March 13, 2011

In Memoriam A. H. H. , Section 5

I sometimes hold it half a sin
To put in words the grief I feel;
For words, like Nature, half reveal
And half conceal the Soul within.

But, for the unquiet heart and brain,
A use in measured language lies;
The sad mechanic exercise,
Like dull narcotics, numbing pain.

In words, like weeds, I'll wrap me o'er,
Like coarsest clothes against the cold;
But that large grief which these enfold
Is given outline and no more.

---Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

Tennyson wrote In Memoriam, which consists of 133 sections; A. H. H. stands for Arthur Henry Hallam. Hallam was a close friend of Tennyson's who was also engaged to Tennyson's sister. He died before the wedding at the age of 22.

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