In Memoriam "Nature, Red In Tooth And Claw"
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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"Nature, Red In Tooth And Claw"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Attempting to analyze the validity of human faith in the final triumph of good, the poet examines the position man occupies on earth and wonders if the natural scheme of which he is a part is somehow in opposition to God. It seems to him that although Nature has created man as her highest achievement, she knows nothing of his spirit and of his spiritual hunger to communicate with God. Nature is without sympathy–she has no consideration for the individual's life and even allows species to die away. The law of Nature is struggle for life, animal killing animal for mere survival; but even in this environment men develop faith in God and in his love.

Man, her last work, who seem'd so fair,
Such splendid purpose in his eyes,
Who roll'd the psalm to wintry skies,
Who built him fanes of fruitless prayer,
Who trusted God was love indeed
And love Creation's final law–
Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw
With ravine, shriek'd against his creed. . . .