As one writes, one sees the gentle horse, new-harnessed, turn his head, wistfully wondering at the unaccustomed silence, and gaze upon the burden he has to bear; sees the sad faces of the servants he called friends, pale in the paling light, and one asks oneself while the solemn procession moves up the laurelled grove toward the Aldworth gates, if it has ever been given to a bard, thus fittingly and in all solemn simplicity and grace, to leave his home at ending of an all-golden day, and go toward his rest, by dewfall, beneath the gathering stars. (p. 167)

The Aldworth groves were left behind, and we gained the moor; very dark and black, the Down sloped up towards the lingering sunset light.  Villagers here, and villagers there, in groups, were waiting with bared heads to watch the dumb procession pass in the purple twilight.  Then, while the bats flew overhead, and the pheasants called, and an owl crowed from a far wood, and a beetle hummed across our path, we entered the long oak-canopied hollow way that led us by its mile and a half, or two miles, of autumn-scented leafy darkness down toward the village in the vale. (pp. 167-168)

The fragrance of flowers on the coffin and in the little chaise, that bore these trophies of affection behind it, became under this canopy of boughs and in the heavy dewfall almost overpowering; but, as the darkness fell, the effects of moving light and flickering shade from the lamps on either side the funeral-car were weird and beautiful.  Some one at my side said, “with such a glory gone before we need not fear to follow on.”  They were but the words of an old hymn, but they seemed to have a new meaning for those who followed down that darkened lane. (p. 168)

At the last, from the breathless scented way we emerged, as it seemed almost in sight of the little town, and felt the cool air on our foreheads; saw lights twinkling in the mist, and heard a distant train go thundering by, but our eyes and our hearts were in Heaven, for all the stars had come to say farewell.  There, above the Pleiades, to the east shone the Charioteer, and Cassiopeia sat over, high-lifted in her jewelled chair.  The starry Swan flew at the zenith across or rather up the flood of worlds that mingled in a milky haze.  And over Hindhead, level, and, as it would seem, at rest, the great “Plow” stood; Jupiter hung in mid air magnificent and of solen whiteness, and Mars burned ruddy gold. (pp. 168-169)

We neared the village.  A church bell tolled.  Sadly, I thought of him who was so fond of listening to the bells of Yule from towers “folded in the mist.”  He was going home triumphant; if bells rang, one almost thought they should have pealed their cheeriest for him.  The townsfolk of Haslemere looked from their windows; the saddler put down his awl, the baker left his loaves, and out of their rosy cottage doors the people poured to see the Poet’s home-going. (p. 169)

So, by the village street, with here and there an added few to bear us company and swell with their tramping the sound of our going, we passed along from the lights and lamps to the almost lampless dark.  High on our left, upon the causeway, pattered the children, close by us walked the elders, man and wife, none speaking, all hushed and reverent of mien, till the engine whistle was heard, and the signal lights flashed into red and green.  The station had been reached.  The solemn journey was ended, and the swift train, iron of will, and heedless of heart, bore us far away. (pp. 169-170)

So the Poet was carried from the land of his life and love and labour.  A feeling of fitness mingled with the sorrow.  It was better to leave the Surrey hills when they were muffled in the darkness; easier to say farewell at night than at the morn. (p. 170)

And the engine throbbed and the wheels beat out their rhythmic tune, and so, to a kind of melancholy music, the Singer went through the darkened land of sleep, towards the far-off lurid-lighted town. (p. 170)

It may have been that one was in the mood for such thoughts, but one did not seem to have realized the restlessness of that city, where no sleep is, till, as the train neared Waterloo that night, to bring the Sleeper home, one saw “in heaven the light of London flaring like a dreary dawn,” and felt that there can never fall the night, nor ever quite work cease. (p. 170)

But the train drew up in the station.  Few people knew of its coming.  Not with parade or civic pomp or even with ordinary sign of funereal trapping came “the honoured guest” to be a citizen for ever; but simply and almost unobserved, the coffin with its wreaths of snow was borne quietly to a hooded wain.  Such an one as might ply with living flowers and palms and ferns for some festal occasion; such as I have seen often used to take those wild flowers, the city children, from the slum to country air. (pp. 170-171)

And so, without a plume of sable woe or sign of mourning, stout-hearted horses took England’s flower of song out of the sounding station into the roaring streets, towards the Abbey. (p. 171)

(Memories of the Tennysons, pp. 150-184)