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Sonnet to J. M. K.

First printed in 1830, not in 1833.

This sonnet was addressed to John Mitchell Kemble, the well-known Editor of the 'Beowulf' and other Anglo-Saxon poems. He intended to go into the Church, but was never ordained, and devoted his life to early English studies. See memoir of him in 'Dict, of Nat. Biography'.

My hope and heart is with thee--thou wilt be A latter Luther, and a soldier-priest To scare church-harpies from the master's feast; Our dusted velvets have much need of thee: Thou art no Sabbath-drawler of old saws, Distill'd from some worm-canker'd homily; But spurr'd at heart with fieriest energy To embattail and to wall about thy cause With iron-worded proof, hating to hark The humming of the drowsy pulpit-drone Half God's good sabbath, while the worn-out clerk Brow-beats his desk below. Thou from a throne Mounted in heaven wilt shoot into the dark Arrows of lightnings. I will stand and mark.


Lord Alfred Tennyson

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