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A Key to Lord Tennyson's 'In Memoriam'   By: (1813-1903)

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A KEY TO LORD TENNYSON'S "IN MEMORIAM."

GEORGE BELL & SONS, LONDON: YORK ST., COVENT GARDEN NEW YORK: 66, FIFTH AVENUE, AND BOMBAY: 53, ESPLANADE ROAD CAMBRIDGE: DEIGHTON, BELL & CO

[Illustration: Arthur H. Hallam. From a bust by Chantrey. ]

A KEY TO LORD TENNYSON'S "IN MEMORIAM"

BY ALFRED GATTY, D.D. VICAR OF ECCLESFIELD AND SUB DEAN OF YORK

LONDON GEORGE BELL AND SONS 1900

First Published, 1881. Second Edition, 1885; Third Edition, 1891; Fourth Edition, 1894; Reprinted, 1897, 1900.

Dedication.

TO THE CHERISHED MEMORY OF THE MOTHER OF MY CHILDREN, I DEDICATE THIS BRIEF LABOUR OF LOVE. A. G.

PREFACE.

When any one has survived the allotted age of man, there is a long past to remember, and a short future to expect; and it is the period of youth which is then found most clearly recorded on the tablets of the brain the days, probably, of school and college, and the first establishment of a self made home.

Middle life, with its work and anxieties, is by comparison only feebly retained; as though there had been found no room for fuller records on the preoccupied mind. But, in the indistinct interval of forty or fifty years, the loss by death of those whom we have loved cannot be forgotten; and when one dearer than any friend is also taken away, then, under such bereavement, may be found an amount of comfort and support in the Poet Laureate's In Memoriam which no other secular writing can supply.

To me, this Poem has been an additional buttress to the faith, which my education and sacred profession had sustained.

When a great mind, at once so speculative and so untrammelled, runs over the whole field of thought, and comes to the conviction that the hope of the Christian is the one sure prospect beyond the grave; this imparts to the mourner a consolation, to which nothing earthly can compare.

My own interest in this great Poem has been farther enhanced by the fact that I and mine, long years ago, enjoyed friendly intercourse with the Poet at Freshwater; and this was afterwards renewed in the lives of his younger son and mine.

The incidents of the Poem have also slightly touched me, inasmuch as I was a contemporary of Arthur H. Hallam, at Eton; and I was in Chapman's house, at Charterhouse, with Edmund Law Lushington, when he was, at a very early age, captain of the school. The associates of Hallam's schooldays I well recall, for they included several who became eminent in the service of the state, and in the ranks of literature; and most of these have now passed away. In Memoriam has thus, in a measure, been the means of recalling my own early youth; and I have felt that the subject of the Poem befitted the study of my advanced life.

The scenery of In Memoriam being principally laid either at Somersby or Clevedon the birth place of the Poet or the burial place of his friend I had long been desirous of visiting these somewhat retired spots; and my wish has at length been gratified.

After sleeping at Horncastle, we drove six miles across a flat uninteresting country, where the fields betrayed signs of agricultural depression, until a short steep descent brought us into a more sheltered and wooded region, where was the sound of running water;[1] and the little old church, with its square stumpy moss covered tower, told us that we were in the village of Somersby

"the well beloved place Where first we gazed upon the sky."

And one could well fancy that the roomy comfortable residence, in which the Rev. Dr. Tennyson reared a large family, was a cherished home, and is still held in fond remembrance.

This house is not the Rectory, though for a long time it was so tenanted: it is rather the Manor House of the Burton family, who for centuries[2] have owned the land and been patrons of the living. The present possessor now occupies it, and he received our visit of interested enquiry with much courtesy and kindness.

The house stands a little back from the road, with a drive to the door which may be called the front entrance; though the principal rooms are behind, and look into the garden... Continue reading book >>




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