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St. Simeon Stylites

"St Simeon Stylites" is a poem written by Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson, in 1833 and published in his 1842 collection of poetry. The poem describes the actions of Simeon Stylites, the first pillar saint (a mediaeval Christian movement in which hermits, in the hopes of becoming closer to God, would perch atop tall columns for years, as a form of asceticism), who counts his various physical acts and hopes that he has earned his place in heaven. It captures Tennyson's feelings following the death of a close friend, Arthur Hallam, and contains feelings of self-loathing and regret. The work has ironic overtones that give it the appearance of a satirical work.

This illustration, from a 1901 edition, illustrates the following lines:

"And yet I know not well,
For that the evil ones come here, and say,
'Fall down, O Simeon; thou hast suffered long
For ages and for ages!'"

Illustration: W.E.F. Britten; restoration: Adam Cuerden

See also[edit]