Part of the Interviews and Recollections book series (IR)
Tony and I went to Westminster Abbey to pay our last tribute to the poet. We arrived early, but already found a great crush for the funeral; and were relieved to hear the friendly voice of Alma-Tadema1 calling to us over his shoulder to keep near him that we might sit together. We had special places, but were much jostled in trying to reach them. Jarring cries came to our cloister from the streets; shrill voices of vendors, ‘ “Crossing the Bar”—sixpence a copy’, ‘Here’s the latest photograph of Lord Tennyson.’ At last we entered the Abbey and, escaped these out-of-tune noises. We were near the dark opening in the floor; a bust of Longfellow close by. The glow from a stained glass window threw a soft flush on the face of Evangeline’s creator—the only fleck of colour I could see in that forest of grey stone and livid marble. At last the great bell boomed and the organ and choir softly sounded through the Abbey:
Sunset and Evening Star,
And one clear call for me.
And may there be no moaning at the bar,
When I put out to sea.
© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1983