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Short poem

Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

In Memoriam A. H. H. OBIIT MDCCCXXXIII: 99

              1Risest thou thus, dim dawn, again,
              2      So loud with voices of the birds,
              3      So thick with lowings of the herds,
              4Day, when I lost the flower of men;

              5Who tremblest thro' thy darkling red
              6      On yon swoll'n brook that bubbles fast
              7      By meadows breathing of the past,
              8And woodlands holy to the dead;

              9Who murmurest in the foliaged eaves
            10      A song that slights the coming care,
            11      And Autumn laying here and there
            12A fiery finger on the leaves;

            13Who wakenest with thy balmy breath
            14      To myriads on the genial earth,
            15      Memories of bridal, or of birth,
            16And unto myriads more, of death.

            17O wheresoever those may be,
            18      Betwixt the slumber of the poles,
            19      To-day they count as kindred souls;
            20They know me not, but mourn with me.


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.

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 3.73.
Recent editing: 2:2002/2/14

Rhyme: abba

Other poems by Alfred Lord Tennyson