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In Memoriam A. H. H.
by
Lord Alfred Tennyson


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    I envy not in any moods
         The captive void of noble rage,
         The linnet born within the cage,
That never knew the summer woods:

I envy not the beast that takes
         His license in the field of time,
         Unfetter'd by the sense of crime,
To whom a conscience never wakes;

Nor, what may count itself as blest,
         The heart that never plighted troth
         But stagnates in the weeds of sloth;
Nor any want-begotten rest.

I hold it true, whate'er befall;
         I feel it, when I sorrow most;
         'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

 

This poem is in the public domain.

 

Purchase a framed print of this poem.

 

Alfred Tennyson (1809 - 1892) is one of the world's most beloved and enduring poets. Born in a small English village to comfortable, devoutly religious parents (his father was a clergyman, his mother the daughter of a clergyman), Alfred was one of twelve children. He enjoyed an idyllic childhood, though later years brought family issues, and his father's death caused Alfred to have to leave Cambridge without completing his degree. Drawn to poetry from an early age, Alfred's first book of poetry was one he published with his brother when he was still a teenager. He published a collection of his own work shortly thereafter, to very enthusiastic reviews. But three years later, a second book was heavily criticized and Alfred was devastated. Though he continued to write, it was nearly ten years before he published another book. Ultimately, he became England's longest-serving poet laureate, spending more than forty years in that position and producing fine work until he was in his eighties.


Post New Comment:
Newf:
I've heard the last two lines, but had never seen the whole poem. I love this one. Needs re-reading. Much food for thought.
Posted 04/16/2016 03:44 AM
Ross Kightly:
Is it a bit like the theatregoer after a performance of 'Hamlet' saying: 'That was just a whole bunch of quotes'?
Posted 04/15/2016 05:58 AM
barbsteff:
I have great difficulty appreciating this kind of poetry, with its artificial (by today's usage) language. But I very much admire the story of Tennyson's persistence at writing. That's a good lesson for any would-be writer.
Posted 04/14/2016 10:50 PM
Dorcas:
The wofulness of love while the heart still beats.
Posted 04/14/2016 10:25 PM
Jo:
It is beautiful as jeanie says. I did not know the last two lines, so famous, came from this poem. LOL!
Posted 04/14/2016 04:18 PM
ElizabethP:
This always has and will remain a wonderful piece. Thanks for sharing!
Posted 04/14/2016 03:37 PM
Lori Levy:
Now I know where those last 2 lines come from!
Posted 04/14/2016 12:32 PM
jeanie:
Thanks for putting this out there, Jayne! It's really quite beautiful.
Posted 04/14/2016 09:16 AM
tannerlynne:
well I happen to love this poem!
Posted 04/14/2016 07:28 AM
Newf:
I've heard the last two lines, but had never seen the whole poem. I love this one. Needs re-reading. Much food for thought.
Posted 04/14/2016 07:09 AM


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