I shall not see thee. Dare I say
No spirit ever brake the band
That stays him from the native land
Where first he walk’d when claspt in clay?
No visual shade of some one lost,
But he, the Spirit himself, may come
Where all the nerve of sense is numb;
Spirit to Spirit, Ghost to Ghost.
O, therefore from thy sightless range
With gods in unconjectured bliss,
O, from the distance of the abyss
Of tenfold-complicated change,
Descend, and touch, and enter; hear
The wish too strong for words to name;
That in this blindness of the frame
My Ghost may feel that thine is near.
He continues his insistence on factual truth with the daring conviction that there is never any quasi – bodily presence of a dead person. Rather, the unbodied spirit may be present to an embodied ‘spirit to spirit, ghost to ghost’
An immediate response to Tennyson’s view is that it necessarily rejects most of the gospel stories of the resurrection of Jesus, linking him other liberal believers of his time who wanted to rescue faith from myth and superstition.
The third stanza here has negatives, “sightless, unconjectured’ and positives ‘tenfold complicated’ which emphasise the distance of spiritual reality from worldly imagination. But Hallam’s spirit is not simply present; it must ‘descend and touch and enter’ in response to Tennyson’s wish.
I do not feel this desire, that my dear dead should meet my spirit. Sometimes I feel her presence, but it is companionable rather than revelatory.