H O M E

In Memoriam
by
Alfred Tennyson

(1849)

Verses:


Preface.

I. through XX.

XXI.through XLI

XLI through LX.

LXI through LXXX.

LXXXI through C.

CI through CXX.

CXXI through CXXXI.




Poets' Corner Scripting
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Transcribed for Poets' Corner
March 2000 by S.L.Spanoudis



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Alfred Tennyson
IN MEMORIAM A.H.H.

[Arthur Hugh Hallam]
OBIIT MDCCCXXXIII.

by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

         LXXXI.

      Could I have said while he was here,
      'My love shall now no further range;
      There cannot come a mellower change,
      For now is love mature in ear.'

      Love, then, had hope of richer store:
      What end is here to my complaint?
      This haunting whisper makes me faint,
      'More years had made me love thee more.'

      But Death returns an answer sweet:
      'My sudden frost was sudden gain,
      And gave all ripeness to the grain,
      It might have drawn from after-heat.'

         LXXXII.

      I wage not any feud with Death
      For changes wrought on form and face;
      No lower life that earth's embrace
      May breed with him, can fright my faith.

      Eternal process moving on,
      From state to state the spirit walks;
      And these are but the shatter'd stalks,
      Or ruin'd chrysalis of one.

      Nor blame I Death, because he bare
      The use of virtue out of earth:
      I know transplanted human worth
      Will bloom to profit, otherwhere.

      For this alone on Death I wreak
      The wrath that garners in my heart;
      He put our lives so far apart
      We cannot hear each other speak.

         LXXXIII.

      Dip down upon the northern shore,
      O sweet new-year delaying long;
      Thou doest expectant nature wrong;
      Delaying long, delay no more.

      What stays thee from the clouded noons,
      Thy sweetness from its proper place?
      Can trouble live with April days,
      Or sadness in the summer moons?

      Bring orchis, bring the foxglove spire,
      The little speedwell's darling blue,
      Deep tulips dash'd with fiery dew,
      Laburnums, dropping-wells of fire.

      O thou, new-year, delaying long,
      Delayest the sorrow in my blood,
      That longs to burst a frozen bud
      And flood a fresher throat with song.

         LXXXIV.

      When I contemplate all alone
      The life that had been thine below,
      And fix my thoughts on all the glow
      To which thy crescent would have grown;

      I see thee sitting crown'd with good,
      A central warmth diffusing bliss
      In glance and smile, and clasp and kiss,
      On all the branches of thy blood;

      Thy blood, my friend, and partly mine;
      For now the day was drawing on,
      When thou should'st link thy life with one
      Of mine own house, and boys of thine

      Had babbled 'Uncle' on my knee;
      But that remorseless iron hour
      Made cypress of her orange flower,
      Despair of Hope, and earth of thee.

      I seem to meet their least desire,
      To clap their cheeks, to call them mine.
      I see their unborn faces shine
      Beside the never-lighted fire.

      I see myself an honour'd guest,
      Thy partner in the flowery walk
      Of letters, genial table-talk,
      Or deep dispute, and graceful jest;

      While now thy prosperous labour fills
      The lips of men with honest praise,
      And sun by sun the happy days
      Descend below the golden hills

      With promise of a morn as fair;
      And all the train of bounteous hours
      Conduct by paths of growing powers,
      To reverence and the silver hair;

      Till slowly worn her earthly robe,
      Her lavish mission richly wrought,
      Leaving great legacies of thought,
      Thy spirit should fail from off the globe;

      What time mine own might also flee,
      As link'd with thine in love and fate,
      And, hovering o'er the dolorous strait
      To the other shore, involved in thee,

      Arrive at last the blessed goal,
      And He that died in Holy Land
      Would reach us out the shining hand,
      And take us as a single soul.

      What reed was that on which I leant?
      Ah, backward fancy, wherefore wake
      The old bitterness again, and break
      The low beginnings of content.

         LXXXV.

      This truth came borne with bier and pall,
      I felt it, when I sorrow'd most,
      'Tis better to have loved and lost,
      Than never to have loved at all-

      O true in word, and tried in deed,
      Demanding, so to bring relief
      To this which is our common grief,
      What kind of life is that I lead;

      And whether trust in things above
      Be dimm'd of sorrow, or sustain'd;
      And whether love for him have drain'd
      My capabilities of love;

      Your words have virtue such as draws
      A faithful answer from the breast,
      Thro' light reproaches, half exprest,
      And loyal unto kindly laws.

