TWiki . Edumacation . ElegyOfFaith02 TWiki . { Main | Edumacation | TWiki | Test }
Edumacation . { Home | Users | Changes | Search | Go }
Elegy Of Faith 01 web search for Elegy Of Faith 01

Tennyson has the advantage of Aeschylus, in that he lived in the light of revelation. He lived in a day of spiritual realities. He had the advantage of Job, who, in the pest-house of Uz, was compelled to listen to the false philosophy of his friends. Tennyson suffered within sound of church-bells and Christmas carols, and in the midst of vast spiritual forces and intellectual conflicts. In Memoriam was written during a brillian contest between rationalism, evangelicism, and ecclesiasticism. A new era was dawning in science and religion. It was the day of Sir William Hamilton, Henry L. Mansel, and herbert Spencer in philosophy, of the Brownings and Byron in poetry, of Matthew Arnold and Cardinal Newman in religion. The new science of the universe, a new idea of man, a breaking away from the traditionalism of the Middle Ages, together with a rising passion for humanity, led by such men as Newman and Maurice, mark the Tennyson era. Neither did the poem entirely escape the influence of agnosticism, as taught by Professor Huxley and his school.

There are two voices in In Memoriam, -- a voice of faith and a voice of doubt. They both speak with sincere certainty. It was not easy for Tennyson to believe. Perhaps it were better to say he was not credulous. Faith was won by conflict. One may see and feel the solemn surge of the sea in the progress of his thought. It is the picture of a struggle, a battle scene, in which the soul is the chief figure, the old problems of Aeschylus and Job and Dante reset in aa later age with English thought and scenery, as auxiliaries to the world battle between honest faith and honest doubt. When a man is engaged in the solemn business of thinking, he cannot very well escape doubt. To think is to doubt. Tennyson won his way to a rational recognition of Christian truth. His scepticism is that against life rather than organized religion. He raises and answers the questions propounded by every soul that sufers, and it is this which invests his verse with univedrsal meaning. It is all men's poem.

In Memoriam is an elegy comparable with the sonnets of Shakespeare, Milton's Lycidas, and Gray's Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard. Shelley raises questions over the grave of Keats in his passionate Adonais, Matthew Arnold stirs the deepest emotions as we stand with him in Rugby Chaepl at sunset, listening to the organ notes of his genius, pouring out a tribute to his father, and Ralph Waldo Emerson has given us the singularly touching Threnody on the death of his little son.

In Memoriam is to be ranked with these tender and immortal laments, which do not drop gall but sweetness, distilled from minds which have brewed sorrows. There are a few men who write for all men. Tennyson voices the common experience of suffering humanity. The tears in In Memoriam are our tears. The victory is our victory. We claim the doubts as our doubts, and we seize upon the faith as our faith. Tennyson had a simple, wholesome creed: "There is something which watches over us, and our individuality endures. That is my faith, and that is all my faith."

The poem is built upon a real expericne of resignation, loneliness, and death. It is the common tragedy of love distrubted by circumstances. Death cuts the artery of love and it bleeds. Again we have the old story of friendship, which makes history beautiful and life worth living. It is a repetition of David and Jonathan. Arthur Hallam and Alfred Tennyson were bosom friends. The intellectual companionship and reciprocated affection brought them together by the laws of the higher magnetism. In college, among the mountains, in the city, and by the fireside, they were boon companions. Together they played nd planned and travelled. The Christmas holidays were made increasingly holy by their consecrated affection. They knew and understood each other.

Elegy Of Faith 03 web search for Elegy Of Faith 03

Topic ElegyOfFaith02 . { Edit | Ref-By | Attach | Diffs | r1.1 }
You must register before editing pages or using other extended features on this TWiki system.
Revision r1.1 - 27 Jun 2004 - 09:59 by EliMantel web search for EliMantel
Privacy Policy
Copyright © 2000-2005 by the contributing authors. All material on this collaboration tool is the property of the contributing authors. Collect email addresses here.
Ideas, requests, problems regarding TWiki? Send feedback.