In Memoriam by Alfred TennysonIn Memoriam is Tennyson’s tribute to his friend Arthur Henry Hallam who died at the age of 22, written over a period of 17 years.
The original title of the poem was The Way of the Soul, and this might give an idea of how the poem is an account of all Tennysons thoughts and feelings as he copes with his grief over such a long period, including wrestling with the big philosophico-scientific questions of his day. It is perhaps because of this that the poem is still popular with and of interest to modern readers. Owing to its length and its arguable breadth of focus, the poem might not be thought an elegy or a dirge in the strictest formal sense.
The poem is not arranged exactly in the order in which it was written. The prologue, for example, is thought to have been one of the last things written. Critics believe, however, that the poem as a whole is meant to be chronological in terms of the progression of Tennysons grief. The passage of time is marked by the three descriptions of Christmas at different points in the poem, and the poem ends with a description of the marriage of Tennysons sister.
In Memoriam is written in four-line ABBA stanzas of iambic tetrameter, and such stanzas are now called In Memoriam Stanzas. Though not metrically unusual, given the length of the work, the meter creates a tonal effect which often divides readers - is it the natural sound of mourning and grief, or merely monotonous? The poem is divided into 133 cantos (including the prologue and epilogue), and in contrast to its constant and regulated metrical form, encompasses many different subjects: profound spiritual experiences, nostalgic reminiscence, philosophical speculation, Romantic fantasizing and even occasional verse. The death of Hallam, and Tennysons attempts to cope with this, remain the strand that ties all these together.
Strong Son of God, immortal Love,
Whom we, that have not seen thy face,
By faith, and faith alone, embrace,
Believing where we cannot prove ;
Thine are these orbs of light and shade ;
Thou madest Life in man and brute ;
In Memoriam A. H. H.
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This bereavement provided the jolt Tennyson needed in order to look beyond his own morbid sensitivity, and to address instead the more universal theme of grief and loss. The poem, although still profoundly private, perfectly captured wider Victorian pieties about the consolations of religion, the acceptable response to the death of a loved one, and the doubts being raised at the time in works such as Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation concerning evolution and the scientific erosion of divinity. His early poems addressed personal and introspective themes. When Tennyson died in , 11, people applied for tickets to his funeral in Westminster Abbey. Dr Stephanie Forward considers the poet's huge popularity in the second half of the 19th century, and the decline of his reputation in the 20th.
It is a requiem for the poet's beloved Cambridge friend Arthur Henry Hallam , who died suddenly of a cerebral haemorrhage in Vienna in 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 greatest poems of the 19th century. The original title of the poem was "The Way of the Soul", and this might give an idea of how the poem is an account of all Tennyson's thoughts and emotions as he grieves over the death of a close friend. He views the cruelty of nature and mortality in light of materialist science and faith.
In Memoriam A. H. H. - Strong Son of God, immortal Love.
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It's that age-old story: boy meets boy; boy loses boy; boy endlessly ruminates on the nature of loss and grief with some meditations on evolution and religion thrown in just for kicks. It may sound a bit strange, but that's exactly what's going on in In Memoriam. Alfred, Lord Tennyson which we should think of as both the "for-reals" Tennyson of the Victorian period, but also as the fictionalized speaker of the poem wallows in his grief over losing his dear friend Arthur, who has died of a brain hemorrhage at the tragically young age of While doing so, he falls into a sort of existential crisis in which he contemplates man's place in the vast universe, which is created by either God, or maybe a more uncaring, cold Nature. Of course, that's understandable. Tennyson's also responding to some pretty heavy-duty cultural upheavals of his time, like the newly-circulating Theory of Evolution thanks, Darwin and the rise of industrialism.