In Memoriam
Alfred Tennyson




I. through XX.

XXI.through XLI

XLI through LX.

LXI through LXXX.

LXXXI through C.

CI through CXX.

CXXI through CXXXI.

Poets' Corner Scripting
© 2000, 2020 S.L. Spanoudis and
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Transcribed for Poets' Corner
March 2000 by S.L.Spanoudis

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Alfred Tennyson

[Arthur Hugh Hallam]

by Alfred, Lord Tennyson


      Unwatch'd, the garden bough shall sway,
      The tender blossom flutter down,
      Unloved, that beech will gather brown,
      This maple burn itself away;

      Unloved, the sun-flower, shining fair,
      Ray round with flames her disk of seed,
      And many a rose-carnation feed
      With summer spice the humming air;

      Unloved, by many a sandy bar,
      The brook shall babble down the plain,
      At noon or when the lesser wain
      Is twisting round the polar star;

      Uncared for, gird the windy grove,
      And flood the haunts of hern and crake;
      Or into silver arrows break
      The sailing moon in creek and cove;

      Till from the garden and the wild
      A fresh association blow,
      And year by year the landscape grow
      Familiar to the stranger's child;

      As year by year the labourer tills
      His wonted glebe, or lops the glades;
      And year by year our memory fades
      From all the circle of the hills.


      We leave the well-beloved place
      Where first we gazed upon the sky;
      The roofs, that heard our earliest cry,
      Will shelter one of stranger race.

      We go, but ere we go from home,
      As down the garden-walks I move,
      Two spirits of a diverse love
      Contend for loving masterdom.

      One whispers, 'Here thy boyhood sung
      Long since its matin song, and heard
      The low love-language of the bird
      In native hazels tassel-hung.'

      The other answers, 'Yea, but here
      Thy feet have stray'd in after hours
      With thy lost friend among the bowers,
      And this hath made them trebly dear.'

      These two have striven half the day,
      And each prefers his separate claim,
      Poor rivals in a losing game,
      That will not yield each other way.

      I turn to go: my feet are set
      To leave the pleasant fields and farms;
      They mix in one another's arms
      To one pure image of regret.


      On that last night before we went
      From out the doors where I was bred,
      I dream'd a vision of the dead,
      Which left my after-morn content.
      Methought I dwelt within a hall,
      And maidens with me: distant hills
      From hidden summits fed with rills
      A river sliding by the wall.

      The hall with harp and carol rang.
      They sang of what is wise and good
      And graceful. In the centre stood
      A statue veil'd, to which they sang;

      And which, tho' veil'd, was known to me,
      The shape of him I loved, and love
      For ever: then flew in a dove
      And brought a summons from the sea:

      And when they learnt that I must go
      They wept and wail'd, but led the way
      To where a little shallop lay
      At anchor in the flood below;

      And on by many a level mead,
      And shadowing bluff that made the banks,
      We glided winding under ranks
      Of iris, and the golden reed;

      And still as vaster grew the shore
      And roll'd the floods in grander space,
      The maidens gather'd strength and grace
      And presence, lordlier than before;

      And I myself, who sat apart
      And watch'd them, wax'd in every limb;
      I felt the thews of Anakim,
      The pulses of a Titan's heart;

      As one would sing the death of war,
      And one would chant the history
      Of that great race, which is to be,
      And one the shaping of a star;

      Until the forward-creeping tides
      Began to foam, and we to draw
      From deep to deep, to where we saw
      A great ship lift her shining sides.

      The man we loved was there on deck,
      But thrice as large as man he bent
      To greet us. Up the side I went,
      And fell in silence on his neck:

      Whereat those maidens with one mind
      Bewail'd their lot; I did them wrong:
      'We served thee here' they said, 'so long,
      And wilt thou leave us now behind?'

      So rapt I was, they could not win
      An answer from my lips, but he
      Replying, 'Enter likewise ye
      And go with us:' they enter'd in.

      And while the wind began to sweep
      A music out of sheet and shroud,
      We steer'd her toward a crimson cloud
      That landlike slept along the deep.


      The time draws near the birth of Christ;
      The moon is hid, the night is still;
      A single church below the hill
      Is pealing, folded in the mist.

      A single peal of bells below,
      That wakens at this hour of rest
      A single murmur in the breast,
      That these are not the bells I know.

      Like strangers' voices here they sound,
      In lands where not a memory strays,
      Nor landmark breathes of other days,
      But all is new unhallow'd ground.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


      Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
      The flying cloud, the frosty light:
      The year is dying in the night;
      Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

      Ring out the old, ring in the new,
      Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
      The year is going, let him go;
      Ring out the false, ring in the true.

      Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
      For those that here we see no more;
      Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
      Ring in redress to all mankind.

      Ring out a slowly dying cause,
      And ancient forms of party strife;
      Ring in the nobler modes of life,
      With sweeter manners, purer laws.

      Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
      The faithless coldness of the times;
      Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
      But ring the fuller minstrel in.

