Alfred, Lord Tennyson which we should think of as both the "for-reals" Tennyson of the Victorian period, but also as the fictionalized speaker of the poem wallows in his grief over losing his dear friend Arthur, who has died of a brain hemorrhage at the tragically young age of While doing so, he falls into a sort of existential crisis in which he contemplates man's place in the vast universe, which is created by either God, or maybe a more uncaring, cold Nature.
Of course, that's understandable. Tennyson's also responding to some pretty heavy-duty cultural upheavals of his time, like the newly-circulating Theory of Evolution thanks, Darwin and the rise of industrialism. In Memoriam , which was first published anonymously in , is considered one of the greatest poems of the nineteenth century and probably one of the greatest poems ever , by one of the greatest poets of the English language: Alfred, Lord Tennyson. When they start handing out titles like "Lord," we know they're not playing around.
Lest you doubt Al's street cred as a wordsmith, he was named Poet Laureate of England right after Wordsworth, so his stuff's the real deal. Don't take our word for it, though, Shmoopers. Read on…. Be near me when my faith is dry, And men the flies of latter spring, That lay their eggs, and sting and sing And weave their petty cells and die.
Be near me when I fade away, To point the term of human strife, And on the low dark verge of life The twilight of eternal day. Oh yet we trust that somehow good Will be the final goal of ill, To pangs of nature, sins of will, Defects of doubt, and taints of blood;. Behold, we know not anything; I can but trust that good shall fall At last—far off—at last, to all, And every winter change to spring. So runs my dream: but what am I? An infant crying in the night: An infant crying for the light: And with no language but a cry.
Tennyson, Alfred Lord: In Memoriam A.H.H.
The wish, that of the living whole No life may fail beyond the grave, Derives it not from what we have The likest God within the soul ? Are God and Nature then at strife, That Nature lends such evil dreams?
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That I, considering everywhere Her secret meaning in her deeds, And finding that of fifty seeds She often brings but one to bear,. I stretch lame hands of faith, and grope, And gather dust and chaff, and call To what I feel is Lord of all, And faintly trust the larger hope .
No more? A monster then, a dream, A discord. O life as futile, then, as frail! O for thy voice to soothe and bless!
What hope of answer, or redress? Behind the veil, behind the veil. O Sorrow, wilt thou live with me No casual mistress, but a wife, My bosom-friend and half of life; As I confess it needs must be;. O Sorrow, wilt thou rule my blood, Be sometimes lovely like a bride, And put thy harsher moods aside, If thou wilt have me wise and good. When on my bed the moonlight falls, I know that in thy place of rest By that broad water of the west  , There comes a glory on the walls;. The mystic glory swims away; From off my bed the moonlight dies; And closing eaves of wearied eyes I sleep till dusk is dipt in gray;.
And then I know the mist is drawn A lucid veil from coast to coast, And in the dark church like a ghost Thy tablet glimmers to the dawn. Risest thou thus, dim dawn, again  , And howlest, issuing out of night, With blasts that blow the poplar white, And lash with storm the streaming pane? Who usherest in the dolorous hour With thy quick tears that make the rose Pull sideways, and the daisy close Her crimson fringes to the shower;.
And up thy vault with roaring sound Climb thy thick noon, disastrous day; Touch thy dull goal of joyless gray, And hide thy shame beneath the ground. No single tear, no mark of pain: O sorrow, then can sorrow wane? O grief, can grief be changed to less? O last regret, regret can die!
No—mixt with all this mystic frame, Her deep relations are the same, But with long use her tears are dry. If any vague desire should rise, That holy Death ere Arthur died Had moved me kindly from his side, And dropt the dust on tearless eyes;. I make a picture in the brain; I hear the sentence that he speaks; He bears the burthen of the weeks But turns his burthen into gain.
His credit thus shall set me free; And, influence-rich to soothe and save, Unused example from the grave Reach out dead hands to comfort me. Sweet after showers  , ambrosial air, That rollest from the gorgeous gloom Of evening over brake and bloom And meadow, slowly breathing bare.
The fever from my cheek, and sigh The full new life that feeds thy breath Throughout my frame, till Doubt and Death, Ill brethren, let the fancy fly. Witch-elms that counterchange the floor Of this flat lawn with dusk and bright; And thou, with all thy breadth and height Of foliage, towering sycamore;. How often, hither wandering down, My Arthur found your shadows fair, And shook to all the liberal air The dust and din and steam of town:.
