If any vague desire should rise,
That holy Death ere Arthur died
Had moved me kindly from his side,
And dropt the dust on tearless eyes;
Then fancy shapes, as fancy can,
The grief my loss in him had wrought,
A grief as deep as life or thought,
But stay’d in peace with God and man.
I make a picture in the brain;
I hear the sentence that he speaks;
He bears the burthen of the weeks
But turns his burthen into gain.
His credit thus shall set me free;
And, influence-rich to soothe and save,
Unused example from the grave
Reach out dead hands to comfort me.
Supposing he had died rather than Hallam, Tennyson imagines his friend would have had as much grief as himself but expressed more calmly, which enables him to feel greater calm without guilt. I believe that some bereaved people refuse to allow their grief to mature because they feel they would be showing less love for their dear dead. I am no longer disabled by grief for our daughter, but the thought of her sometimes still makes me weep. I know she would tell me to get on with life and to weep for the daily injustices of society.