Came across this selection from In Memoriam A.H.H., by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Terrific stuff – if you’ve never read the entire poem – it’s worth it. It was a favorite of Queen Victoria, and considered by many among the greatest poems of the 19th century. Guess it’s poetry week around here.
It is a requiem for the poet’s Cambridge friend Arthur Henry Hallam, who died suddenly of a cerebral haemorrhage in Vienna in 1833. Because it was written over a period of 17 years, its meditation on the search for hope after great loss touches upon many of the most important and deeply-felt concerns of Victorian society. It contains some of Tennyson’s most accomplished lyrical work, and is an unusually sustained exercise in lyric verse. It is widely considered to be one of the great poems of the 19th century.
From In Memoriam by Alfred, Lord Tennyson:
Oh yet we trust that somehow good
Will be the final goal of ill,
To pangs of nature, sins of will,
Defects of doubt, and taints of blood;
That nothing walks with aimless feet,
That not one life shall be destroyed,
Or cast as rubble to the void,
When God has made the pile complete.
Behold, we know not anything,
I can but trust that good shall fall.
At last –far off– at last, to all,
And every winter change to spring
The wish, that of the living whole,
No life may fail beyond the grave,
Derives it not from what we have,
The likest God within the soul?
I stretch lame hands of faith, and grope
And gather dust and chaff, and call,
To what I feel is Lord of all,
And faintly trust the larger hope.