      Ring out false pride in place and blood,
      The civic slander and the spite;
      Ring in the love of truth and right,
      Ring in the common love of good.

      Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
      Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
      Ring out the thousand wars of old,
      Ring in the thousand years of peace.

      Ring in the valiant man and free,
      The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
      Ring out the darkness of the land,
      Ring in the Christ that is to be.


      It is the day when he was born,
      A bitter day that early sank
      Behind a purple-frosty bank
      Of vapour, leaving night forlorn.

      The time admits not flowers or leaves
      To deck the banquet. Fiercely flies
      The blast of North and East, and ice
      Makes daggers at the sharpen'd eaves,

      And bristles all the brakes and thorns
      To yon hard crescent, as she hangs
      Above the wood which grides and clangs
      Its leafless ribs and iron horns

      Together, in the drifts that pass
      To darken on the rolling brine
      That breaks the coast. But fetch the wine,
      Arrange the board and brim the glass;

      Bring in great logs and let them lie,
      To make a solid core of heat;
      Be cheerful-minded, talk and treat
      Of all things ev'n as he were by;

      We keep the day. With festal cheer,
      With books and music, surely we
      Will drink to him, whate'er he be,
      And sing the songs he loved to hear.


      I will not shut me from my kind,
      And, lest I stiffen into stone,
      I will not eat my heart alone,
      Nor feed with sighs a passing wind:

      What profit lies in barren faith,
      And vacant yearning, tho' with might
      To scale the heaven's highest height,
      Or dive below the wells of Death?

      What find I in the highest place,
      But mine own phantom chanting hymns?
      And on the depths of death there swims
      The reflex of a human face.

      I'll rather take what fruit may be
      Of sorrow under human skies:
      'Tis held that sorrow makes us wise,
      Whatever wisdom sleep with thee.


      Heart-affluence in discursive talk
      From household fountains never dry;
      The critic clearness of an eye,
      That saw thro' all the Muses' walk;

      Seraphic intellect and force
      To seize and throw the doubts of man;
      Impassion'd logic, which outran
      The hearer in its fiery course;

      High nature amorous of the good,
      But touch'd with no ascetic gloom;
      And passion pure in snowy bloom
      Thro' all the years of April blood;

      A love of freedom rarely felt,
      Of freedom in her regal seat
      Of England; not the schoolboy heat,
      The blind hysterics of the Celt;

      And manhood fused with female grace
      In such a sort, the child would twine
      A trustful hand, unask'd, in thine,
      And find his comfort in thy face;

      All these have been, and thee mine eyes
      Have look'd on: if they look'd in vain,
      My shame is greater who remain,
      Nor let thy wisdom make me wise.


      Thy converse drew us with delight,
      The men of rathe and riper years:
      The feeble soul, a haunt of fears,
      Forgot his weakness in thy sight.

      On thee the loyal-hearted hung,
      The proud was half disarm'd of pride,
      Nor cared the serpent at thy side
      To flicker with his double tongue.

      The stern were mild when thou wert by,
      The flippant put himself to school
      And heard thee, and the brazen fool
      Was soften'd, and he knew not why;

      While I, thy nearest, sat apart,
      And felt thy triumph was as mine;
      And loved them more, that they were thine,
      The graceful tact, the Christian art;

      Nor mine the sweetness or the skill,
      But mine the love that will not tire,
      And, born of love, the vague desire
      That spurs an imitative will.


      The churl in spirit, up or down
      Along the scale of ranks, thro' all,
      To him who grasps a golden ball,
      By blood a king, at heart a clown;

      The churl in spirit, howe'er he veil
      His want in forms for fashion's sake,
      Will let his coltish nature break
      At seasons thro' the gilded pale:

      For who can always act? but he,
      To whom a thousand memories call,
      Not being less but more than all
      The gentleness he seem'd to be,

      Best seem'd the thing he was, and join'd
      Each office of the social hour
      To noble manners, as the flower
      And native growth of noble mind;

      Nor ever narrowness or spite,
      Or villain fancy fleeting by,
      Drew in the expression of an eye,
      Where God and Nature met in light;

      And thus he bore without abuse
      The grand old name of gentleman,
      Defamed by every charlatan,
      And soil'd with all ignoble use.


      High wisdom holds my wisdom less,
      That I, who gaze with temperate eyes
      On glorious insufficiencies,
      Set light by narrower perfectness.

      But thou, that fillest all the room
      Of all my love, art reason why
      I seem to cast a careless eye
      On souls, the lesser lords of doom.

      For what wert thou? some novel power
      Sprang up for ever at a touch,
      And hope could never hope too much,
      In watching thee from hour to hour,

      Large elements in order brought,
      And tracts of calm from tempest made,
      And world-wide fluctuation sway'd
      In vassal tides that follow'd thought.


