poetry
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2013
Previous Article:Tennyson with the net down: his "freer" verse.
Next Article:Victorians in purgatory: Newman's poetics of conciliation and the afterlife of the Oxford Movement.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters