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  Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

            from In Memoriam A.H.H.


    I envy not in any moods
        The captive void of noble rage,
        The linnet born within the cage,
    That never knew the summer woods;

    In 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;
        'T is better to have loved and lost
    than never to have loved at all.


The 131 sections, prologue, and epilogue that make up In Memoriam A.H.H. were written between 1833 and 1850 in honor of Arthur Henry Hallam (1811-1833). Tennyson was Poet Laureate of England from 1850 until 1892.

The poem in its entirety can be found, for example, in:

  • Tennyson, Alfred. Tennyson's Poetry: Authoritative Texts, Juvenilia and Early Responses, Criticism. Robert W. Hill Jr., ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1971.

    The above excerpt can also be found in:

  • Williams, Oscar, ed. Immortal Poems of the English Language New York: Pocket Books, 1952.