Study Guide

In Memoriam A.H.H. Canto 122

By Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Canto 122

Lines 2585-2604

Oh, wast thou with me, dearest, then,
   While I rose up against my doom,
   And yearn'd to burst the folded gloom,
To bare the eternal Heavens again,

To feel once more, in placid awe,
   The strong imagination roll
   A sphere of stars about my soul,
In all her motion one with law;

If thou wert with me, and the grave
   Divide us not, be with me now,
   And enter in at breast and brow,
Till all my blood, a fuller wave,

Be quicken'd with a livelier breath,
   And like an inconsiderate boy,
   As in the former flash of joy,
I slip the thoughts of life and death;

And all the breeze of Fancy blows,
   And every dew-drop paints a bow,
   The wizard lightnings deeply glow,
And every thought breaks out a rose.

  • The speaker is becoming ever more optimistic. He wonders if Arthur's spirit was with him when he started to have this change of heart.
  • He may be talking about that moment in Canto 95 when his spirit joined with Arthur's in that mystical moment of spiritual communion. The "flash" in the second-to-last stanza strongly points us in that direction, doesn't it?
  • He's asking Arthur to be with him once again and to be livelier, since now Tennyson is casting off his mournful thoughts.
  • The rose in the final line confirms that his grief is going away and that he's interested in life once again.