He brought an eye for all he saw; He mixt in all our simple sports; They pleased him, fresh from brawling courts And dusty purlieus of the law . O sound to rout the brood of cares, The sweep of scythe in morning dew, The gust that round the garden flew, And tumbled half the mellowing pears! Or in the all-golden afternoon A guest, or happy sister, sung, Or here she brought the harp and flung A ballad to the brightening moon:. Nor less it pleased in livelier moods, Beyond the bounding hill to stray, And break the livelong summer day With banquet in the distant woods;.
And brushing ankle-deep in flowers, We heard behind the woodbine veil The milk that bubbled in the pail, And buzzings of the honied hours. I shall not see thee. No visual shade of some one lost, But he, the Spirit himself, may come Where all the nerve of sense is numb; Spirit to Spirit, Ghost to Ghost. O, therefore from thy sightless range With gods in unconjectured bliss, O, from the distance of the abyss Of tenfold-complicated change,.
Tennyson’s Poems “In Memoriam A.H.H.” Summary and Analysis | GradeSaver
Descend, and touch, and enter; hear The wish too strong for words to name; That in this blindness of the frame My Ghost may feel that thine is near. In vain shalt thou, or any, call The spirits from their golden day, Except, like them, thou too canst say, My spirit is at peace with all.
They haunt the silence of the breast, Imaginations calm and fair, The memory like a cloudless air, The conscience as a sea at rest:. But when the heart is full of din, And doubt beside the portal waits, They can but listen at the gates And hear the household jar within. But when those others, one by one, Withdrew themselves from me and night, And in the house light after light Went out, and I was all alone,. Vague words! You say, but with no touch of scorn, Sweet-hearted, you, whose light-blue eyes Are tender over drowning flies, You tell me, doubt is Devil-born.
Perplext in faith, but pure in deeds, At last he beat his music out. There lives more faith in honest doubt, Believe me, than in half the creeds.
To find a stronger faith his own; And Power was with him in the night, Which makes the darkness and the light, And dwells not in the light alone,. Risest thou thus, dim dawn, again  , So loud with voices of the birds, So thick with lowings of the herds, Day, when I lost the flower of men;.
Who murmurest in the foliaged eaves A song that slights the coming care, And Autumn laying here and there A fiery finger on the leaves;.
Who wakenest with thy balmy breath To myriads on the genial earth, Memories of bridal, or of birth, And unto myriads more, of death. O, wheresoever those may be, Betwixt the slumber of the poles, To-day they count as kindred souls; They know me not, but mourn with me. A single peal of bells below, That wakens at this hour of rest A single murmur in the breast, That these are not the bells I know .
No more shall wayward grief abuse The genial hour with mask and mime, For change of place, like growth of time, Has broke the bond of dying use. Let cares that petty shadows cast, By which our lives are chiefly proved, A little spare the night I loved, And hold it solemn to the past. Of rising worlds by yonder wood.
Long sleeps the summer in the seed; Run out your measured arcs, and lead The closing cycle rich in good. Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky, The flying cloud, the frosty light: The year is dying in the night; Ring out, wild bells, and let him die . Ring out the old, ring in the new, Ring, happy bells, across the snow: The year is going, let him go; Ring out the false, ring in the true. Ring out the grief that saps the mind, For those that here we see no more; Ring out the feud of rich and poor, Ring in redress to all mankind. Ring out a slowly dying cause, And ancient forms of party strife; Ring in the nobler modes of life, With sweeter manners, purer laws.
Ring out the want, the care, the sin, The faithless coldness of the times; Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes, But ring the fuller minstrel in. Ring out false pride in place and blood, The civic slander and the spite; Ring in the love of truth and right, Ring in the common love of good.
Ring out old shapes of foul disease; Ring out the narrowing lust of gold; Ring out the thousand wars of old, Ring in the thousand years of peace. Ring in the valiant man and free, The larger heart, the kindlier hand; Ring out the darkness of the land, Ring in the Christ that is to be. It is the day when he was born  , A bitter day that early sank Behind a purple-frosty bank Of vapour, leaving night forlorn.
The time admits not flowers or leaves To deck the banquet. And bristles all the brakes and thorns To yon hard crescent, as she hangs Above the wood which grides and clangs Its leafless ribs and iron horns. Together, in the drifts that pass To darken on the rolling brine That breaks the coast.
In Memoriam A.
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In Memoriam combines the expression of a deeply personal experience of intense male friendship and mourning with discussions of public concerns, including major debates of the day about science and religion.