Elizabeth Gaskell’s The Moorland Cottage Ch. 6 Annotation – Tennyson’s In Memoriam

Gaskell Blog © Katherine C.

She sometimes longed to go to Mr. Buxton and tell him how much she could sympathize with him, if his dislike to her engagement arose from thinking her unworthy of his son. Frank’s character seemed to her grand in its promise. With vehement impulses and natural gifts, craving worthy employment, his will sat supreme over all, like a young emperor calmly seated on his throne, whose fiery generals and wise counselors stand alike ready to obey him. But if marriage were to be made by due measurement and balance of character, and if others, with their scales, were to be the judges, what would become of all the beautiful services rendered by the loyalty of true love? Where would be the raising up of the weak by the strong? or the patient endurance? or the gracious trust of her:

“Whose faith is fixt and cannot move;
She darkly feels him great and wise,
She dwells on him with faithful eyes,
‘I cannot understand: I love.'”

The poem quoted is from Tennyson’s In Memoriam, which you can read in full here.

Below is the excerpt where the specific quote is mentioned:


My love has talk’d with rocks and trees;
He finds on misty mountain-ground
His own vast shadow glory-crown’d;
He sees himself in all he sees.
Two partners of a married life–
I look’d on these and thought of thee
In vastness and in mystery,
And of my spirit as of a wife.
These two–they dwelt with eye on eye,
Their hearts of old have beat in tune,
Their meetings made December June,
Their every parting was to die.
Their love has never past away;
The days she never can forget
Are earnest that he loves her yet,
Whate’er the faithless people say.
Her life is lone, he sits apart,
He loves her yet, she will not weep,
Tho’ rapt in matters dark and deep
He seems to slight her simple heart.
He thrids the labyrinth of the mind,
He reads the secret of the star,
He seems so near and yet so far,
He looks so cold: she thinks him kind.
She keeps the gift of years before,
A wither’d violet is her bliss:
She knows not what his greatness is,
For that, for all, she loves him more.
For him she plays, to him she sings
Of early faith and plighted vows;
She knows but matters of the house,
And he, he knows a thousand things.
Her faith is fixt and cannot move,
She darkly feels him great and wise,
She dwells on him with faithful eyes,
‘I cannot understand: I love.’


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