This tender illustration represents the line, 'I sleep so sound all night, mother'(page 7). The image combines several signs of contentment and rest, notably the tiny slippers, floral accessories (lilies of the valley), and a sleeping cat on the chair (which is poorly engraved and difficult to discern); the caged bird, often a symbol of female confinement in Victorian painting, further acts in this context to suggest a willingness to be contentedly restricted in a social role. At the same time, the opened door is a proleptic sign of her forthcoming demise, and represents the idea that the soul has been free to escape its earthly bounds. 3 x 4 inches. Wood engraving, cut by Horace Harral. [Click on image to enlarge it.]

Scanned image and text by Simon Cooke. You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned it and (2) link to this URL in a web document or cite it in a print one.


Tennyson, Alfred. The May Queen. London: Sampson Low, 1861.

Created 20 June 2020