Melancholy and "Mariana in the South"

James R. Kincaid, Aerol Arnold Professor of English, University of Southern California


Note 7 to Chapter 2 of the author's Tennyson's Major Poems, which Yale University Press published in 1975. It has been included in the Victorian Web with the kind permission of the author, who of course retains copyright.

Them is something close to mere melancholy in "Mariana in the South," which is certainly not just "Mariana" transplanted to southern France. The. religious emphasis, particularly at the end, gives the poem a kind of grim upbeat, which changes the refrain and dissolves the ironic tension; " the night comes on that knows not murn, / When I shall ccasc to be all alone, / To live forgotten, and love forlorn" (ll. 94-96). I am not suggesting that this pathetic longing for death leads to comedy, but it does allow us to relax from irony into the easy, masked self-pity of melancholy.


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Last modified: 28 March 2001