"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:
Illustration: W.E.F. Britten; restoration: Adam Cuerden
"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!'"