When I contemplate all alone The life that had been thine below, And fix my thoughts on all the glow To which thy crescent would have grown;
I see thee sitting crown'd with good, A central warmth diffusing bliss In glance and smile, and clasp and kiss, On all the branches of thy blood;
Thy blood, my friend, and partly mine; For now the day was drawing on, When thou should'st link thy life with one Of mine own house, and boys of thine
Had babbled "Uncle" on my knee; But that remorseless iron hour Made cypress of her orange flower, Despair of Hope, and earth of thee.
I seem to meet their least desire, To clap their cheeks, to call them mine. I see their unborn faces shine Beside the never-lighted fire.
I see myself an honor'd guest, Thy partner in the flowery walk Of letters, genial table-talk, Or deep dispute, and graceful jest;
While now thy prosperous labor fills The lips of men with honest praise, And sun by sun the happy days Descend below the golden hills
With promise of a morn as fair, And all the train of bounteous hours Conduct by paths of growing powers, To reverence and the silver hair;
Till slowly worn her earthly robe, Her lavish mission richly wrought, Leaving great legacies of thought, Thy spirit should fail from off the globe;
What time mine own might also flee, As link'd with thine in love and fate, And, hovering o'er the dolorous strait To the other shore, involved in thee,
Arrive at last the blessed goal, And He that died in Holy Land Would reach us out the shining hand, And take us as a single soul.
What reed was that on which I leant? Ah, backward fancy, wherefore wake The old bitterness again, and break The low beginnings of content.
-Alfred Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam A. H. H., Canto LXXXIV