Alfred Lord Tennyson

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

The Higher Pantheism


The sun, the moon, the stars, the seas, the hills and the plains,-
Are not these, O Soul, the Vision of Him who reigns?
Is not the Vision He, tho' He be not that which He seems?
Dreams are true while they last, and do we not live in dreams?
Earth, these solid stars, this weight of body and limb,
Are they not sign and symbol of thy division from Him?
Dark is the world to thee; thyself art the reason why,
For is He not all but thou, that hast power to feel "I am I"?
Glory about thee, without thee; and thou fulfillest thy doom,
Making Him broken gleams and a stifled splendour and gloom.

Speak to Him, thou, for He hears, and Spirit with Spirit can meet-
Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet.

God is law, say the wise; O soul, and let us rejoice,
For if He thunder by law the thunder is yet His voice.

Law is God, say some; no God at all, says the fool,
For all we have power to see is a straight staff bent in a pool;

And the ear of man cannot hear, and the eye of man cannot see;
But if we could see and hear, this Vision-were it not He?

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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  • Rookie Marc T. (1/26/2012 6:34:00 AM)

    This line in the poem: Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet. is often quoted by modern-day mystic Joel S. Goldsmith in his writings and classes, to describe the individual's proximity of oneness with God. It is wonderful to read it in the entirety of Tennyson's poem. (Report) Reply

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