H ‘A Critical Analysis of Tensions In Memorial A. H. H.During the Victorian Period, long held and comfortable religiousbeliefs fell under great scrutiny.

An early blow to these beliefs camefrom the Utilitarian, followers of Jeremy Bantam, in the form of a testby reason of many of the long-standing institutions of England,including the church. When seen through the eyes of reason, religionbecame merely an outmoded superstition (Ford ; Christ 896). If thiswere not enough for the faithful to contend with, the torch of doubt wassoon passed to the scientists. Geologists were publishing the resultsof their studies which concluded that the Earth was far older than thebiblical accounts would have it (Ford ; Christ 897). Astronomers wereextending humanitys knowledge of stellar distances, and NaturalHistorians such as Charles Darwin were swiftly building theories ofevolution that defied the Old Testament version of creation (Ford ;Christ 897).

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God seemed to be dissolving before a panicked Englandsvery eyes, replaced by the vision of a cold, mechanistic universe thatcared little for our existence.Alfred, Lord Tennyson was painfully aware of the implications ofsuch a universe, and he struggled with his own doubts about theexistence of God. We glimpse much of his struggles in the poem InMemorial A. H. H.

, written in memory of his deceased friend, ArthurHallam. The poem seemed to be cathartic for Tennyson, for through itswriting he not only found an outlet for his grief over Hallams death,but also managed to regain the faith which seemed at times to haveabandoned him. Tennyson regained and firmly reestablished his faiththrough the formation of the idea that God is reconciled with themechanistic universe through a divine plan of evolution, with Hallam asthe potential link to a greater race of humans yet to come.In the first of many lyric units, Tennysons faith in God andJesus seems strong. He speaks of Believing where we cannot prove (l.4), and is sure that God wilt not leave us in the dust (l. 9).

Theincreasing threat posed to religion by science does not worry Tensionhere, as he believes that our increasing knowledge of the universe canbe reconciled with faith, saying:Let knowledge grow from more to more,But more of reverence in us dwell;That mind and soul, according well,May make one music as before (1. 25-28).He does anticipate doubt, though, as he asks in advance for Godsforgiveness for the Confusions of a wasted youth (l. 42). Tennysonhere foresees the difficulties inherent in reconciling God with the colduniverse slowly emerging for the notes of scientists.In order to deal with the tasks set before him, Tennyson mustfirst boldly face the possibility of a world without God. In stanzanumber three, Sorrow, personified as a woman, whispers thesedisconcerting possibilities to a grief-ridden Tennyson, saying, And allthe phantom, Nature, stands-.

.. / A hollow form with empty hands (3.9,12). He questions whether he should embrace or crush Sorrow withall her uncomfortable suggestions.Tennyson goes on to face an even worse possibility than a lonelyuniverse, that being the possibility of an existence without meaning. In this view, human life is not eternal, and everything returns to dustforever. God is like some wild poet, when he works / Without aconscience or an aim (34.

7-8). Why even consider such a God, Tennysonasks, and why not end life all the sooner if this vision of God is true(34.9-12)? He answers himself in the next poem, however, as he banishessuch a possibility on the evidence that love could never exist in such areality. What we consider to be love would actually be only be atwo-dimensional sense of fellowship, such as animals must feel, out ofboredom or crude sensuality (35.21-24) The many poems which follow fluctuate between faith and doubt.

In poem fifty-four Tennyson consoles himself with the thought:That nothing walks with aimless feet;That not one life shall be destroyed,Or cast as rubbish to the void,When God hat made the pile complete (54.5-9).Line nine of poem fifty-four definitely assumes a plan for Godscreation, humanity, and an end goal. In the next two poems, however, hereturns to the doubts which a scientific reading of nature inspires, andreminds himself that though nature is So careful of the type (55.7),she is yet careless of the single life (55.

8). This notion ofsurvival of the fittest is extremely disconcerting to Tennyson. Henotices in poem fifty-six the even more alarming fact that many specieshave passed into oblivion, and that humans could very well follow intheir footsteps. This is the mechanistic Nature, red in tooth andclaw, (56.