      My blood an even tenor kept,
      Till on mine ear this message falls,
      That in Vienna's fatal walls
      God's finger touch'd him, and he slept.

      The great Intelligences fair
      That range above our mortal state,
      In circle round the blessed gate,
      Received and gave him welcome there;

      And led him thro' the blissful climes,
      And show'd him in the fountain fresh
      All knowledge that the sons of flesh
      Shall gather in the cycled times.

      But I remained, whose hopes were dim,
      Whose life, whose thoughts were little worth,
      To wander on a darkened earth,
      Where all things round me breathed of him.

      O friendship, equal poised control,
      O heart, with kindliest motion warm,
      O sacred essence, other form,
      O solemn ghost, O crowned soul!

      Yet none could better know than I,
      How much of act at human hands
      The sense of human will demands
      By which we dare to live or die.

      Whatever way my days decline,
      I felt and feel, tho' left alone,
      His being working in mine own,
      The footsteps of his life in mine;

      A life that all the Muses decked
      With gifts of grace, that might express
      All comprehensive tenderness,
      All-subtilising intellect:

      And so my passion hath not swerved
      To works of weakness, but I find
      An image comforting the mind,
      And in my grief a strength reserved.

      Likewise the imaginative woe,
      That loved to handle spiritual strife,
      Diffused the shock thro' all my life,
      But in the present broke the blow.

      My pulses therefore beat again
      For other friends that once I met;
      Nor can it suit me to forget
      The mighty hopes that make us men.

      I woo your love: I count it crime
      To mourn for any overmuch;
      I, the divided half of such
      A friendship as had master'd Time;

      Which masters Time indeed, and is
      Eternal, separate from fears:
      The all-assuming months and years
      Can take no part away from this:

      But Summer on the steaming floods,
      And Spring that swells the narrow brooks,
      And Autumn, with a noise of rooks,
      That gather in the waning woods,

      And every pulse of wind and wave
      Recalls, in change of light or gloom,
      My old affection of the tomb,
      And my prime passion in the grave:

      My old affection of the tomb,
      A part of stillness, yearns to speak:
      'Arise, and get thee forth and seek
      A friendship for the years to come.

      'I watch thee from the quiet shore;
      Thy spirit up to mine can reach;
      But in dear words of human speech
      We two communicate no more.'

      And I, 'Can clouds of nature stain
      The starry clearness of the free?
      How is it? Canst thou feel for me
      Some painless sympathy with pain?'

      And lightly does the whisper fall;
      ''Tis hard for thee to fathom this;
      I triumph in conclusive bliss,
      And that serene result of all.'

      So hold I commerce with the dead;
      Or so methinks the dead would say;
      Or so shall grief with symbols play
      And pining life be fancy-fed.

      Now looking to some settled end,
      That these things pass, and I shall prove
      A meeting somewhere, love with love,
      I crave your pardon, O my friend;

      If not so fresh, with love as true,
      I, clasping brother-hands aver
      I could not, if I would, transfer
      The whole I felt for him to you.

      For which be they that hold apart
      The promise of the golden hours?
      First love, first friendship, equal powers,
      That marry with the virgin heart.

      Still mine, that cannot but deplore,
      That beats within a lonely place,
      That yet remembers his embrace,
      But at his footstep leaps no more,

      My heart, tho' widow'd, may not rest
      Quite in the love of what is gone,
      But seeks to beat in time with one
      That warms another living breast.

      Ah, take the imperfect gift I bring,
      Knowing the primrose yet is dear,
      The primrose of the later year,
      As not unlike to that of Spring.

         LXXXVI.

      Sweet after showers, ambrosial air,
      That rollest from the gorgeous gloom
      Of evening over brake and bloom
      And meadow, slowly breathing bare

      The round of space, and rapt below
      Thro' all the dewy-tassell'd wood,
      And shadowing down the horned flood
      In ripples, fan my brows and blow

      The fever from my cheek, and sigh
      The full new life that feeds thy breath
      Throughout my frame, till Doubt and Death,
      Ill brethren, let the fancy fly

      From belt to belt of crimson seas
      On leagues of odour streaming far,
      To where in yonder orient star
      A hundred spirits whisper 'Peace.'

         LXXXVII.

