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As when, with downcast eyes - Alfred Tennyson


From his early Sonnets in 1872, Alfred Lord Tennyson writes freely about past lives and existence ...


As when, with downcast eyes

As when with downcast eyes we muse and brood,

And ebb into a former life, or seem

To lapse far back in some confused dream

To states of mystical similitude;

If one but speaks or hems or stirs his chair,

Ever the wonder waxeth more and more,

So that we say, "All this hath been before,

All this hath been, I know not when or where".

So, friend, when first I look'd upon your face,

Our thought gave answer each to each, so true ­

Opposed mirrors each reflecting each ­

That tho’ I knew not in what time or place,

Methought that I had often met with you,

And either lived in either’s heart and speech.