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And ask ye why these sad tears stream?
by Lord Alfred Tennyson

English poet and dramatist, generally considered to be the chief representative of the Victorian age in poetry. Tennyson's major works include his Poems. Chiefly Lyrical (1830); his two volume work, again entitled Poems, of 1842 which includes, alongside rewritten earlier works, the dramatic monologue 'Ulysses', 'Morte d'Arthur' and 'Sir Galahad' - his first pieces dealing with Arthurian legend, 'Locksley Hall' and 'Break, Break, Break'; the novella Princess: a Medly (1847) and his In Memorium A.H.H. (1850), a tribute to his deceased friend Arthur Hallam.

Other major works, this time from Tennyson's second period of creative out put after being made poet laureate, include Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington (1852), The Charge of the Light Brigade (1854) and Maud (1855), what Tennyson referred to as his "monodrama".

He also wrote, in later years, a number of works centred on Arthurian legends, including The Idylls of the King (1859), The Holy Grail and Other Poems (1870) and Gareth and Lynette (1872), as well as some poetic dramas: Queen Mary (1875), Harold (1877), Becket (1884) and, his only prose work, The Promise of May (produced at the Globe Theatre in November 1882). Other important works are Despair (1881), Locksley Hall Sixty Years After (1886), Demeter and Other Poems (1889) and his famous Crossing the Bar (1889). At Alfred's request, his poem "Crossing the Bar," an epitaph of sorts, is always printed last in any collection of his works (our thanks to visitor Cynthia R. for reminding Passions of this oversight).


And ask ye why these sad tears stream?
by Lord Alfred Tennyson

‘Te somnia nostra reducunt.’
  OVID.

And ask ye why these sad tears stream?
  Why these wan eyes are dim with weeping?
I had a dream–a lovely dream,
  Of her that in the grave is sleeping.

I saw her as ’twas yesterday,
  The bloom upon her cheek still glowing;
And round her play’d a golden ray,
  And on her brows were gay flowers blowing.

With angel-hand she swept a lyre,
  A garland red with roses bound it;
Its strings were wreath’d with lambent fire
  And amaranth was woven round it.

I saw her mid the realms of light,
  In everlasting radiance gleaming;
Co-equal with the seraphs bright,
  Mid thousand thousand angels beaming.

I strove to reach her, when, behold,
  Those fairy forms of bliss Elysian,
And all that rich scene wrapt in gold,
  Faded in air–a lovely vision!

And I awoke, but oh! to me
  That waking hour was doubly weary;
And yet I could not envy thee,
  Although so blest, and I so dreary.


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