Note 9 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.
It is interesting to note that there was in the first version (1832) of Tennyson's poem a sort of undeveloped moral point that could have given some stability:
In every land I thought that, more or less,
The stronger sterner nature overbore
The softer, uncontrolled by gentleness
And selfish evermore:
And whether them were any means whereby,
In some far aftertime, the gentler mind
Might reassume its just and full degree
Of rule among mankind.
Tennyson dropped these lines in later editions.
Last modified: 28 March 2001