15) whose existence seemed beyond a care of human lives andhuman needs. No longer were men Gods chosen and beloved, but, on thecontrary, they seemed no more noble than the countless scores of otherlife which had roamed the planet and passed into extinction. Tennysonwrites:O life as futile, then as frail!O for thy voice to soothe and bless!What hope of answer, or redress?Behind the veil, behind the veil (56.25-28).He feels, here, all too well the possibility of our own cosmicinsignificance.The one hope that remains for Tennyson lives in the thought thatevolution might actually be Gods divine plan for humanity. If we have,in fact, developed to our present state from a lower form, then who isto say that development has ceased? Might we not be evolving evercloser to Gods image and divinity itself, leaving behind theSatyr-shape (35.22) and ape-like visage of our ancestors? The factthat we love, as Tennyson mentioned before, separates us from animals.

To support this idea, Tennyson delves into his relationship with ArthurHallam, a figure linking humanitys present condition to the superiorrace yet to come. In poem sixty-four, Tennyson speaks of Hallam,describing him with the words:And moving up from high to higher,Becomes on Fortunes crowning slopeThe pillar of a peoples hope,The center of a worlds desire (64.13-16).In subsequent sections, he speaks of the divinity present in Hallam,seeming to compare him at times even to Jesus, as in poem eighty-four,where he writes, I see thee sitting crowned with good (84.5), and,later, in unit eighty-seven, .

..we saw / The God within him light hisface, / And seem to lift the form, and glow / In azure orbitsheavenly-wise (87.35-37).

Hallam, Tennyson suggests, would have been alink not only between the present race and that which is to come, butalso between a world in turmoil and the God who will restore it topeace. This notion of the division between chaotic nature and anordered divinity is metaphorically expressed through images of thespirit leaving the body (47.6-7), the body, of course, being thephysical entity prone to sickness and weariness, and the spirit as thetranscendent aspect which shall someday be reunited with those in Heaven(47.9-16).

He speaks of the coming of the thousand years of peace (106.28),presumably when the higher race is realized and all institutions havebeen reformed for the common love of good (106.24). It is not yettime, though, for this race to find fruition. He speaks of Hallam asThe herald of a higher race (118.14), suggesting that his friend wasmerely a glimpse of what is yet to come. Humanity must yet Moveupward, working out the beast, And let the ape and tiger die(118.

27-28). In other words, a nature now brutal and cold, careless oflife, will someday become, High nature amorous of the good(109.10-11). These words suggest a slow process, not to be accomplishedin the life of merely one man, no matter how great he may be. Tennysonseems comforted by the contemplation of the golden age to come, though,saying, And all is well, though faith and form / Be sundered in thenight of fear (127.

1-2). Through his contemplation, Tennyson seems tohave renewed his faith that nature has not been abandoned by God, thoughscience would have us believe it so.Finally, after addressing these doubts raised by science, Tennysonturns his sights to the Utilitarian attack on religion. In poem 124, heexplains that one cannot come to God through reason, but must felldivinity.

He writes:I found Him not in world or sun, Or eagles wing, or insects eye,Nor through the questions men may try,The petty cobwebs we have spun (124.4-7).Instead, Tennyson rediscovers his faith through the emotion, saying Ihave felt (124.16). This statement harkens back to the passages inwhich Tennyson speaks of love as the convincing factor that we are notalone, for without God, love would be an excessive and unnecessarydimension, and thus would have no reason to exist at all in amechanistic universe.. His love for Hallam, and the hope that they willsomeday meet again, is thus the tie which holds Tennyson to his faith. Through Hallam, whom Tennyson says, Oerlookst the tumult for afar(127.

19), he knows all is well (127.20).With the epilogue, the private, intellectual wars of In Memoriamconclude peacefully.

Tennyson describes the wedding day of his sisterand suggests that the child resulting from the union will be yet acloser link / Betwixt us and the crowning race…No longer half-akin tobrute (127-28, 133). He reminds us yet again that Hallum Appearedere the times were ripe (139), and thus merely anticipated thatfar-off divine event, / To which the whole creation moves (143-44). Works CitedFord, George H. and Carol T.

Christ. The Victorian Age. The Norton Anthology of English Literature.

Ed. M. H. Abrams.

New York: W. W. Norton and Co., 1993. (pps. 891-910).Tennyson, Alfred, Lord.

