Alfred Lord Tennyson

(6 August 1809 – 6 October 1892 / Lincoln / England)

You Ask Me, Why, Tho' Ill at Ease


You ask me, why, tho' ill at ease,
Within this region I subsist,
Whose spirits falter in the mist,
And languish for the purple seas.
It is the land that freemen till,
That sober-suited Freedom chose,
The land, where girt with friends or foes
A man may speak the thing he will;
A land of settled government,
A land of just and old renown,
Where Freedom slowly broadens down
From precedent to precedent:

Where faction seldom gathers head,
But by degrees to fullness wrought,
The strength of some diffusive thought
Hath time and space to work and spread.

Should banded unions persecute
Opinion, and induce a time
When single thought is civil crime,
And individual freedom mute;

Tho' Power should make from land to land
The name of Britain trebly great--
Tho' every channel of the State
Should fill and choke with golden sand--

Yet waft me from the harbour-mouth,
Wild wind! I seek a warmer sky,
And I will see before I die
The palms and temples of the South.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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Comments about this poem (You Ask Me, Why, Tho' Ill at Ease by Alfred Lord Tennyson )

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  • Chris Lane (6/11/2007 7:44:00 AM)

    Quite a brilliant poem, I find these lines in particular, most prophetic,

    Should banded unions persecute
    Opinion, and induce a time
    When single thought is civil crime,
    And individual freedom mute; (Report) Reply

Read all 1 comments »

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