Study Guide

In Memoriam A.H.H. Canto 125

By Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Canto 125

Lines 2641-2656

Whatever I have said or sung,
   Some bitter notes my harp would give,
   Yea, tho' there often seem'd to live
A contradiction on the tongue,

Yet Hope had never lost her youth;
   She did but look through dimmer eyes;
   Or Love but play'd with gracious lies,
Because he felt so fix'd in truth:

And if the song were full of care,
   He breathed the spirit of the song;
   And if the words were sweet and strong
He set his royal signet there;

Abiding with me till I sail
   To seek thee on the mystic deeps,
   And this electric force, that keeps
A thousand pulses dancing, fail.

  • If Tennyson has previously said bitter things in this poem, he never really lost hope.
  • His song might have been "full of care," but it was just because Arthur was breathing his spirit into Tennyson's poetry—kind of like the Muses that the speaker returns to over and over again.
  • Arthur will be with him until he reunites with his friend in "the mystic deeps," which is poetic speak for the afterlife.
  • And how is he going to get there? He's going to "sail," of course. This parallels the bark (boat) that brought Arthur's body from Vienna to England.