How does the speaker feel about Celia in In Memoriam?
In the epilogue that ends the poem, Tennyson's speaker celebrates the marriage of his sister Cecilia to Edmund Lushington. The speaker feels that Cecilia is a beautiful and good young woman. He refers to her as the "perfect rose," and tells her husband:
For thee she grew, for thee she grows
For ever, and as fair as good.
In other words, it is expected that the good and lovely Cecilia will devote herself to her husband—a typical Victorian depiction of perfect womanhood.
The speaker also feels paternally towards Cecilia. He must be much older than she is, for he refers to holding her on his knee. He now says that he does not fear her marriage; the speaker has done all he could to shield her from harm, and now he passes her on to a new male protector. Still thinking in patriarchal terms, he imagines the child that she will have will bring them closer to heaven. The poem ends on an optimistic note as the speaker describes a world under God's order.
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