The Victorian Age
How the poem deals with grief
In the poem Memoriam, Tennyson’s grief is profound and he can’t compare his grievances with artificial things :they cant just portray the level of his grief. Therefore, Tennyson uses natural things to explain. In the sixth stanza of part XIX, he likens the loneness in him after being left by his friend with the flow of water that finally ends in the sea”…The salt sea-water passes by/And hushes half the babbling Wye/And makes a silence in the hills. (Anna)In the second stanza of part XX, Tennyson uses the imagery of a tree to explain the quietude that is around him he views the tree as a thing that can not feel the grief that he has but at the same time, he sees the tree as a consuming the grave”…Old Yew, which graspest at the stones/That name the under-lying dead/Thy fibers net the dreamless head/Thy roots are wrapt about the bones/.When he starts getting over the grief, he compares his mood to the wind”…To night the winds begin to rise/And roar from yonder dropping day/The last red leaf is whirl’d away…The forest crack’d,the waters curl’d/The cattle huddled on the lea/The sunbeam strikes on the world.” In the stanza numbered XI, Lord Terryson explain the level of calmness and multitude that prevails kind of pin-drop loneliness,”…calm is the morn without a sound/calm as to suit a calmer grief/And only thro’ the faded leaf/The chestnut pattering to the ground”. In this stanza, he sears into our minds that very quietude that surrounds him. Imagine the sound of a chestnut leaf pattering to the ground! We’ve got to figure the (sound )made by the falling leaf to have an imagery of the poet’s .In this case, his deceased friend is the chestnut( make you the tree is seasonal because they flower, blossom, dry and then finally fall down).In the chestnut case, the poet says that the chestnut faded leaf falls with a patter .The faded leaf is his dead friend and when it platters to the ground, it means that it has a cute impact that it leaves on its wake. The poet likens the poem that he dedicates to his fallen friend with a weed but he plants anyway in his tomb,”…So seems in my deep regret /O my forsaken heart, with thee/And this poesy/Which little cared for fades not yet/…But since it pleased a vanished eye/I go to plant it on his tomb/That if it can it there may bloom/Or, dying, there are at least may die. In the stanza, the poet is seeing that once he plants the weed that is the poesy, the weed will grow and the life of his friend will continue through it. Eventually Terryson tries, albeit with a lot of difficulty to overcome the belief that has befallen to him prior to the death of his friend,”…What words are these have falle’n from me? Can calm despair and wild unrest/Be tenants of a single breast/Or sorrow such as a challenge be?
The poet’s resolution
In the poem Memoriam, the author-Lord Terryson-expresses everyone’s hope of life that they could be no death : that there could be immortality in life.(Elaine) As the poem commences, the poet exhibits a kind of unfaithfulness and he is initially filled with niggles of doubt. Secondly, the poet was honest because he voiced what he felt and what he thought, regardless of what the other people would say or the critics would criticize him. When the poet wrote the poem Memoriam, Terryson wanted it to,”…portray a convincing resolution of doubt by faith…”(Eugene August page 217).Yet even again, the poem portrays a snaking way through what obviously crosses people’s minds whenever they are left by their loved ones. Or in short, concise and precise terms, to put it like how Edgar F. Shannon, one of the book reviewers, aptly put it,”…In Memoriam especially, with its wavering progression from a deeply-felt religious doubt to the proclamation of a universal faith..”( page 149).Also going by another resolution is how the poet,Terryson,expresses the stanzas of the poem one after another. The stanzas are so well choreographed that it betokens one thing : when writing, the poet adhered to a format that looked like a diary.(Alfred) He explains the stanzas so vividly as if he was writing the episodes of the poem in a diary. The poet also figured that his grief was so gargantuan that the man-made elements could not assist him in expressing them. Rather, he sets for natural elements like where he uses the wind and the sea. Also, he uses the imagery of the seasons like where he says that…”And thro’ the faded leaf/The chestnut pattering to the ground. In that stanza where he uses those words, deep in his mind he knows that the human life is like the seasons : the autumn and the spring. He knows that there is a time to be born and a time to kiss goodbye the detritus of everyday life. In short a word, the poet kind of dramatizes the sorrow that he has.
Alfred, Tennyson. Alfred Tennyson. London: Echo Library, 2007.
Anna, Barton. Tennyson’s name:identity and responsibility in the poetry. Burlington: Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2008.
Elaine, Jordan. Alfred Tennyson. New York: CUP Archive, 1968.