Alfred Lord Tennyson

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

In Memoriam A. H. H.: 45. The baby new to earth and sky


The baby new to earth and sky,
What time his tender palm is prest
Against the circle of the breast,
Has never thought that "this is I":
But as he grows he gathers much,
And learns the use of "I," and "me,"
And finds "I am not what I see,
And other than the things I touch."
So rounds he to a separate mind
From whence clear memory may begin,
As thro' the frame that binds him in
His isolation grows defined.

This use may lie in blood and breath
Which else were fruitless of their due,
Had man to learn himself anew
Beyond the second birth of Death.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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  • Douglas Scotney (10/5/2008 9:15:00 PM)

    I'm confused by 'I am not what I see, And other than the things I touch.' Does he mean: I am not what I see, and I am other than the things I touch, or, I am not what I see, and I am not other than the things I touch. The first is more probable, but the anti-logic of the second appeals. Was he aware of the dual possibilities? (Report) Reply

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