That which we dare invoke to bless;
Our dearest faith; our ghastliest doubt;
He, They, One, All; within, without;
The Power in darkness whom we guess;
I found Him not in world or sun,
Or eagle's wing, or insect's eye;
Nor thro' the questions men may try,
The petty cobwebs we have spun:
If e'er when faith had fall'n asleep,
I heard a voice "believe no more"
And heard an ever-breaking shore
That tumbled in the Godless deep;
A warmth within the breast would melt
The freezing reason's colder part,
And like a man in wrath the heart
Stood up and answer'd "I have felt."
No, like a child in doubt and fear:
But that blind clamour made me wise;
Then was I as a child that cries,
But, crying, knows his father near;
And what I am beheld again
What is, and no man understands;
And out of darkness came the hands
That reach thro' nature, moulding men.
- The speaker claims he does not find God ("He, They, One, All") in natural things: "world," "sun," "insect's eye," or "petty cobwebs" (nor in things human beings do, which last as long and are as fragile as cobwebs in the grand scheme of things).
- Instead, Tennyson finds God in emotions: "I have felt." He compares this to a child crying and through that cry knows that his father is close by.
- Wait a minute. This is the second time the speaker has used the analogy of a baby or child crying. Go back and check out Canto 54 if you don't remember.
- Here, though, the crying doesn't seem so hopeless. There's a father close by to comfort the child.