Study Guide

In Memoriam A.H.H. Canto 72

By Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Canto 72

Lines 1337-1364

Risest thou thus, dim dawn, again,
   And howlest, issuing out of night,
   With blasts that blow the poplar white,
And lash with storm the streaming pane?

Day, when my crown'd estate begun
   To pine in that reverse of doom,
   Which sicken'd every living bloom,
And blurr'd the splendour of the sun;

Who usherest in the dolorous hour
   With thy quick tears that make the rose
   Pull sideways, and the daisy close
Her crimson fringes to the shower;

Who might'st have heaved a windless flame
   Up the deep East, or, whispering, play'd
   A chequer-work of beam and shade
Along the hills, yet look'd the same.

As wan, as chill, as wild as now;
   Day, mark'd as with some hideous crime,
   When the dark hand struck down thro' time,
And cancell'd nature's best: but thou,

Lift as thou may'st thy burthen'd brows
   Thro' clouds that drench the morning star,
   And whirl the ungarner'd sheaf afar,
And sow the sky with flying boughs,

And up thy vault with roaring sound
   Climb thy thick noon, disastrous day;
   Touch thy dull goal of joyless gray,
And hide thy shame beneath the ground.

  • The speaker is in an especially despairing mood on this day, which appears to be the anniversary of Arthur's death.
  • It's a day when Tennyson's "crown'd estate" began to "pine in that reverse of doom." So, this is the day when his intellect or mind began to sorrow for Arthur's death—to the extent that flowers aren't pretty for him anymore and the sun has basically gone out.
  • He also describes it as a day that is "mark'd as with some hideous crime." Because of this, he just wants to get this day over with as fast as he possibly can.