In Memoriam A. H. H.. Ed. M. H. Abrams.

NewYork: W. W. Norton and Co., 1993. (pps.

1084-1133).A Critical Analysis of Tensions In Memorial A. H. H.During the Victorian Period, long held and comfortable religiousbeliefs fell under great scrutiny.

An early blow to these beliefs camefrom the Utilitarian, followers of Jeremy Bantam, in the form of a testby reason of many of the long-standing institutions of England,including the church. When seen through the eyes of reason, religionbecame merely an outmoded superstition (Ford ; Christ 896). If thiswere not enough for the faithful to contend with, the torch of doubt wassoon passed to the scientists.

Geologists were publishing the resultsof their studies which concluded that the Earth was far older than thebiblical accounts would have it (Ford ; Christ 897). Astronomers wereextending humanitys knowledge of stellar distances, and NaturalHistorians such as Charles Darwin were swiftly building theories ofevolution that defied the Old Testament version of creation (Ford ;Christ 897). God seemed to be dissolving before a panicked Englandsvery eyes, replaced by the vision of a cold, mechanistic universe thatcared little for our existence.Alfred, Lord Tennyson was painfully aware of the implications ofsuch a universe, and he struggled with his own doubts about theexistence of God. We glimpse much of his struggles in the poem InMemorial A. H.

H., written in memory of his deceased friend, ArthurHallam. The poem seemed to be cathartic for Tennyson, for through itswriting he not only found an outlet for his grief over Hallams death,but also managed to regain the faith which seemed at times to haveabandoned him. Tennyson regained and firmly reestablished his faiththrough the formation of the idea that God is reconciled with themechanistic universe through a divine plan of evolution, with Hallam asthe potential link to a greater race of humans yet to come.In the first of many lyric units, Tennysons faith in God andJesus seems strong. He speaks of Believing where we cannot prove (l.

4), and is sure that God wilt not leave us in the dust (l. 9). Theincreasing threat posed to religion by science does not worry Tensionhere, as he believes that our increasing knowledge of the universe canbe reconciled with faith, saying:Let knowledge grow from more to more,But more of reverence in us dwell;That mind and soul, according well,May make one music as before (1. 25-28).He does anticipate doubt, though, as he asks in advance for Godsforgiveness for the Confusions of a wasted youth (l. 42). Tennysonhere foresees the difficulties inherent in reconciling God with the colduniverse slowly emerging for the notes of scientists.In order to deal with the tasks set before him, Tennyson mustfirst boldly face the possibility of a world without God.

In stanzanumber three, Sorrow, personified as a woman, whispers thesedisconcerting possibilities to a grief-ridden Tennyson, saying, And allthe phantom, Nature, stands-… / A hollow form with empty hands (3.9,12).

He questions whether he should embrace or crush Sorrow withall her uncomfortable suggestions.Tennyson goes on to face an even worse possibility than a lonelyuniverse, that being the possibility of an existence without meaning. In this view, human life is not eternal, and everything returns to dustforever. God is like some wild poet, when he works / Without aconscience or an aim (34.7-8). Why even consider such a God, Tennysonasks, and why not end life all the sooner if this vision of God is true(34.9-12)? He answers himself in the next poem, however, as he banishessuch a possibility on the evidence that love could never exist in such areality. What we consider to be love would actually be only be atwo-dimensional sense of fellowship, such as animals must feel, out ofboredom or crude sensuality (35.

21-24) The many poems which follow fluctuate between faith and doubt. In poem fifty-four Tennyson consoles himself with the thought:That nothing walks with aimless feet;That not one life shall be destroyed,Or cast as rubbish to the void,When God hat made the pile complete (54.5-9).Line nine of poem fifty-four definitely assumes a plan for Godscreation, humanity, and an end goal. In the next two poems, however, hereturns to the doubts which a scientific reading of nature inspires, andreminds himself that though nature is So careful of the type (55.7),she is yet careless of the single life (55.8).

