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"The Blind Hysterics Of The Celt"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: This elegy was written as a monument to Arthur Henry Hallam, a young man of extraordinary promise and an intimate friend of Tennyson's, who died suddenly in Vienna at the age of twenty-two. The poem records the slow, spiritual progress of Tennyson from his initial depth of personal sorrow to the gradual healing of grief through a sense of spiritual contact with Hallam in a wider love of God and humanity. Through intuition rather than reason, Tennyson has achieved a certainty that the spirit exists divorced from the body, that the spirit survives death. In Part CIX, the poet dwells on the completeness of Hallam's character, analyzing the characteristics of this ideal man. Hallam was original, yet critical; logical and forceful in "impassion'd logic;" a lover of good, yet not ascetic; a passionate, yet pure lover. Hallam had:

A love of freedom rarely felt,
Of freedom in her regal seat
Of England; not the schoolboy heat,
The blind hysterics of the Celt;
. . .
All these have been, and thee mine eyes
Have look'd on: if they look'd in vain,
My shame is greater who remain,
Nor let thy wisdom make me wise.
Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,