11 MAY 1901, Page 15


Srn,—Like so many of your numerous readers, I have been struck with the able and interesting article on the above subject in the Spectator of April 20th. I am glad that "J. M. E." has drawn attention in your issue for May 4th to the personal ex- perience of Tennyson touching this subject. It would appear that some one had been writing to him communicating certain strange experiences while under the influence of antesthetics, and Tennyson, writing from Farringford, Isle of Wight, May 7th, 1874, although disavowing any antesthetical medium, relates his own experience as given by "J. M. E." It is interesting to note also that something of a like experience is referred to in "In Memoriam "—that noblest specimen of modern religious poetry—and particularly in the "Ancient Sage," where he says :—

"And more, my son! for more than once when I

Sat all alone, revolving in myself The word that is the symbol of myself, The mortal limit of the Self was loosed And passed into the Nameless, as a cloud Melts into Heaven. I touched my limbs—the limbs Were strange, not mine—and yet no shade of doubt, But utter clearness, and through loss of Self

The gain of such large life as matched with ours

Were Sun to spark—unshadowable in words, Themselves but shadows of a shadow world."