This notion ofsurvival of the fittest is extremely disconcerting to Tennyson. Henotices in poem fifty-six the even more alarming fact that many specieshave passed into oblivion, and that humans could very well follow intheir footsteps. This is the mechanistic Nature, red in tooth andclaw, (56.15) whose existence seemed beyond a care of human lives andhuman needs. No longer were men Gods chosen and beloved, but, on thecontrary, they seemed no more noble than the countless scores of otherlife which had roamed the planet and passed into extinction.

Tennysonwrites:O life as futile, then as frail!O for thy voice to soothe and bless!What hope of answer, or redress?Behind the veil, behind the veil (56.25-28).He feels, here, all too well the possibility of our own cosmicinsignificance.The one hope that remains for Tennyson lives in the thought thatevolution might actually be Gods divine plan for humanity. If we have,in fact, developed to our present state from a lower form, then who isto say that development has ceased? Might we not be evolving evercloser to Gods image and divinity itself, leaving behind theSatyr-shape (35.22) and ape-like visage of our ancestors? The factthat we love, as Tennyson mentioned before, separates us from animals.

To support this idea, Tennyson delves into his relationship with ArthurHallam, a figure linking humanitys present condition to the superiorrace yet to come. In poem sixty-four, Tennyson speaks of Hallam,describing him with the words:And moving up from high to higher,Becomes on Fortunes crowning slopeThe pillar of a peoples hope,The center of a worlds desire (64.13-16).In subsequent sections, he speaks of the divinity present in Hallam,seeming to compare him at times even to Jesus, as in poem eighty-four,where he writes, I see thee sitting crowned with good (84.5), and,later, in unit eighty-seven, .

..we saw / The God within him light hisface, / And seem to lift the form, and glow / In azure orbitsheavenly-wise (87.35-37). Hallam, Tennyson suggests, would have been alink not only between the present race and that which is to come, butalso between a world in turmoil and the God who will restore it topeace. This notion of the division between chaotic nature and anordered divinity is metaphorically expressed through images of thespirit leaving the body (47.6-7), the body, of course, being thephysical entity prone to sickness and weariness, and the spirit as thetranscendent aspect which shall someday be reunited with those in Heaven(47.9-16).

He speaks of the coming of the thousand years of peace (106.28),presumably when the higher race is realized and all institutions havebeen reformed for the common love of good (106.24). It is not yettime, though, for this race to find fruition. He speaks of Hallam asThe herald of a higher race (118.

14), suggesting that his friend wasmerely a glimpse of what is yet to come. Humanity must yet Moveupward, working out the beast, And let the ape and tiger die(118.27-28). In other words, a nature now brutal and cold, careless oflife, will someday become, High nature amorous of the good(109.10-11). These words suggest a slow process, not to be accomplishedin the life of merely one man, no matter how great he may be. Tennysonseems comforted by the contemplation of the golden age to come, though,saying, And all is well, though faith and form / Be sundered in thenight of fear (127.1-2).

Through his contemplation, Tennyson seems tohave renewed his faith that nature has not been abandoned by God, thoughscience would have us believe it so.Finally, after addressing these doubts raised by science, Tennysonturns his sights to the Utilitarian attack on religion. In poem 124, heexplains that one cannot come to God through reason, but must felldivinity. He writes:I found Him not in world or sun, Or eagles wing, or insects eye,Nor through the questions men may try,The petty cobwebs we have spun (124.

4-7).Instead, Tennyson rediscovers his faith through the emotion, saying Ihave felt (124.16). This statement harkens back to the passages inwhich Tennyson speaks of love as the convincing factor that we are notalone, for without God, love would be an excessive and unnecessarydimension, and thus would have no reason to exist at all in amechanistic universe.. His love for Hallam, and the hope that they willsomeday meet again, is thus the tie which holds Tennyson to his faith.

Through Hallam, whom Tennyson says, Oerlookst the tumult for afar(127.19), he knows all is well (127.20).With the epilogue, the private, intellectual wars of In Memoriamconclude peacefully. Tennyson describes the wedding day of his sisterand suggests that the child resulting from the union will be yet acloser link / Betwixt us and the crowning race.

..No longer half-akin tobrute (127-28, 133).

He reminds us yet again that Hallum Appearedere the times were ripe (139), and thus merely anticipated thatfar-off divine event, / To which the whole creation moves (143-44). Works CitedFord, George H. and Carol T. Christ.

