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Poetry Archives > In Memoriam Week 7 Cantos 104-131

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message 1: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments We come now to the third Christmas after Hallam's death. The Tennysons have moved, a move which actually took place I think four years after his death, but which Tennyson moved up to prior to this Christmas -- the cantos about the move started in canto 100 where he climbs the hill to look around for a last time to say goodbye to the places he and Hallam knew together, ending

But each has pleased a kindred eye,
And each reflects a kindlier day;
And, leaving these, to pass away,
I think once more he seems to die.

When you leave a place where you lived for most of your life with a loved one, doesn't it seem that perhaps they die for you all over again?

Canto his is the first Christmas after the move, which is why

...these are not the bells I know.

Like strangers' voices here they sound,
In lands where not a memory strays,
Nor landmark breathes of other days,
But all is new unhallow'd ground.

These are new church bells, bells that Hallam never heard, in a land with no memories of him or of earlier days.

This is emphasized in canto 105:

We live within the stranger's land,
And strangely falls our Christmas-eve.

And the passage of time continues to ease the pain of Hallam's death:

No more shall wayward grief abuse
The genial hour with mask and mime,
For change of place, like growth of time,
Has broke the bond of dying use.


message 2: by Clarissa (new)

Clarissa (clariann) | 531 comments Everyman wrote: "Nor landmark breathes of other days,
But all is new unhallow'd ground. .."


In the criticism I read it said the Christmases represent the three cycles of the poem, the first is the past, the second is the present, and this third one is the future.
I came across the phrase 'tender melancholy' which I think captures the sense of this work, the pain of loss, alongside the celebration of love.


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