Study Guide

In Memoriam A.H.H. Canto 93

By Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Canto 93

Lines 1889-1904

I shall not see thee. Dare I say
   No spirit ever brake the band
   That stays him from the native land
Where first he walk'd when claspt in clay?

No visual shade of some one lost,
   But he, the Spirit himself, may come
   Where all the nerve of sense is numb;
Spirit to Spirit, Ghost to Ghost.

O, therefore from thy sightless range
   With gods in unconjectured bliss,
   O, from the distance of the abyss
Of tenfold-complicated change,

Descend, and touch, and enter; hear
   The wish too strong for words to name;
   That in this blindness of the frame
My Ghost may feel that thine is near.

  • Alas, Tennyson will never see Arthur again, because the "band," or barrier that separates the living from the dead, has never been broken.
  • He'll not be able to actually see his friend again, although his spirit could return and reach out to the speaker's spirit: "Spirit to Spirit, Ghost to Ghost." So, the only reunion they will enjoy will be a spiritual one, and not a for-reals one.
  • He longs for even this kind of reunion, and pleads with Arthur's spirit to come down and enter his own, so that his spirit can feel Arthur's near.