Dip down upon the northern shore,
O sweet new-year delaying long;
Thou doest expectant nature wrong;
Delaying long, delay no more.

What stays thee from the clouded noons,
Thy sweetness from its proper place?
Can trouble live with April days,
Or sadness in the summer moons?

Bring orchis, bring the foxglove spire,
The little speedwell’s darling blue,
Deep tulips dash’d with fiery dew,
Laburnums, dropping-wells of fire.

O thou, new-year, delaying long,
Delayest the sorrow in my blood,
That longs to burst a frozen bud
And flood a fresher throat with song.

This is a transitional canto, signifying that now Tennyson is ready to move on, the year seems to move too slowly into New Year. The expectation of new life is symbolised by spring flowers, orchids, speedwell, tulips, laburnum; there is rich colour in the blooms. Tennyson signals his desire to unfreeze and to sing, that is, to make poetry.

I do not remember any similar stage in my own grief. Unlike Tennyson I am an old man with fewer years ahead of me, and no ambitions. I have not experienced the kind of spring revival that he expects here, nor do I hope for it.
















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