      'Tis held that sorrow makes us wise;
      Yet how much wisdom sleeps with thee
      Which not alone had guided me,
      But served the seasons that may rise;

      For can I doubt, who knew thee keen
      In intellect, with force and skill
      To strive, to fashion, to fulfil-
      I doubt not what thou wouldst have been:

      A life in civic action warm,
      A soul on highest mission sent,
      A potent voice of Parliament,
      A pillar steadfast in the storm,

      Should licensed boldness gather force,
      Becoming, when the time has birth,
      A lever to uplift the earth
      And roll it in another course,

      With thousand shocks that come and go,
      With agonies, with energies,
      With overthrowings, and with cries,
      And undulations to and fro.


      Who loves not Knowledge? Who shall rail
      Against her beauty? May she mix
      With men and prosper! Who shall fix
      Her pillars? Let her work prevail.

      But on her forehead sits a fire:
      She sets her forward countenance
      And leaps into the future chance,
      Submitting all things to desire.

      Half-grown as yet, a child, and vain-
      She cannot fight the fear of death.
      What is she, cut from love and faith,
      But some wild Pallas from the brain

      Of Demons? fiery-hot to burst
      All barriers in her onward race
      For power. Let her know her place;
      She is the second, not the first.

      A higher hand must make her mild,
      If all be not in vain; and guide
      Her footsteps, moving side by side
      With wisdom, like the younger child:

      For she is earthly of the mind,
      But Wisdom heavenly of the soul.
      O, friend, who camest to thy goal
      So early, leaving me behind,

      I would the great world grew like thee,
      Who grewest not alone in power
      And knowledge, but by year and hour
      In reverence and in charity.


      Now fades the last long streak of snow,
      Now burgeons every maze of quick
      About the flowering squares, and thick
      By ashen roots the violets blow.

      Now rings the woodland loud and long,
      The distance takes a lovelier hue,
      And drown'd in yonder living blue
      The lark becomes a sightless song.

      Now dance the lights on lawn and lea,
      The flocks are whiter down the vale,
      And milkier every milky sail
      On winding stream or distant sea;

      Where now the seamew pipes, or dives
      In yonder greening gleam, and fly
      The happy birds, that change their sky
      To build and brood; that live their lives

      From land to land; and in my breast
      Spring wakens too; and my regret
      Becomes an April violet,
      And buds and blossoms like the rest.


      Is it, then, regret for buried time
      That keenlier in sweet April wakes,
      And meets the year, and gives and takes
      The colours of the crescent prime?

      Not all: the songs, the stirring air,
      The life re-orient out of dust,
      Cry thro' the sense to hearten trust
      In that which made the world so fair.

      Not all regret: the face will shine
      Upon me, while I muse alone;
      And that dear voice, I once have known,
      Still speak to me of me and mine:

      Yet less of sorrow lives in me
      For days of happy commune dead;
      Less yearning for the friendship fled,
      Than some strong bond which is to be.


      O days and hours, your work is this
      To hold me from my proper place,
      A little while from his embrace
      For fuller gain of after bliss:

      That out of distance might ensue
      Desire of nearness doubly sweet;
      And unto meeting when we meet,
      Delight a hundredfold accrue,

      For every grain of sand that runs,
      And every span of shade that steals,
      And every kiss of toothed wheels,
      And all the courses of the suns.


      Contemplate all this work of Time,
      The giant labouring in his youth;
      Nor dream of human love and truth,

      As dying Nature's earth and lime;
      But trust that those we call the dead
      Are breathers of an ampler day
      For ever nobler ends. They say,
      The solid earth whereon we tread

      In tracts of fluent heat began,
      And grew to seeming-random forms,
      The seeming prey of cyclic storms,
      Till at the last arose the man;

      Who throve and branch'd from clime to clime,
      The herald of a higher race,
      And of himself in higher place,
      If so he type this work of time

      Within himself, from more to more;
      Or, crown'd with attributes of woe
      Like glories, move his course, and show
      That life is not as idle ore,

      But iron dug from central gloom,
      And heated hot with burning fears,
      And dipt in baths of hissing tears,
      And batter'd with the shocks of doom

      To shape and use. Arise and fly
      The reeling Faun, the sensual feast;
      Move upward, working out the beast,
      And let the ape and tiger die.


      Doors, where my heart was used to beat
      So quickly, not as one that weeps
      I come once more; the city sleeps;
      I smell the meadow in the street;

      I hear a chirp of birds; I see
      Betwixt the black fronts long-withdrawn
      A light-blue lane of early dawn,
      And think of early days and thee,

      And bless thee, for thy lips are bland,
      And bright the friendship of thine eye;
      And in my thoughts with scarce a sigh
      I take the pressure of thine hand.


      I trust I have not wasted breath:
      I think we are not wholly brain,
      Magnetic mockeries; not in vain,
      Like Paul with beasts, I fought with Death;

      Not only cunning casts in clay:
      Let Science prove we are, and then
      What matters Science unto men,
      At least to me? I would not stay.

      Let him, the wiser man who springs
      Hereafter, up from childhood shape
      His action like the greater ape,
      But I was born to other things.

    to Verse CXXI.

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