We leave the well-beloved place
Where first we gazed upon the sky;
The roofs, that heard our earliest cry,
Will shelter one of stranger race.
We go, but ere we go from home,
As down the garden-walks I move,
Two spirits of a diverse love
Contend for loving masterdom.
One whispers, `Here thy boyhood sung
Long since its matin song, and heard
The low love-language of the bird
In native hazels tassel-hung.’
The other answers, `Yea, but here
Thy feet have stray’d in after hours
With thy lost friend among the bowers,
And this hath made them trebly dear.’
These two have striven half the day,
And each prefers his separate claim,
Poor rivals in a losing game,
That will not yield each other way.
I turn to go: my feet are set
To leave the pleasant fields and farms;
They mix in one another’s arms
To one pure image of regret.
And just when I have written that Tennyson may have considered birds incapable of love, here he writes of the ‘low love- language’ of a bird. This may be the mating song of the bird, rather than any love of its ecosystem.
He notes two aspects of his love of the place: a love of the landscape itself; and a love for places he had visited with his late friend. As can be seen from my note on the previous canto, I know these two categories of love.
TO THE READER. Please find the next canto 104 after 108