Tennyson’s “Love and Death”

The poem opens in Paradise, a reference to the Garden of Eden. Love – the fruit of the Tree of Life – meets Death – lurking beneath the Tree of Knowledge, who forces Love to leave (as it is a Post-Lapsarian world – a world after the Fall). Love reluctantly lets Death have his moment, but points out that Death is only a shadow of Life, cast in the presence of the light of Love. In time, Life will pass, and with it so will Death, and all that will remain is the eternal light of Love.

I recently came across this poem (written c. 1830) in an anthology of Tennyson’s poems published in 1869 which I found in a second-hand book store in Melbourne.

Although over 150 years old, the pages of the book remain in lovely near mint condition. However, the green leather binding is worn especially between the spine and covers. The book is decorated with gold-tooled ornamentation and the gilding, including on the edges of the pages retain their lustre.

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