Study Guide

In Memoriam A.H.H. Canto 15

By Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Canto 15

Lines 321-340

To-night the winds begin to rise
   And roar from yonder dropping day:
   The last red leaf is whirl'd away,
The rooks are blown about the skies;

The forest crack'd, the waters curl'd,
   The cattle huddled on the lea;
   And wildly dash'd on tower and tree
The sunbeam strikes along the world:

And but for fancies, which aver
   That all thy motions gently pass
   Athwart a plane of molten glass,
I scarce could brook the strain and stir

That makes the barren branches loud;
   And but for fear it is not so,
   The wild unrest that lives in woe
Would dote and pore on yonder cloud

That rises upward always higher,
   And onward drags a labouring breast,
   And topples round the dreary west,
A looming bastion fringed with fire.

  • Time's passing, gang. We now appear to be heading into winter. The "last red leaf" (remember Canto 11?) has blown away and the branches are barren of leaves.
  • And that whole "calm despair" thing from back in line 256? That seems to have gone right out the window. The speaker now has a "wild unrest" that is caused by his "woe" (sadness).