Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, MEMORY, by ALFRED TENNYSON



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MEMORY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Memory! Dear enchanter!
Last Line: Along the dun deep streaming.
Alternate Author Name(s): Tennyson, Lord Alfred; Tennyson, 1st Baron; Tennyson Of Aldworth And Farringford, Baron
Subject(s): Memory


MEMORY! dear enchanter!
Why bring back to view
Dreams of youth, which banter
All that o'er was true?

Why present before me
Thoughts of years gone by,
Which, like shadows o'er me,
Dim in distance fly?

Days of youth, now shaded
By twilight of long years,
Flowers of youth, now faded,
Though bathed in sorrow's tears:

Thoughts of youth, which waken
Mournful feelings now,
Fruits which time hath shaken
From off their parent bough:

Memory! why, oh why,
This fond heart consuming,
Shew me years gone by,
When those hopes were blooming?

Hopes which now are parted,
Hopes which then I priz'd,
Which this world, cold-hearted,
Ne'er has realiz'd?

I knew not then its strife,
I knew not then its rancour;
In every rose of life,
Alas! there lurks a canker.

Round every palm-tree, springing
With bright fruit in the waste,
A mournful asp is clinging,
Which sours it to our taste.

O'er every fountain, pouring
Its waters thro' the wild,
Which man imbibes, adoring,
And deems it undefil'd,

The poison-shrubs are dropping
Their dark dews day by day;
And Care is hourly lopping
Our greenest boughs away!

Ah! these are thoughts that grieve me
Then, when others rest.
Memory! why deceive me
By thy visions blest?

Why lift the veil, dividing
The brilliant courts of spring --
Where gilded shapes are gliding
In fairy colouring --

From age's frosty mansion,
So cheerless and so chill?
Why bid the bleak expansion
Of past life meet us still?

Where's now that peace of mind
O'er youth's pure bosom stealing,
So sweet and so refin'd,
So exquisite a feeling?

Where 's now the heart exulting
In pleasure's buoyant sense,
And gaiety, resulting
From conscious innocence?

All, all have past and fled,
And left me lorn and lonely;
All those dear hopes are dead,
Remembrance wakes them only!

I stand like some lone tower
Of former days remaining,
Within whose place of power
The midnight owl is plaining; --

Like oak-tree old and grey,
Whose trunk with age is failing,
Thro' whose dark boughs for aye
The winter winds are wailing.

Thus, Memory, thus thy light
O'er this worn soul is gleaming,
Like some far fire at night
Along the dun deep streaming.







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