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Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

In Memoriam A. H. H. OBIIT MDCCCXXXIII: 22


              1The path by which we twain did go,
              2      Which led by tracts that pleased us well,
              3      Thro' four sweet years arose and fell,
              4From flower to flower, from snow to snow:

              5And we with singing cheer'd the way,
              6      And, crown'd with all the season lent,
              7      From April on to April went,
              8And glad at heart from May to May:

              9But where the path we walk'd began
            10      To slant the fifth autumnal slope,
            11      As we descended following Hope,
            12There sat the Shadow fear'd of man;

            13Who broke our fair companionship,
            14      And spread his mantle dark and cold,
            15      And wrapt thee formless in the fold,
            16And dull'd the murmur on thy lip,

            17And bore thee where I could not see
            18      Nor follow, tho' I walk in haste,
            19      And think, that somewhere in the waste
            20The Shadow sits and waits for me.

Notes

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.

3] four sweet years: Tennyson met Hallam at Cambridge in 1828.


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 3.64.
Recent editing: 2:2002/2/14

Rhyme: abba


Other poems by Alfred Lord Tennyson