Study Guide

In Memoriam A.H.H. Canto 31

By Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Canto 31

Lines 637-652

When Lazarus left his charnel-cave,
   And home to Mary's house return'd,
   Was this demanded—if he yearn'd
To hear her weeping by his grave?

"Where wert thou, brother, those four days?"
   There lives no record of reply,
   Which telling what it is to die
Had surely added praise to praise.

From every house the neighbours met,
   The streets were fill'd with joyful sound,
   A solemn gladness even crown'd
The purple brows of Olivet.

Behold a man raised up by Christ!
   The rest remaineth unreveal'd;
   He told it not; or something seal'd
The lips of that Evangelist.

  • It's now apparently Bible Story Time: Tennyson talks about how Lazarus was raised from the dead by Jesus.
  • This may be significant, since it's a big symbol of resurrection in the Bible, and a testament to Jesus's power.
  • But there's also something kind of sinister here. When Mary asks her brother where he has been for the last four days, he doesn't answer.
  • There's a sense that Tennyson really would have appreciated if this gap were filled in.