In Memoriam A. H. H. OBIIT MDCCCXXXIII: [Prelude]

By Alfred, Lord Tennyson 1809–1892 Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Strong Son of God, immortal Love,
         Whom we, that have not seen thy face,
         By faith, and faith alone, embrace,
Believing where we cannot prove;

Thine are these orbs of light and shade;
         Thou madest Life in man and brute;
         Thou madest Death; and lo, thy foot
Is on the skull which thou hast made.

Thou wilt not leave us in the dust:
         Thou madest man, he knows not why,
         He thinks he was not made to die;
And thou hast made him: thou art just.

Thou seemest human and divine,
         The highest, holiest manhood, thou.
         Our wills are ours, we know not how,
Our wills are ours, to make them thine.

Our little systems have their day;
         They have their day and cease to be:
         They are but broken lights of thee,
And thou, O Lord, art more than they.

We have but faith: we cannot know;
         For knowledge is of things we see;
         And yet we trust it comes from thee,
A beam in darkness: let it grow.

Let knowledge grow from more to more,
         But more of reverence in us dwell;
         That mind and soul, according well,
May make one music as before,

But vaster. We are fools and slight;
         We mock thee when we do not fear:
         But help thy foolish ones to bear;
Help thy vain worlds to bear thy light.

Forgive what seem'd my sin in me,
         What seem'd my worth since I began;
         For merit lives from man to man,
And not from man, O Lord, to thee.

Forgive my grief for one removed,
         Thy creature, whom I found so fair.
         I trust he lives in thee, and there
I find him worthier to be loved.

Forgive these wild and wandering cries,
         Confusions of a wasted youth;
         Forgive them where they fail in truth,
And in thy wisdom make me wise.

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson 1809–1892

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects Friends & Enemies, Religion, Living, Faith & Doubt, Relationships, Sorrow & Grieving, Death

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Elegy, Series/Sequence

 Alfred, Lord  Tennyson

Biography

More than any other Victorian writer, Tennyson has seemed the embodiment of his age, both to his contemporaries and to modern readers. In his own day he was said to be—with Queen Victoria and Gladstone—one of the three most famous living persons, a reputation no other poet writing in English has ever had. As official poetic spokesman for the reign of Victoria, he felt called upon to celebrate a quickly changing industrial and . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poems by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Friends & Enemies, Religion, Living, Faith & Doubt, Relationships, Sorrow & Grieving, Death

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Elegy, Series/Sequence

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.