A PILGRIMAGE THROUGH ‘IN MEMORIAM’ 60

O Sorrow, wilt thou live with me
No casual mistress, but a wife,
My bosom-friend and half of life;
As I confess it needs must be;


O Sorrow, wilt thou rule my blood,
Be sometimes lovely like a bride,
And put thy harsher moods aside,
If thou wilt have me wise and good.


My centred passion cannot move,
Nor will it lessen from to-day;
But I’ll have leave at times to play
As with the creature of my love;


And set thee forth, for thou art mine,
With so much hope for years to come,
That, howsoe’er I know thee, some
Could hardly tell what name were thine.

This invitation for sorrow to become an ordinary companion in life is a sign of the maturity that Tennyson has gained in his grieving: he is moving on with his sorrow, not leaving it behind but living with it. He knows that sorrow can gentle and discipline his feelings, allowing him leave to ‘play’.

He commits himself to do justice to Hallam’s character, which he fails to do overall, in my estimation, because he is more concerned with his own feelings and faith, than with the public reputation of his friend. Nobody would read In MEMORIAM to find out about Hallam.

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