Whatever I have said or sung,
Some bitter notes my harp would give,
Yea, tho’ there often seem’d to live
A contradiction on the tongue,
Yet Hope had never lost her youth;
She did but look through dimmer eyes;
Or Love but play’d with gracious lies,
Because he felt so fix’d in truth:
And if the song were full of care,
He breathed the spirit of the song;
And if the words were sweet and strong
He set his royal signet there;
Abiding with me till I sail
To seek thee on the mystic deeps,
And this electric force, that keeps
A thousand pulses dancing, fail.
Tennyson justifies his rambling poem with its various opinions, by claiming to have been ruled or overruled by hope and love. This does less than justice to the force of his feelings and the boldness of his thoughts. The previous stanza means that this more conventional justification is unnecessary.
The depiction of the vital power human life as this “electric force that keeps/ a thousand pulses dancing” is very vivid.
I was shocked at how rapidly the failing of that electric force could make my daughter into a corpse.