In Memoriam

In my last post I quoted from Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s epic poem In Memoriam A.H.H. The lyrical masterpiece took him 17 years to complete and has more stanzas than a Nissan dealer. It expresses faith (mentioned 31 times) and hope (mentioned 19 times) in the face of loss and grief.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

In Memoriam captures Tennyson’s anguish at the unexpected death of his friend and fellow poet Arthur Henry Hallam (hence the A.H.H. in the title). His consternation also reflects a biblical worldview challenged by the science of his day (i.e. the early teaching of evolution that would culminate in Darwin’s On the Origin of Species published a decade after In Memoriam).

Originally titled The Way of the Soul, the poem begins with a solid assertion of faith and ends (sans Epilogue) on a similarly strong note. But along the way Tennyson candidly grapples with the debilitating tension between a believing heart and a questioning mind.

I can identify. See my page, Poetic Faith.


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