      I past beside the reverend walls
      In which of old I wore the gown;
      I roved at random thro' the town,
      And saw the tumult of the halls;

      And heard one more in college fanes
      The storm their high-built organs make,
      And thunder-music, rolling, shake
      The prophet blazon'd on the panes;

      And caught one more the distant shout,
      The measured pulse of racing oars
      Among the willows; paced the shores
      And many a bridge, and all about

      The same gray flats again, and felt
      The same, but not the same; and last
      Up that long walk of limes I past
      To see the rooms in which he dwelt.

      Another name was on the door:
      I linger'd; all within was noise
      Of songs, and clapping hands, and boys
      That crash'd the glass and beat the floor;

      Where once we held debate, a band
      Of youthful friends, on mind and art,
      And labour, and the changing mart,
      And all the framework of the land;

      When one would aim an arrow fair,
      But send it slackly from the string;
      And one would pierce an outer ring,
      And one an inner, here and there;

      And last the master-bowman, he,
      Would cleave the mark. A willing ear
      We lent him. Who, but hung to hear
      The rapt oration flowing free

      From point to point, with power and grace
      And music in the bounds of law,
      To those conclusions when we saw
      The God within him light his face,

      And seem to lift the form, and glow
      In azure orbits heavenly wise;
      And over those ethereal eyes
      The bar of Michael Angelo.

         LXXXVIII.

      Wild bird, whose warble, liquid sweet,
      Rings Eden thro' the budded quicks,
      O tell me where the senses mix,
      O tell me where the passions meet,

      Whence radiate: fierce extremes employ
      Thy spirits in the darkening leaf,
      And in the midmost heart of grief
      Thy passion clasps a secret joy:

      And I-my harp would prelude woe-
      I cannot all command the strings;
      The glory of the sum of things
      Will flash along the chords and go.

         LXXXIX.

      Witch-elms that counterchange the floor
      Of this flat lawn with dusk and bright;
      And thou, with all thy breadth and height
      Of foliage, towering sycamore;

      How often, hither wandering down,
      My Arthur found your shadows fair,
      And shook to all the liberal air
      The dust and din and steam of town:

      He brought an eye for all he saw;
      He mixt in all our simple sports;
      They pleased him, fresh from brawling courts
      And dusty purlieus of the law.

      O joy to him in this retreat,
      Immantled in ambrosial dark,
      To drink the cooler air, and mark
      The landscape winking thro' the heat:

      O sound to rout the brood of cares,
      The sweep of scythe in morning dew,
      The gust that round the garden flew,
      And tumbled half the mellowing pears!

      O bliss, when all in circle drawn
      About him, heart and ear were fed
      To hear him, as he lay and read
      The Tuscan poets on the lawn:

      Or in the all-golden afternoon
      A guest, or happy sister, sung,
      Or here she brought the harp and flung
      A ballad to the brightening moon:

      Nor less it pleased in livelier moods,
      Beyond the bounding hill to stray,
      And break the livelong summer day
      With banquet in the distant woods;

      Whereat we glanced from theme to theme,
      Discuss'd the books to love or hate,
      Or touch'd the changes of the state,
      Or threaded some Socratic dream;

      But if I praised the busy town,
      He loved to rail against it still,
      For 'ground in yonder social mill
      We rub each other's angles down,

      'And merge' he said 'in form and gloss
      The picturesque of man and man.'
      We talk'd: the stream beneath us ran,
      The wine-flask lying couch'd in moss,

      Or cool'd within the glooming wave;
      And last, returning from afar,
      Before the crimson-circled star
      Had fall'n into her father's grave,

      And brushing ankle-deep in flowers,
      We heard behind the woodbine veil
      The milk that bubbled in the pail,
      And buzzings of the honied hours.

         XC.

      He tasted love with half his mind,
      Nor ever drank the inviolate spring
      Where nighest heaven, who first could fling
      This bitter seed among mankind;

      That could the dead, whose dying eyes
      Were closed with wail, resume their life,
      They would but find in child and wife
      An iron welcome when they rise:

      'Twas well, indeed, when warm with wine,
      To pledge them with a kindly tear,
      To talk them o'er, to wish them here,
      To count their memories half divine;

      But if they came who past away,
      Behold their brides in other hands;
      The hard heir strides about their lands,
      And will not yield them for a day.

      Yea, tho' their sons were none of these,
      Not less the yet-loved sire would make
      Confusion worse than death, and shake
      The pillars of domestic peace.

      Ah dear, but come thou back to me:
      Whatever change the years have wrought,
      I find not yet one lonely thought
      That cries against my wish for thee.

         XCI.

