Study Guide

In Memoriam A.H.H. Canto 101

By Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Canto 101

Lines 2117-2140

Unwatch'd, the garden bough shall sway,
   The tender blossom flutter down,
   Unloved, that beech will gather brown,
This maple burn itself away;

Unloved, the sun-flower, shining fair,
   Ray round with flames her disk of seed,
   And many a rose-carnation feed
With summer spice the humming air;

Unloved, by many a sandy bar,
   The brook shall babble down the plain,
   At noon or when the lesser wain
Is twisting round the polar star;

Uncared for, gird the windy grove,
   And flood the haunts of hern and crake;
   Or into silver arrows break
The sailing moon in creek and cove;

Till from the garden and the wild
   A fresh association blow,
   And year by year the landscape grow
Familiar to the stranger's child;

As year by year the labourer tills
   His wonted glebe, or lops the glades;
   And year by year our memory fades
From all the circle of the hills.

  • These natural elements will continue on, even though Arthur isn't there to see them.
  • Even though the garden has no one to watch over it, it will still grow, and the trees will still turn colors with the changing seasons.
  • Despite no one being around to love them, the flowers will still be just as beautiful
  • Pull this idea through the next several stanzas, because what's happening here is that the speaker realizes that even after he leaves this landscape, it will continue to live on. And it will be just as gorgeous and vibrant as it was when Arthur was still alive
  • Eventually, someone else will take over, and all of these sights will be familiar to that person's kid. Wait, what? Who is this "stranger's child" that the speaker brings up in the second-to-last stanza?
  • We don't know at this point. Let's read on, Shmoopers…