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Short poem

Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

The Higher Pantheism

              1The sun, the moon, the stars, the seas, the hills and the plains,-
              2Are not these, O Soul, the Vision of Him who reigns?

              3Is not the Vision He, tho' He be not that which He seems?
              4Dreams are true while they last, and do we not live in dreams?

              5Earth, these solid stars, this weight of body and limb,
              6Are they not sign and symbol of thy division from Him?

              7Dark is the world to thee; thyself art the reason why,
              8For is He not all but thou, that hast power to feel "I am I"?

              9Glory about thee, without thee; and thou fulfillest thy doom,
            10Making Him broken gleams and a stifled splendour and gloom.

            11Speak to Him, thou, for He hears, and Spirit with Spirit can meet-
            12Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet.

            13God is law, say the wise; O soul, and let us rejoice,
            14For if He thunder by law the thunder is yet His voice.

            15Law is God, say some; no God at all, says the fool,
            16For all we have power to see is a straight staff bent in a pool;

            17And the ear of man cannot hear, and the eye of man cannot see;
            18But if we could see and hear, this Vision-were it not He?

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Alfred Lord Tennyson, Works (London: Macmillan, 1891). tenn T366 A1 1891a (Fisher Library).
First publication date: 1869
RPO poem editor: W. J. Alexander, William Hall Clawson
RP edition: RP (1916), pp. 352-53; RPO 1997.
Recent editing: 2:2002/1/10

Form: couplets

Other poems by Alfred Lord Tennyson