In Memoriam A. H. H. OBIIT MDCCCXXXIII: 27
by Alfred Lord Tennyson
I envy not in any moods
The captive void of noble rage,
The linnet born within the cage,
That never knew the summer woods:
I envy not the beast that takes
His license in the field of time,
Unfetter’d by the sense of crime,
To whom a conscience never wakes;
Nor, what may count itself as blest,
The heart that never plighted troth
But stagnates in the weeds of sloth;
Nor any want-begotten rest.
I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
’Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
Summary of In Memoriam A. H. H
- Popularity of “In Memoriam A. H. H.”: Alfred Lord Tennyson, a great English poet, wrote ‘In Memoriam A. H. H.’ It is one of the famous poems about love. It was first published in 1850. There are 133 Cantos in the poem. This is the analysis of 27th The poem is written to honor his friend, Arthur Henry Hallam, who passed away at the young age of 22. It is one of the greatest poems ever written in the 1900s. The poet expresses his emotions while grieving. He complains about the cruelty of nature and temporary life while including science and faith.
- “In Memoriam A. H. H.” As a Representative of Human Nature: The poem accounts for the speaker’s sentiment upon losing his close friend. He takes the readers to consider a prisoner who is put into prison or a bird who is in the birdcage, but it does not mind because it has not tasted the fruits of free life. The poet does not feel envy at them. To him, man and the bird share the same characteristics. A man is psychologically captivated or he is devastated from within. The beauty outside does not attract him at all.
Then he compares himself with psychopath ex-murderer who has no sense to consider the horrific nature of his own crime because his conscience never wakes up. He prefers to be alone and content with his emotions, rather than putting himself in the circle of people and getting stomped. In the final stanza, he says that he has understood the nature of his grief, for inside, it hurts him, but to him, it is better to have felt loved and lost it than to have never experienced this unique emotion.
- Major Themes in In “Memoriam A. H. H”: Sorrow, love, and life are the major themes of this poem. Throughout the poem, the speaker tries to make us understand that when a person is satisfied with his condition, nothing in the world can put him down. To support his argument, he talks about the caged bird, a prisoner, and a psychopath murderer just to make people realize that when a person is into a difficult situation, then the light and glory outside cannot rejuvenate him. Through acceptance, the poet is trying to recover from the pain of losing his dear friend. He adds, although there are many valuable things in our life, yet none of those can replace the feeling and comfort that love provides.
Analysis of Literary Devices Used in “In Memoriam A. H. H”
Literary devices are modes that represent a writer’s idea, feelings, and emotions. It is through these devices they make their few words appealing to the readers. Alfred Lord Tennyson has also used some literary devices in this poem to share deeper meanings. The analysis of some of the literary devices used in this poem is listed below.
- Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line. For example, the sound of /o/ in “I feel it, when I sorrow most”.
- Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line in quick succession. For example, the sound of /n/ in “That never knew the summer woods”.
- Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line. For example, the sound of /th/ in “The linnet born within the cage” and /t/ sound in “The heart that never plighted troth.”
- Anaphora: It refers to the repetition of a word or expression in the first part of some verses. The poet has repeated the words “I envy not” in the first two stanzas of the poem to emphasize the point. For example, “I envy not in any moods” and “I envy not the beast that takes.”
- Enjambment: It is defined as a thought in verse that does not come to an end at a line break; instead, it rolls over to the next line. For example,
“‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.”
- Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. For example, “The captive void of noble rage”, “The linnet born within the cage” and “But stagnates in the weeds of sloth.”
- Symbolism: Symbolism is using symbols to signify ideas and qualities, giving them symbolic meanings different from literal meanings. Here, captive void and linnet “symbolize the speaker’s captivated state of mind.
Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in “In Memoriam A. H. H”
Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is the analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.
- End Rhyme: End rhyme is used to make the stanza melodious. For example, “most/lost”, “befall/all”, “rage/cage” and “moods/woods.”
- Quatrain: A quatrain is a four-lined stanza borrowed from Persian poetry. Here, each stanza is a quatrain.
- Rhyme Scheme: The poem follows the ABBA rhyme scheme, and this pattern continues to the end.
- Stanza: A stanza is a poetic form of some lines. There are four stanzas in this poem, with each having an equal number of verses in it.
Quotes to be Used
The lines stated below are useful when talking about animal rights.
“The captive void of noble rage,
The linnet born within the cage,
That never knew the summer woods.”