Still onward winds the dreary way;
I with it; for I long to prove
No lapse of moons can canker Love,
Whatever fickle tongues may say.
And if that eye which watches guilt
And goodness, and hath power to see
Within the green the moulder’d tree,
And towers fall’n as soon as built—
Oh, if indeed that eye foresee
Or see (in Him is no before)
In more of life true life no more
And Love the indifference to be,
Then might I find, ere yet the morn
Breaks hither over Indian seas,
That Shadow waiting with the keys,
To shroud me from my proper scorn.
Tennyson insists that genuine love does not rot with time. But if there is an eternal God who sees that Tennyson’s future contains no true life and that love will become indifference, then he would want shadowy death “to shroud me from my proper scorn” He would reject that sort of future as unworthy. Indeed, there’s just a hint that he would reject such a God as unworthy. His use of the word ‘shroud’ is forceful and elegant.