To Tennyson

The Nineteenth Century (1892)

Westminster Abbey
October 12, 1892

(The Minster speaks)
Bring me my dead!
To me that have grown,
Stone laid upon stone,
As the stormy brood
Of English blood
Has waxed and spread
And filled the world,
With sails unfurled;
With men that may not lie;
With thoughts that cannot die.

Bring me my dead!
Into the storied hall,
Where I have garnered all
My harvest without weed;
My chosen fruits of goodly seed;
And lay him gently down among
The men of state, the men of song:
The men that would not suffer wrong:
The thought-worn chieftains of the mind:
Head servants of the human kind.

Bring me my dead!
The autumn sun shall shed
Its beams athwart the bier's
Heaped blooms: a many tears
Shall flow; his words, in cadence sweet and strong,
Shall voice the full hearts of the silent throng.
Bring me my dead!

And oh! sad wedded mourner, seeking still
For vanished hand-clasp: drinking in thy fill
Of holy grief; forgive, that pious theft
Robs thee of all, save memories, left:
Not thine to kneel beside the grassy mound
While dies the western glow; and all around
In silence: and the shadows closer creep
And whisper softly: All must fall asleep.

From Shanklin

March 1, 1887

Dear wife, for more than thirty years
Have you and I, hand clasped in hand,
Sometimes all smiles, sometimes in bitter tears,
Wended our way through the strange land
Of living men; until with silvering hair,
And graver mien and steps more slow,
Adown the strand of age we face
To the still ocean, and beyond time's flow.

True wife, housemother, worn with many cares,
Love's afterglow shall brighten all the years
That yet are outs; and closer still shall be our clasp
Of hands, until they nerveless fall and cease to grasp.

Altr' Arno, Florence

In View of Michael Angelo's David and Galileo's Tower
March 5, 1885

"Thy servant slew the lion and the bear,
Wherefore, O king, he will in no wise fear
The great sword, or the weaver's beam-like spear,
Of this uncircumscised Philistine."

So spake young David, girlish white and red
His beardless cheeks; and from the streamlet's bed
A pebble took, and slung it at the head
Of the blasphemer, big-limbed, brazen-clad.
Aimed deftly and well sped, the hurtling stone
Went straight and sharply through the thick skull bone:
langed helm and shield as huge Goliath fell,
While his dull soul sank homeward down to hell.

    O Tuscan! that eke smote thy Philistine,
    Thy sons fight ever for the cause divine!

Sometime, maybe March 1869, Huxley quoted to Tyndall a poem he had composed when a boy, a "not striking physiological verse":

Labour is worship, so some sage has said
And surely it preserves from many an evil
For though it may not lift to Heaven the head
It keeps the heart from wandering to the Devil!


C. Blinderman & D. Joyce
Clark University