Verse > Anthologies > Andrew Macphail, ed. > The Book of Sorrow
Andrew Macphail, comp.  The Book of Sorrow.  1916.
XXXIV. Compensation
‘I held it truth, with him who sings’
By Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892)
From ‘In Memoriam’

I HELD it truth, with him who sings
    To one clear harp in divers tones,
    That men may rise on stepping-stones
Of their dead selves to higher things.
But who shall so forecast the years        5
    And find in loss a gain to match?
    Or reach a hand thro’ time to catch
The far-off interest of tears?
Let Love clasp Grief lest both be drown’d,
    Let darkness keep her raven gloss:        10
    Ah, sweeter to be drunk with loss,
To dance with death, to beat the ground,
Than that the victor Hours should scorn
    The long result of love, and boast,
    ‘Behold the man that loved and lost,        15
But all he was is overworn.’…
This truth came borne with bier and pall,
    I felt it, when I sorrow’d most,
    ’Tis better to have loved and lost,
Than never to have loved at all.        20

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