The Victorian Age. The Norton Anthology of English Literature.Ed.

M. H. Abrams. New York: W. W.

Norton and Co., 1993. (pps. 891-910).Tennyson, Alfred, Lord. In Memoriam A. H.

H.. Ed. M. H. Abrams. NewYork: W. W.

Norton and Co., 1993. (pps. 1084-1133).

A Critical Analysis of Tensions In Memorial A. H. H.During the Victorian Period, long held and comfortable religiousbeliefs fell under great scrutiny. An early blow to these beliefs camefrom the Utilitarian, followers of Jeremy Bantam, in the form of a testby reason of many of the long-standing institutions of England,including the church. When seen through the eyes of reason, religionbecame merely an outmoded superstition (Ford ; Christ 896).

If thiswere not enough for the faithful to contend with, the torch of doubt wassoon passed to the scientists. Geologists were publishing the resultsof their studies which concluded that the Earth was far older than thebiblical accounts would have it (Ford ; Christ 897). Astronomers wereextending humanitys knowledge of stellar distances, and NaturalHistorians such as Charles Darwin were swiftly building theories ofevolution that defied the Old Testament version of creation (Ford ;Christ 897). God seemed to be dissolving before a panicked Englandsvery eyes, replaced by the vision of a cold, mechanistic universe thatcared little for our existence.Alfred, Lord Tennyson was painfully aware of the implications ofsuch a universe, and he struggled with his own doubts about theexistence of God. We glimpse much of his struggles in the poem InMemorial A.

H. H., written in memory of his deceased friend, ArthurHallam. The poem seemed to be cathartic for Tennyson, for through itswriting he not only found an outlet for his grief over Hallams death,but also managed to regain the faith which seemed at times to haveabandoned him. Tennyson regained and firmly reestablished his faiththrough the formation of the idea that God is reconciled with themechanistic universe through a divine plan of evolution, with Hallam asthe potential link to a greater race of humans yet to come.In the first of many lyric units, Tennysons faith in God andJesus seems strong. He speaks of Believing where we cannot prove (l.4), and is sure that God wilt not leave us in the dust (l.

9). Theincreasing threat posed to religion by science does not worry Tensionhere, as he believes that our increasing knowledge of the universe canbe reconciled with faith, saying:Let knowledge grow from more to more,But more of reverence in us dwell;That mind and soul, according well,May make one music as before (1. 25-28).He does anticipate doubt, though, as he asks in advance for Godsforgiveness for the Confusions of a wasted youth (l. 42).

Tennysonhere foresees the difficulties inherent in reconciling God with the colduniverse slowly emerging for the notes of scientists.In order to deal with the tasks set before him, Tennyson mustfirst boldly face the possibility of a world without God. In stanzanumber three, Sorrow, personified as a woman, whispers thesedisconcerting possibilities to a grief-ridden Tennyson, saying, And allthe phantom, Nature, stands-… / A hollow form with empty hands (3.9,12).

He questions whether he should embrace or crush Sorrow withall her uncomfortable suggestions.Tennyson goes on to face an even worse possibility than a lonelyuniverse, that being the possibility of an existence without meaning. In this view, human life is not eternal, and everything returns to dustforever.

God is like some wild poet, when he works / Without aconscience or an aim (34.7-8). Why even consider such a God, Tennysonasks, and why not end life all the sooner if this vision of God is true(34.

9-12)? He answers himself in the next poem, however, as he banishessuch a possibility on the evidence that love could never exist in such areality. What we consider to be love would actually be only be atwo-dimensional sense of fellowship, such as animals must feel, out ofboredom or crude sensuality (35.21-24) The many poems which follow fluctuate between faith and doubt. In poem fifty-four Tennyson consoles himself with the thought:That nothing walks with aimless feet;That not one life shall be destroyed,Or cast as rubbish to the void,When God hat made the pile complete (54.5-9).Line nine of poem fifty-four definitely assumes a plan for Godscreation, humanity, and an end goal. In the next two poems, however, hereturns to the doubts which a scientific reading of nature inspires, andreminds himself that though nature is So careful of the type (55.

