A PILGRIMAGE THROUGH ‘IN MEMORIAM’ 128

 

And all is well, tho’ faith and form
Be sunder’d in the night of fear;
Well roars the storm to those that hear
A deeper voice across the storm,


Proclaiming social truth shall spread,
And justice, ev’n tho’ thrice again
The red fool-fury of the Seine
Should pile her barricades with dead.


But ill for him that wears a crown,
And him, the lazar, in his rags:
They tremble, the sustaining crags;
The spires of ice are toppled down,


And molten up, and roar in flood;
The fortress crashes from on high,
The brute earth lightens to the sky,
And the great Æon sinks in blood,


And compass’d by the fires of Hell;
While thou, dear spirit, happy star,
O’erlook’st the tumult from afar,
And smilest, knowing all is well.

This is difficult because it remains vague: specific scenes are imagined but there is no coherence in the overall picture.

We can assume Tennyson foresees conflict of social classes and perhaps of nations. It may have social truth and justice as its watchword, but bring ill to king and beggar alike. The civilisation is breaking up in chaos, as this Aeon (since the Renaissance perhaps, or since Christ?) ends in violence.

Still, Hallam knows that all is well.

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