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Tennyson, Alfred Lord - The Two Voices - Yet how should I for certain hold Because my memory is so cold

Identifier

010301

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

A description of the experience

Alfred Lord Tennyson – from The Two Voices

Yet how should I for certain hold
Because my memory is so cold
That I first was in human mould?

I cannot make this matter plain
But I would shoot, howe'er in vain
A random arrow from the brain

It may be that no life is found
Which only to one engine bound
Falls off, but cycles always round

As old mythologies relate
Some draught of Lethe might await
The slipping through from state to state

As here we find in trances, men
Forget the dream that happens then,
Until they fall in trance again

So might we, if our state were such
As one before, remember much
For those two likes might meet and touch

But if I lapsed from nobler place
Some legend of a fallen race
Alone might hint of my disgrace

Some vague emotion of delight
In gazing up an Alpine height
Some yearning toward the lamps of night;

Or if through lower lives I came
Though all experience past became
Consolidate in mind and frame

I might forget my weaker lot
For is not our first year forgot?
The haunts of memory echo not.

And men, whose reason long was blind,
From cells of madness unconfined
Oft lose whole years of darker mind

Much more, if first I floated free
As naked essence must I be
Incompetent of memory

For memory dealing but with time
And he with matter, could she climb
Beyond her own material prime?

Morever, something is or seems
That touches me with mystic gleams
Like glimpses of forgotten dreams

Of something felt, like something here
Of something done, I know not where
Such as no language may declare

The source of the experience

Tennyson, Alfred Lord

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