      When rosy plumelets tuft the larch,
      And rarely pipes the mounted thrush;
      Or underneath the barren bush
      Flits by the sea-blue bird of March;

      Come, wear the form by which I know
      Thy spirit in time among thy peers;
      The hope of unaccomplish'd years
      Be large and lucid round thy brow.

      When summer's hourly-mellowing change
      May breathe, with many roses sweet,
      Upon the thousand waves of wheat,
      That ripple round the lonely grange;

      Come: not in watches of the night,
      But where the sunbeam broodeth warm,
      Come, beauteous in thine after form,
      And like a finer light in light.

         XCII.

      If any vision should reveal
      Thy likeness, I might count it vain
      As but the canker of the brain;
      Yea, tho' it spake and made appeal
      To chances where our lots were cast

      Together in the days behind,
      I might but say, I hear a wind
      Of memory murmuring the past.

      Yea, tho' it spake and bared to view
      A fact within the coming year;
      And tho' the months, revolving near,
      Should prove the phantom-warning true,

      They might not seem thy prophecies,
      But spiritual presentiments,
      And such refraction of events
      As often rises ere they rise.

         XCIII.

      I shall not see thee. Dare I say
      No spirit ever brake the band
      That stays him from the native land
      Where first he walk'd when claspt in clay?

      No visual shade of some one lost,
      But he, the Spirit himself, may come
      Where all the nerve of sense is numb;
      Spirit to Spirit, Ghost to Ghost.

      O, therefore from thy sightless range
      With gods in unconjectured bliss,
      O, from the distance of the abyss
      Of tenfold-complicated change,

      Descend, and touch, and enter; hear
      The wish too strong for words to name;
      That in this blindness of the frame
      My Ghost may feel that thine is near.

         XCIV.

      How pure at heart and sound in head,
      With what divine affections bold
      Should be the man whose thought would hold
      An hour's communion with the dead.

      In vain shalt thou, or any, call
      The spirits from their golden day,
      Except, like them, thou too canst say,
      My spirit is at peace with all.

      They haunt the silence of the breast,
      Imaginations calm and fair,
      The memory like a cloudless air,
      The conscience as a sea at rest:

      But when the heart is full of din,
      And doubt beside the portal waits,
      They can but listen at the gates,
      And hear the household jar within.

         XCV.

      By night we linger'd on the lawn,
      For underfoot the herb was dry;
      And genial warmth; and o'er the sky
      The silvery haze of summer drawn;

      And calm that let the tapers burn
      Unwavering: not a cricket chirr'd:
      The brook alone far-off was heard,
      And on the board the fluttering urn:

      And bats went round in fragrant skies,
      And wheel'd or lit the filmy shapes
      That haunt the dusk, with ermine capes
      And woolly breasts and beaded eyes;

      While now we sang old songs that peal'd
      From knoll to knoll, where, couch'd at ease,
      The white kine glimmer'd, and the trees
      Laid their dark arms about the field.

      But when those others, one by one,
      Withdrew themselves from me and night,
      And in the house light after light
      Went out, and I was all alone,

      A hunger seized my heart; I read
      Of that glad year which once had been,
      In those fall'n leaves which kept their green,
      The noble letters of the dead:

      And strangely on the silence broke
      The silent-speaking words, and strange
      Was love's dumb cry defying change
      To test his worth; and strangely spoke

      The faith, the vigour, bold to dwell
      On doubts that drive the coward back,
      And keen thro' wordy snares to track
      Suggestion to her inmost cell.

      So word by word, and line by line,
      The dead man touch'd me from the past,
      And all at once it seem'd at last
      The living soul was flash'd on mine,

      And mine in this was wound, and whirl'd
      About empyreal heights of thought,
      And came on that which is, and caught
      The deep pulsations of the world,

      Ęonian music measuring out
      The steps of Time-the shocks of Chance-
      The blows of Death. At length my trance
      Was cancell'd, stricken thro' with doubt.

      Vague words! but ah, how hard to frame
      In matter-moulded forms of speech,
      Or ev'n for intellect to reach
      Thro' memory that which I became:

      Till now the doubtful dusk reveal'd
      The knolls once more where, couch'd at ease,
      The white kine glimmer'd, and the trees
      Laid their dark arms about the field:

      And suck'd from out the distant gloom
      A breeze began to tremble o'er
      The large leaves of the sycamore,
      And fluctuate all the still perfume,

      And gathering freshlier overhead,
      Rock'd the full-foliaged elms, and swung
      The heavy-folded rose, and flung
      The lilies to and fro, and said

      'The dawn, the dawn,' and died away;
      And East and West, without a breath,
      Mixt their dim lights, like life and death,
      To broaden into boundless day.

