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Maud,  and  Other  Poems 

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Alfred,  Lord  Tennyson 

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Surely  everyone  knows  “Maud”?  Isn’t  that  the  Victorian  love  song,  where  the  man  waits 

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by  the  garden  gate  for  his  lover  to  appear  for  a  secret  rendezvous?  Well,  that  may  be 

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the  song,  but  Tennyson’s  poem  is  longer  and  very  much  darker.  It  deals  not  with  love 

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but  with  the  obsession  of  an  unstable  young  man  with  the  seventeen-year-old  Maud, 

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and  his  gradual  descent  into  madness.  The  poem’s  narrator  has  been  excluded  from 

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an  evening  ball  being  held  at  Maud’s  home,  The  Hall,  and  has  climbed  into  her  garden 

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uninvited,  convincing  himself  by  a  misreading  the  Language  of  Flowers  that  she  has 

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sent  him  a  love-token  in  the  form  of  a  rose  blossom.  After  the  guests  have  left,  Maud 

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and  her  brother  step  out  into  the  dawn,  and  soon  the  brother  is  lying  mortally  wounded 

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at  the  narrator’s  hand.  He  flees  abroad,  and  later  loses  his  reason  after  hearing  of 

Maud’s  own  death.  Finally,  the  narrator  insists  that  he  has  at  last  recovered  from  his 

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“old  hysterical  mock-disease”  and  has  awakened  to  a  better  mind,  fighting  for  his 

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country  in  the  Crimean  War.  But  can  he  be  believed?  Many  early  reviewers  took  the 

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narrator  as  stating  the  poet's  own  views  on  war,  but  Tennyson  himself  responded  that 

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he  would  hardly  have  chosen  a  narrator  with  an  "hereditary  vein  of  insanity"  to 

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represent  his  personal  opinions.  The  collection  includes  several  other  well-known 

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Tennyson  poems,  including  “The  Brook,  an  Idyl”,  and  “The  Charge  of  the  Light 

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Brigade”.  (Summary  by  Michael  Maggs) 

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Read  by  Michael  Maggs.  Total  running  time:  02:19:21 

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This  recording  is  in  the  public  domain  and  may  be  reproduced,  distributed,  or  modified 

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without  permission.  For  more  information  or  to  volunteer,  visit  librivox.org. 

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Cover  image  by  Eleanor  Fortescue-Brickdale  (1872-1945)  "Maud  is  only  seventeen"  (1919). 
Copyright  expired  in  US,  Canada,  EU,  and  all  countries  with  author’s  life  +70  yrs  laws  Cover 
design  by  TriciaG.  This  design  is  in  the  public  domain. 

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