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2. And throned races may degrade. May degenerate. The intransitive use of degrade is comparatively rare.
Yet, O ye mysteries of good, etc. The first ed. has "ministers of good."
5. To make old bareness picturesque. The first ed. has "baseness " for bareness, perhaps a misprint.
CXXIX. I. Dear friend, far off, my lost desire, etc. "A more touching and tender address to the dead was never uttered than this poem expresses; a more pure and ennobling affection was never described. Sorrow is lost in the more exalted sentiment of their certain reunion, and in the strength derived from a consciousness of the worthiness of their past friendship" (Gatty).
CXXX. 1. Thy voice is on the rolling air, etc. Arthur has become, as it were, a part of the universe itself; but, though the poet's love for him has become "a wider and a more impersonal thing," it is not therefore less. Indeed, now that his friend has become "mixed with God and Nature," he loves him only the more.
Cf. Shelley, Adonais: —
"He is made one with Nature; there is heard
He is a presence to be felt and known
in light, from herb nd stone Spreading itself where'er that Power may move Which has withdrawn his being to its own."
CXXXI. 1. Oliving will that shall endure, etc. "Free will in man," as the poet explained to Gatty. Davidson interprets it similarly, as "the God within, that heaven-descended living will,' which is the essence of human personality, and which will endure when the phenomenal world of sense shall be rolled up like a scroll." Cf. the poem entitled Will.
2. Out of dust.
The first ed. has "out the dust."
THE EPILOGUE. 1. O true and tried, etc. Cf. lxxxv. 2: "O true in word, and tried in deed," etc.
This epithalamium celebrates the marriage of the poet's younger sister, Cecilia, to Edmund Law Lushington, October 10, 1842.
"The poem that began with death, over which in its long course it has found love triumphant, now ends with marriage, that highest earthly illustration of crowned and completed love" (Genung).
Gatty thought that this marriage song scarcely harmonizes with the lofty solemnity " of In Memoriam; but Tennyson replied that the poem was meant to be a kind of Divina Commedia, ending cheerfully."
2. Since first he told me that he loved, etc. Referring to Arthur's betrothal to Emily Tennyson.
9. He too foretold the perfect rose. Also referring to Arthur.
12. For I that danced her on my knee, etc. As Cecilia was born October 10, 1817, she was eight years younger than the poet.
13. Her feet, my darling, on the dead. Referring to the graves beneath the chancel floor, as the next line does to the memorial tablets on the walls. See on x. 4, above.
14. Her sweet' I will' has made you one.
The first ed. has "ye" for
15. Now sign your names. In the parish register, according to English usage.
As Genung remarks, this closing poem "affords occasion to bring in review before us the leading features and influences of In Memoriam," namely:
"1. Love, which survives regret and the grave, has recovered her peace in this world, has grown greater and holier, and yet by no means less loyal to the dead; and now, no more disturbed by the past, she devotes herself to the innocent joys of the present.
"2. Remembrance of the dead is cherished, not sacrificed; the dead is thought of as living, and perhaps present on this occasion, shedding unseen blessings on this coronation of love.
"3. The living present is suggested by the marriage-bells and festivities; a present in which love finds its purest expression.
4. The greater future is suggested in the thought of the new life that may rise from this union, a new-born soul, who will look on a race more advanced than this, and contribute to its greatness, and so be a link between us and the perfect future.
"5. Finally, a view of the far future perfected. Its character: the view of knowledge eye to eye, the complete subjugation in our nature of all that is brutish, the flower and fruit of which the present contains the seed. Its type: the life of Arthur, who appeared in advance of his time. Its culmination life in God."
George Brimley (Essays, 3d ed., London, 1882), in an eloquent protest against the notion of certain critics that In Memoriam is "a morbid mistake, the unhealthy product of a man of genius in an unhealthy mood, degrading his genius by employing it in the delineation of a sorrow that is unmanly and exaggerated," says:
'Compare the tone in which Shakespeare addresses the male friend to whom the greater number of the Sonnets apply, with Tennyson's tone in speaking of Arthur Hallam. If the one is supposed to do no discredit to the soundest-hearted as well as the largest-minded man of modern Europe, why is the other to be called morbid and exaggerated? The critics need not take so much trouble to let the world know that they are not Shakespeares and Tennysons in heart any more than in intellect.
Mr. Tennyson, finding himself in a world where sorrow alternates with joy, and in a nation whose humor even has been supposed to have a serious and saturnine cast, having heard, too, we may presume, of a text in a certain Book which says, 'Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted, ' and having himself lost a friend who was as the light of his eyes and the joy of his heart, has not thought it an unworthy employment of his poetic gifts to bestow them in erecting a monument to his friend, upon which he has carved basreliefs of exceeding grace and beauty, and has worked delicate flowers into the cornices, and adorned the capitals of the columns with emblematic devices; and upon the summit he has set the statue of his friend, and about the base run the sweetest words of love with the mournfullest
accents of grief, — the darkest doubts with the sublimest hopes. The groans of despair are there, with the triumphant songs of faith, and over all, in letters of gold, surmounting the mingled posies, which tell of all the moods of the human mind through its years of mourning, is the scroll on which one reads from afar :
I am the Resurrection and the Life. Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord.””
INDEX OF WORDS AND PHRASES
Eonian hills, 182.
bar of Michael Angelo, the,
blasts that blow the poplar
blind hysterics of the Celt,
blowing season, 182.
Christmases, the three, 180,
compelled (=impelled), 178.
Death's twin-brother, 188.
fluttering urn, 194.
Goethe (allusion to), 175..
guardian angel, 184.
haze of grief, 179.
keys of all the creeds, 179.
maze of quick, 201.
poor flower of poesy, 176.
red fool-fury of the Seine,
Phosphor, 176, 202.
refraction (figurative), 193.
sea-blue bird of March, 193.
Seine, red fool-fury of the,
Shadow feared of man, 179.
slime (primeval), 186.
Use and Wont (personified),
Ursa Minor, 196.
Waltham Abbey, 197.
nebular hypothesis, 193, 201. Wimpole Street, 168, 176,
yew-tree, 175, 190.