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Canto XXI

I sing to him that rests below,    And, since the grasses round me wave,    I take the grasses of the grave, And make them pipes whereon to blow.

The traveller hears me now and then,    And sometimes harshly will he speak:    "This fellow would make weakness weak, And melt the waxen hearts of men."

Another answers, "Let him be,    He loves to make parade of pain    That with his piping he may gain The praise that comes to constancy."

A third is wroth: "Is this an hour    For private sorrow's barren song,    When more and more the people throng The chairs and thrones of civil power?

"A time to sicken and to swoon,    When Science reaches forth her arms    To feel from world to world, and charms Her secret from the latest moon?"

Behold, ye speak an idle thing:    Ye never knew the sacred dust:    I do but sing because I must, And pipe but as the linnets sing:

And one is glad; her note is gay,    For now her little ones have ranged;    And one is sad; her note is changed, Because her brood is stol'n away.

-Alfred Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam A. H. H., Canto XXI

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