More than my brothers are to me,’—
Let this not vex thee, noble heart!
I know thee of what force thou art
To hold the costliest love in fee.
But thou and I are one in kind,
As moulded like in Nature’s mint;
And hill and wood and field did print
The same sweet forms in either mind.
For us the same cold streamlet curl’d
Thro’ all his eddying coves, the same
All winds that roam the twilight came
In whispers of the beauteous world.
At one dear knee we proffer’d vows,
One lesson from one book we learn’d,
Ere childhood’s flaxen ringlet turn’d
To black and brown on kindred brows.
And so my wealth resembles thine,
But he was rich where I was poor,
And he supplied my want the more
As his unlikeness fitted mine.
I did wonder at his estimate of his love for Hallam as ‘more than’. Here he makes a gracious explanation for his words. He has the most precious love for his brother ( probably Charles, the nearest in age) but his brother is very like him in nature and nurture, while Hallam was different, complementing Tennyson with his peculiar gifts of personality. Again it’s good to notice the brevity and meaningfulness of his phrasing in ‘But he was rich where I was poor / and he supplied my want the more / as his unlikeness fitted mine.’ Alexander Pope would have praised this as “what oft was thought but ne’er so well expressed.”