"Tennyson is a poet of remorse and consolation"- Illustrate the idea with the textual references of "In Memoriam."

Tennyson's long poem "In Memoriam A.H.H." is famous for demonstrating the Poet Laureate's most sensitive qualities. He took over a decade to compose this poem of over 100 stanzas, and, because the subject is the death of Tennyson's deceased college friend, there are countless examples of Tennyson's preoccupation with both the remorse that attends the death of a loved one and how to find consolation for it.

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Tennyson's 1850 poem "In Memoriam" is riddled with tokens of remorse. The poem itself is addressed to Tennyson's close companion, Arthur Henry Hallam (whose initials appear in the poem's full title, "In Memoriam A.H.H."). Hallam had been Tennyson's good friend from school (at Cambridge), and he died prematurely (at the age of 22) from a stroke. Tennyson began composing the poem when his friend died in 1833, and spend the following decade adding to and perfecting it. The poem is both Tennyson's own attempt to get over the passing of his friend, and also his rumination on death itself. The poem comprises 133 cantos each consistent of about five stanzas in iambic tetrameter.

Because the poem is so long, there are countless examples that illustrate both Tennyson's remorseful and consolatory qualities. Remorse is evident in the third stanza, the poet addresses "priestess of death," of whom he asks himself, "And shall I take a thing so blind/ Embrace her as my natural good/ Or crush her, like a vice of blood/Upon the threshold of the mind?" Another poignant illustration of remorse is to be found in stanza 13, where the poet imagines the weeping of widower upon dreaming of his deceased wife. He compares to his own tears the "tears of the widower, when he sees/ A late-lost form that sleep reveals/ And moves his doubtful arms, and feels/ Her place is empty."

As for consolation, in the fifth stanza, Tennyson begins by questioning the utility of words in expressing grief. He eventually concludes that "...for the unquiet heart and brain/A use in measured language lies/The sad mechanic exercise/Like dull narcotics, numbing pain." In the end, Tennyson finds some solace in the act of giving expression to his grief with the written word. Again in stanza 9, the poet imagines sleep providing consolation both to his deceased friend to the speaker himself. Tennyson exhorts the winds to sleep, as follows: "Sleep, gentle heavens, before the prow/Sleep, gentle winds, as he sleeps now/ My friend, the brother of my love."

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