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THE ELEGY OF FAITH

THE Christian heart responds to the beautiful lament of In Memoriam, because its meditations are universal in significance, its sorrow is not personal but racial. It is a world poem. It contains every string in the heart's harp, which Tennyson has swept with a true Shakespearian touch. Poety is truth clothed and colored by the imagination. Great poems are not created but expressed through the imaginative faculty. Life is the creator of lasting literature, and as life is its inspiration, so is it its test and vindication. Life and literature are inseparable. They are one. Life is the judgment of letters. The common experiences of the race are constantly bringing fresh confirmations up to the great dramatic poems of Prometheus Bound, Job, Faust, and Hamlet, for the simple reason that these issue from the same life in which they find their response. Time never changes the fundamental qualities of human nature.

In Memoriam is Prometheus Bound, not omitting the last part of the great trilogy, the Prometheus Unbound. Instead of the lone rock jutting out from the Caucasus, we have an English home, with its tender associations. A college boy takes the place of the Titan. Instead of a mythical Hercules battling with the black eagles, In Memoriam is inspired by a living faith in a living Christ. It is the Job of English letters, an example of profound suffering. inexplicable grief puzzles the mind and disturbs the faith. It is the drama of the ash-heap repeated. As Job is a soul epic, so is In Memoriam an epic of the innter life. It is the Faust of England, in which the intellect goes forth in quest of some satisfying spiritual experience. It does not go in vain. Long is the search, but rich the reward. Up from the Inferno rises the soul to the Paradiso. Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained are both crowded into these lines which throb with so much emotion.

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