When on my bed the moonlight falls,
I know that in thy place of rest
By that broad water of the west,
There comes a glory on the walls;
Thy marble bright in dark appears,
As slowly steals a silver flame
Along the letters of thy name,
And o’er the number of thy years.
The mystic glory swims away;
From off my bed the moonlight dies;
And closing eaves of wearied eyes
I sleep till dusk is dipt in gray;
And then I know the mist is drawn
A lucid veil from coast to coast,
And in the dark church like a ghost
Thy tablet glimmers to the dawn.
In moonlight and daylight, Tennyson dreams, Hallam’s gravestone within the church reflects the light. The dawn light is notable as being seen through mist, which is like a curtain drawn across the land. Nobody sees this but he imagines it.
Some of our daughter’s ashes were scattered in her beloved Cairngorm mountains; and sometimes I imagine the spot, which moves me towards the natural world and away from my own fantasies. Perhaps it did so for Tennyson.