In "In Memoriam: A. H. H.", Alfred, Lord Tennyson explores his doubts and confusion about things such as death, the afterlife, the meaning of life, and the role of the individual in the world. As in Coleridge's "Dejection: An Ode," the poem serves as medium for his ponderings and sorrows. One theme the two poems contain concerns a poet's moment of contact with an inspirational force. Tennyson experiences this moment when Arthur Hallam's soul touches him as he reads Hallam's letters:

So word by word, and line on line,
The dead man touched me from the past,
And all at once it seemed at last
The living soul was flashed on mine,
And mine in this was wound. (Section 95, ll. 33-37)

Tennyson experiences the moment, Coleridge longs for it:

Those sounds which oft have raised me, whilst they awed And sent my soul abroad,
Might now perhaps their wonted impulse give,
Might startle this dull pain, and make it move and live! (lines17-20)

Both authors make themselves the speaker, and acknowlege the personal nature of the thoughts. Coleridge and Tennyson speak of losses in their lives, deaths of parts of themselves.


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