"Rich In Saving Common Sense"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: This funeral ode to Wellington, the great English soldier whose armies defeated Napoleon I near Waterloo, attempts to portray the man as well as the leader. Tennyson calls him "The last great Englishman," for he had the noblest qualities of mind and of heart and gave all of his great abilities to the service of his country. His passing is a national tragedy: "our chief state-oracle is mute"; his was "the voice from which their omens all men drew. . . ." But for those who knew him, the loss is of a rare man who never let position and power overcome his perspective or sense of values. He was

of amplest influence,
Yet clearest of ambitious crime,
Our greatest yet with least pretence,
Great in council and great in war,
Foremost captain of his time,
Rich in saving common-sense,
And, as the greatest only are,
In his simplicity sublime.