7),she is yet careless of the single life (55.8). This notion ofsurvival of the fittest is extremely disconcerting to Tennyson. Henotices in poem fifty-six the even more alarming fact that many specieshave passed into oblivion, and that humans could very well follow intheir footsteps. This is the mechanistic Nature, red in tooth andclaw, (56.15) whose existence seemed beyond a care of human lives andhuman needs. No longer were men Gods chosen and beloved, but, on thecontrary, they seemed no more noble than the countless scores of otherlife which had roamed the planet and passed into extinction.

Tennysonwrites:O life as futile, then as frail!O for thy voice to soothe and bless!What hope of answer, or redress?Behind the veil, behind the veil (56.25-28).He feels, here, all too well the possibility of our own cosmicinsignificance.The one hope that remains for Tennyson lives in the thought thatevolution might actually be Gods divine plan for humanity.

If we have,in fact, developed to our present state from a lower form, then who isto say that development has ceased? Might we not be evolving evercloser to Gods image and divinity itself, leaving behind theSatyr-shape (35.22) and ape-like visage of our ancestors? The factthat we love, as Tennyson mentioned before, separates us from animals. To support this idea, Tennyson delves into his relationship with ArthurHallam, a figure linking humanitys present condition to the superiorrace yet to come. In poem sixty-four, Tennyson speaks of Hallam,describing him with the words:And moving up from high to higher,Becomes on Fortunes crowning slopeThe pillar of a peoples hope,The center of a worlds desire (64.13-16).

In subsequent sections, he speaks of the divinity present in Hallam,seeming to compare him at times even to Jesus, as in poem eighty-four,where he writes, I see thee sitting crowned with good (84.5), and,later, in unit eighty-seven, …we saw / The God within him light hisface, / And seem to lift the form, and glow / In azure orbitsheavenly-wise (87.35-37). Hallam, Tennyson suggests, would have been alink not only between the present race and that which is to come, butalso between a world in turmoil and the God who will restore it topeace.

This notion of the division between chaotic nature and anordered divinity is metaphorically expressed through images of thespirit leaving the body (47.6-7), the body, of course, being thephysical entity prone to sickness and weariness, and the spirit as thetranscendent aspect which shall someday be reunited with those in Heaven(47.9-16).He speaks of the coming of the thousand years of peace (106.

28),presumably when the higher race is realized and all institutions havebeen reformed for the common love of good (106.24). It is not yettime, though, for this race to find fruition.

He speaks of Hallam asThe herald of a higher race (118.14), suggesting that his friend wasmerely a glimpse of what is yet to come. Humanity must yet Moveupward, working out the beast, And let the ape and tiger die(118.27-28). In other words, a nature now brutal and cold, careless oflife, will someday become, High nature amorous of the good(109.10-11). These words suggest a slow process, not to be accomplishedin the life of merely one man, no matter how great he may be.

Tennysonseems comforted by the contemplation of the golden age to come, though,saying, And all is well, though faith and form / Be sundered in thenight of fear (127.1-2). Through his contemplation, Tennyson seems tohave renewed his faith that nature has not been abandoned by God, thoughscience would have us believe it so.Finally, after addressing these doubts raised by science, Tennysonturns his sights to the Utilitarian attack on religion. In poem 124, heexplains that one cannot come to God through reason, but must felldivinity.

He writes:I found Him not in world or sun, Or eagles wing, or insects eye,Nor through the questions men may try,The petty cobwebs we have spun (124.4-7).Instead, Tennyson rediscovers his faith through the emotion, saying Ihave felt (124.16). This statement harkens back to the passages inwhich Tennyson speaks of love as the convincing factor that we are notalone, for without God, love would be an excessive and unnecessarydimension, and thus would have no reason to exist at all in amechanistic universe.. His love for Hallam, and the hope that they willsomeday meet again, is thus the tie which holds Tennyson to his faith.

Through Hallam, whom Tennyson says, Oerlookst the tumult for afar(127.19), he knows all is well (127.20).

With the epilogue, the private, intellectual wars of In Memoriamconclude peacefully. Tennyson describes the wedding day of his sisterand suggests that the child resulting from the union will be yet acloser link / Betwixt us and the crowning race…No longer half-akin tobrute (127-28, 133).Category: English