         XCVI.

      You say, but with no touch of scorn,
      Sweet-hearted, you, whose light-blue eyes
      Are tender over drowning flies,
      You tell me, doubt is Devil-born.

      I know not: one indeed I knew
      In many a subtle question versed,
      Who touch'd a jarring lyre at first,
      But ever strove to make it true:

      Perplext in faith, but pure in deeds,
      At last he beat his music out.
      There lives more faith in honest doubt,
      Believe me, than in half the creeds.

      He fought his doubts and gather'd strength,
      He would not make his judgment blind,
      He faced the spectres of the mind
      And laid them: thus he came at length

      To find a stronger faith his own;
      And Power was with him in the night,
      Which makes the darkness and the light,
      And dwells not in the light alone,

      But in the darkness and the cloud,
      As over Sinaļ's peaks of old,
      While Israel made their gods of gold,
      Altho' the trumpet blew so loud.

         XCVII.

      My love has talk'd with rocks and trees;
      He finds on misty mountain-ground
      His own vast shadow glory-crown'd;
      He sees himself in all he sees.

      Two partners of a married life-
      I look'd on these and thought of thee
      In vastness and in mystery,
      And of my spirit as of a wife.

      These two-they dwelt with eye on eye,
      Their hearts of old have beat in tune,
      Their meetings made December June,
      Their every parting was to die.

      Their love has never past away;
      The days she never can forget
      Are earnest that he loves her yet,
      Whate'er the faithless people say.

      Her life is lone, he sits apart,
      He loves her yet, she will not weep,
      Tho' rapt in matters dark and deep
      He seems to slight her simple heart.

      He thrids the labyrinth of the mind,
      He reads the secret of the star,
      He seems so near and yet so far,
      He looks so cold: she thinks him kind.

      She keeps the gift of years before,
      A wither'd violet is her bliss:
      She knows not what his greatness is,
      For that, for all, she loves him more.

      For him she plays, to him she sings
      Of early faith and plighted vows;
      She knows but matters of the house,
      And he, he knows a thousand things.

      Her faith is fixt and cannot move,
      She darkly feels him great and wise,
      She dwells on him with faithful eyes,
      'I cannot understand: I love.'

         XCVIII.

      You leave us: you will see the Rhine,
      And those fair hills I sail'd below,
      When I was there with him; and go
      By summer belts of wheat and vine

      To where he breathed his latest breath,
      That City. All her splendour seems
      No livelier than the wisp that gleams
      On Lethe in the eyes of Death.

      Let her great Danube rolling fair
      Enwind her isles, unmark'd of me:
      I have not seen, I will not see
      Vienna; rather dream that there,

      A treble darkness, Evil haunts
      The birth, the bridal; friend from friend
      Is oftener parted, fathers bend
      Above more graves, a thousand wants

      Gnarr at the heels of men, and prey
      By each cold hearth, and sadness flings
      Her shadow on the blaze of kings:
      And yet myself have heard him say,

      That not in any mother town
      With statelier progress to and fro
      The double tides of chariots flow
      By park and suburb under brown

      Of lustier leaves; nor more content,
      He told me, lives in any crowd,
      When all is gay with lamps, and loud
      With sport and song, in booth and tent,

      Imperial halls, or open plain;
      And wheels the circled dance, and breaks
      The rocket molten into flakes
      Of crimson or in emerald rain.

         XCIX.

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

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

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

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

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

         C.

      I climb the hill: from end to end
      Of all the landscape underneath,
      I find no place that does not breathe
      Some gracious memory of my friend;

      No gray old grange, or lonely fold,
      Or low morass and whispering reed,
      Or simple stile from mead to mead,
      Or sheepwalk up the windy wold;

      Nor hoary knoll of ash and haw
      That hears the latest linnet trill,
      Nor quarry trench'd along the hill
      And haunted by the wrangling daw;

      Nor runlet tinkling from the rock;
      Nor pastoral rivulet that swerves
      To left and right thro' meadowy curves,
      That feed the mothers of the flock;

      But each has pleased a kindred eye,
      And each reflects a kindlier day;
      And, leaving these, to pass away,
      I think once more he seems to die.

    to Verse CI.



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