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Short poem

Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

In Memoriam A. H. H. OBIIT MDCCCXXXIII: 11

              1Calm is the morn without a sound,
              2      Calm as to suit a calmer grief,
              3      And only thro' the faded leaf
              4The chestnut pattering to the ground:

              5Calm and deep peace on this high wold,
              6      And on these dews that drench the furze.
              7      And all the silvery gossamers
              8That twinkle into green and gold:

              9Calm and still light on yon great plain
            10      That sweeps with all its autumn bowers,
            11      And crowded farms and lessening towers,
            12To mingle with the bounding main:

            13Calm and deep peace in this wide air,
            14      These leaves that redden to the fall;
            15      And in my heart, if calm at all,
            16If any calm, a calm despair:

            17Calm on the seas, and silver sleep,
            18      And waves that sway themselves in rest,
            19      And dead calm in that noble breast
            20Which heaves but with the heaving deep.


1] First published anonymously in the volume with this title in 1850, though the 131 sections or separate poems that compose it were written and rewritten from 1833 to the time of publication. Two of the 131 sections were added in later editions: LIX in 1851, and XXXIX in 1872. The poem is in memory of Tennyson's friend Arthur Henry Hallam, son of the eminent historian. Hallam was engaged to marry Tennyson's sister Emily, when he died suddenly of a stroke in Vienna on September 15, 1833, at the age of twenty-two. Although written without any plan at first, the parts of the poem were finally arranged in a pattern to cover the period of about three years following Hallam's death. Tennyson himself insisted that it is "a poem, not a biography .... The different moods of sorrow as in a drama are dramatically given, and my conviction that fear, doubts, and suffering will find answer and relief only through Faith in a God of Love. `I' is not always the author speaking of himself, but the voice of the human race speaking through him."
OBIIT MDCCCXXXIII: he died in 1833.

19] noble breast: Hallam's body being brought overseas for burial in England.

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, In Memoriam (London: E. Moxon, 1850). PR 5562 A1 1850 Victoria College Library (Toronto). Alfred lord Tennyson, Works (London: Macmillan, 1891). tenn T366 A1 1891a Fisher Rare Book Library (Toronto).
First publication date: 1850
RPO poem editor: H. M. McLuhan
RP edition: 3RP 3.63.
Recent editing: 2:2002/2/14

Rhyme: abba

Other poems by Alfred Lord Tennyson