Download In Memoriam Study Guide

Subscribe Now

"There Lives More Faith In Honest Doubt Than In Half The Creeds"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Tennyson, grieving over the death of his friend, Arthur Hallam, imagines himself talking with a woman of uncomplicated faith. The woman, "Sweet-hearted" and compassionate, gently reprimands the poet for all the fears he has had that man's soul dies with him or perhaps succumbs to evil after death. She tells him that "doubt is Devil-born," that lack of faith is a sin produced by the influence of the Powers of Evil. But the poet is uncertain about this statement, and offers the example of Hallam, who accepted no creed blindly, but challenged all beliefs for their validity. This unflinching honesty, in the end, left him with a faith more deep rooted and genuine than he could ever have found by merely accepting a formal system.

Perplext in faith, but pure in deeds,
At last he beat his music out.
There lives more faith in honest doubt,
Believe me, than in half the creeds.