Representative Poetry Online

Random Poem of the Day

2      The holly round the Christmas hearth;
3      A rainy cloud possess'd the earth,
4And sadly fell our Christmas-eve.
5At our old pastimes in the hall
6      We gambol'd, making vain pretence
7      Of gladness, with an awful sense
9We paused: the winds were in the beech:
10      We heard them sweep the winter land;
11      And in a circle hand-in-hand
12Sat silent, looking each at each.
13Then echo-like our voices rang;
14      We sung, tho' every eye was dim,
15      A merry song we sang with him
16Last year: impetuously we sang:
17We ceased: a gentler feeling crept
18      Upon us: surely rest is meet:
19      "They rest," we said, "their sleep is sweet,"
20And silence follow'd, and we wept.
21Our voices took a higher range;
22      Once more we sang: "They do not die
23      Nor lose their mortal sympathy,
24Nor change to us, although they change;
25"Rapt from the fickle and the frail
26      With gather'd power, yet the same,
27      Pierces the keen seraphic flame
28From orb to orb, from veil to veil."
29Rise, happy morn, rise, holy morn,
30      Draw forth the cheerful day from night:
31      O Father, touch the east, and light
32The light that shone when Hope was born.


1] First published anonymously in the volume with this title in 1850, though the 131 sections or separate poems that compose it were written and rewritten from 1833 to the time of publication. Two of the 131 sections were added in later editions: LIX in 1851, and XXXIX in 1872. The poem is in memory of Tennyson's friend Arthur Henry Hallam, son of the eminent historian. Hallam was engaged to marry Tennyson's sister Emily, when he died suddenly of a stroke in Vienna on September 15, 1833, at the age of twenty-two. Although written without any plan at first, the parts of the poem were finally arranged in a pattern to cover the period of about three years following Hallam's death. Tennyson himself insisted that it is "a poem, not a biography .... The different moods of sorrow as in a drama are dramatically given, and my conviction that fear, doubts, and suffering will find answer and relief only through Faith in a God of Love. `I' is not always the author speaking of himself, but the voice of the human race speaking through him."
OBIIT MDCCCXXXIIII: he died in 1833. Back to Line
8] Shadow: the sense that Hallam, who had visited the Tennysons frequently, was silently present. Back to Line