Tuesday Poem: “Vivien’s Song” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
‘In Love, if Love be Love, if Love be ours,
Faith and unfaith can ne’er be equal powers:
Unfaith in aught is want of faith in all.
‘It is the little rift within the lute,
That by and by will make the music mute,
And ever widening slowly silence all.
‘The little rift within the lover’s lute
Or little pitted speck in garnered fruit,
That rotting inward slowly moulders all.
‘It is not worth the keeping: let it go:
But shall it? answer, darling, answer, no.
And trust me not at all or all in all.’
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1809-1892
I enjoy this poem for a number of reasons: because it is part of Tennyson’s Arthurian cycle, which includes the Morte d’Arthur, and because of the word play with meaning and double meaning (eg unfaith as ‘faithlessness’ or ‘lack of trust’, or both, as well as of question and answer within the poem. Fun and clever: “I like.”
Alfred, Lord Tennyson was Poet Laureate from 1850 and one of the most notable poets of the Victorian age. To read an online biography. click here.
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