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Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

In Memoriam A. H. H. OBIIT MDCCCXXXIII: 105


              1To-night ungather'd let us leave
              2      This laurel, let this holly stand:
              3      We live within the stranger's land,
              4And strangely falls our Christmas-eve.

              5Our father's dust is left alone
              6      And silent under other snows:
              7      There in due time the woodbine blows,
              8The violet comes, but we are gone.

              9No more shall wayward grief abuse
            10      The genial hour with mask and mime;
            11      For change of place, like growth of time,
            12Has broke the bond of dying use.

            13Let cares that petty shadows cast,
            14      By which our lives are chiefly proved,
            15      A little spare the night I loved,
            16And hold it solemn to the past.

            17But let no footstep beat the floor,
            18      Nor bowl of wassail mantle warm;
            19      For who would keep an ancient form
            20Thro' which the spirit breathes no more?

            21Be neither song, nor game, nor feast;
            22      Nor harp be touch'd, nor flute be blown;
            23      No dance, no motion, save alone
            24What lightens in the lucid east

            25Of rising worlds by yonder wood.
            26      Long sleeps the summer in the seed;
            27      Run out your measured arcs, and lead
            28The closing cycle rich in good.

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.


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 3.74.
Recent editing: 2:2002/2/14

Rhyme: abba


Other poems by Alfred Lord Tennyson