Feeling dejected and unable to sleep, Tennyson rereads letters he has received from his dead friend, Arthur Hallam, in stanza 95 of In Memoriam A. H. H. (1850). Tennyson's elegy is written in first-person and the narrator is the poet himself, just as in "Dejection: An Ode". Like Coleridge, Tennyson finds himself reminiscing about the past when he is dejected. Upon rereading Hallam's letters, Tennyson enters a trance and feels his friend's soul flash on his own, winding them together. Tennyson finds that his solution is the same one as Coleridge's; relief from dejection can be found in a person outside of the poet. This person is his dead friend, who has never truly died in memory and spirit. Like "Dejection: An Ode," section 95 develops from despair to hope. The earlier sense of loss is relieved when the poet reclaims something in the other person.

While Tennyson is dejected over the tragic death of his close friend, Coleridge is dejected because he has lost his health, youthful joy, and creativity. Coleridge considers loss and death on more personal terms because his own life is in question. Tennyson deals with a more factual and unchangable case of loss and death because Hallam is literally dead. Therefore, the solution both poets arrive at yeild different results. Tennyson, by turning to Hallam, learns to accept his death and make due with what Hallam has left him in the form of letters and memories of time they spent together. This solution, to some degree, is unavoidable because it is the most rational and positive way of dealing with the death of a friend. The poem charts Tennyson's arrival to this somewhat anticipated conclusion. The solution to Coleridge's problem is more complex and, indeed, he does not arrive at a fulfilling answer. For both Tennyson and Coleridge the strongest solutions do not to exist within their poems, but in the actually writing of their poems, as if writing poetry is the best therapy.

Incorporated in the Victorian Web July 2000