by: Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892)

      O-NIGHT the winds begin to rise
      And roar from yonder dropping day;
      The last red leaf is whirl'd away,
      The rooks are blown about the skies;
      The forest crack'd, the waters curl'd,
      The cattle huddled on the lea;
      And wildly dash'd on tower and tree
      The sunbeam strikes along the world:
      And but for fancies, which aver
      That all thy motions gently pass
      Athwart a plane of molten glass,
      I scarce could brook the strain and stir
      That makes the barren branches loud;
      And but for fear it is not so,
      The wild unrest that lives in woe
      Would dote and pore on yonder cloud
      That rises upward always higher,
      And onward drags a laboring breast,
      And topples round the dreary west,
      A looming bastion fringed with fire.
      With trembling fingers did we weave
      The holly round the Christmas hearth;
      A rainy cloud possess'd the earth,
      and sadly fell on Christmas-eve.
      At our old pastimes in the hall
      We gamboll's, making vain pretence
      Of gladness, with an awful sense
      Of one mute Shadow watching all.
      We paused: the winds were in the beech:
      We heard them sweep the winter land;
      And in a circle hand-in-hand
      Sat silent, looking each at each.
      Then echo-like our voices rang;
      We sung, tho' every eye was dim,
      A merry song we sang to him
      Last year; impetuously we sang.
      We ceased; a gentler feeling crept
      Upon us: surely rest is meet.
      'They rest,' we said, 'their sleep is sweet,'
      And silence follow'd, and we wept.
      Our voices took a higher range;
      Once more we sang: 'They do not die
      Nor lose their mortal sympathy,
      Nor change to us, altho' they change;
      'Rapt from the fickle and the frail
      With gather'd power, yet the same,
      Pierces the keen seraphic flame
      From orb to orb, from veil to veil.'
      Rise, happy morn, rise, holy morn,
      Draw forth the cheerful day from night:
      O Father, touch the east, and light
      The light that shone when Hope was born.
      O living will that shall endure
      When all that seems shall suffer shock,
      Rise in the spiritual rock,
      Flow thro' our deeds and make them pure,
      That we may lift from out of dust
      A voice as unto him that hears,
      A cry above the conquer'd years
      To one that with us works, and trust,
      With faith that comes of self-control,
      The truths that never can be proved
      Until we close with all we loved,
      And all we flow from, soul to soul.

'In Memoriam' is reprinted from English Poems. Ed. Edward Chauncey Baldwin. New York: American Book Company, 1908.




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