Study Guide

In Memoriam A.H.H. Canto 94

By Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Canto 94

Lines 1905-1920

How pure at heart and sound in head,
   With what divine affections bold
   Should be the man whose thought would hold
An hour's communion with the dead.

In vain shalt thou, or any, call
   The spirits from their golden day,
   Except, like them, thou too canst say,
My spirit is at peace with all.

They haunt the silence of the breast,
   Imaginations calm and fair,
   The memory like a cloudless air,
The conscience as a sea at rest:

But when the heart is full of din,
   And doubt beside the portal waits,
   They can but listen at the gates,
And hear the household jar within.

  • Too bad for Tennyson (and any other person who ever hoped this): the dead only come down and hold "communion" with those who are pure in heart and sound in their mental faculties.
  • When you're all worked up, and your heart is fill of noise ("din"), and you're filled with doubts, the spirits will only hang out outside the gates and listen to the noise within the house—bummer.