In Memoriam

August 11, 2009

Dark house, by which once more I stand

Here in the long unlovely street,

Door, where my heart was used to beat

So quickly, waiting for a hand,

A hand that can be clasp’d no more —

Behold me, for I cannot sleep,

And like a guilty thing I creep

At earliest morning to the door.

He is not here; but far away

The noise of life begins again,

And ghastly thro’ the drizzling rain

On the bald street breaks the blank day.

Tennyson, ‘In Memoriam’, VII.

There is something so strictly musical about Tennyson — I find his verse (the little that I’ve read!) some of the most easily scanned. The metrical skeleton almost chimes free from its sense, and I have found myself reading aloud whole pages from ‘In Memoriam’ before realising that instead of comprehending, I had merely been listening (and only to myself, moreover…).

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