Study Guide

In Memoriam A.H.H. Canto 86

By Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Canto 86

Lines 1713-1728

Sweet after showers, ambrosial air,
   That rollest from the gorgeous gloom
   Of evening over brake and bloom
And meadow, slowly breathing bare

The round of space, and rapt below
   Thro' all the dewy-tassell'd wood,
   And shadowing down the horned flood
In ripples, fan my brows and blow

The fever from my cheek, and sigh
   The full new life that feeds thy breath
   Throughout my frame, till Doubt and Death,
Ill brethren, let the fancy fly

From belt to belt of crimson seas
   On leagues of odour streaming far,
   To where in yonder orient star
A hundred spirits whisper "Peace."

  • Tennyson seems to be frolicking through nature here, in the "showers" and "ambrosial air" among the "gloom[s]."
  • Check it out: using an adjective here as a noun is a particular rhetorical device called anthimeria. It basically makes the sentence more colorful and lively.
  • These showers are healing for our speaker; they get rid of his fever and fuel his imagination in the third stanza.
  • After that last canto, where he was struggling to work things out, he's now feeling the cleansing power of spring and experiencing the peace that it has brought.