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Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

In Memoriam A. H. H. OBIIT MDCCCXXXIII: 78


              1Again at Christmas did we weave
              2      The holly round the Christmas hearth;
              3      The silent snow possess'd the earth,
              4And calmly fell our Christmas-eve:

              5The yule-log sparkled keen with frost,
              6      No wing of wind the region swept,
              7      But over all things brooding slept
              8The quiet sense of something lost.

              9As in the winters left behind,
            10      Again our ancient games had place,
            11      The mimic picture's breathing grace,
            12And dance and song and hoodman-blind.

            13Who show'd a token of distress?
            14      No single tear, no mark of pain:
            15      O sorrow, then can sorrow wane?
            16O grief, can grief be changed to less?

            17O last regret, regret can die!
            18      No--mixt with all this mystic frame,
            19      Her deep relations are the same,
            20But with long use her tears are dry.

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.
warder: the Yew tree of lyric II.


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 Rare Book Library (Toronto).
First publication date: 1872
RPO poem editor: H. M. McLuhan
RP edition: 3RP 3.69.
Recent editing: 2:2002/2/14

Rhyme: abba


Other poems by Alfred Lord Tennyson