And now: a meditation on death, loss, renewal and teleprompters, with the help of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and the cast of Dark Shadows.
Strong son of God, immortal Love,
Whom we, that have not seen thy face,
By faith, and faith alone, embrace,
Believing where we cannot prove;
Thine are these orbs of light and shade;
Thou madest Life in man and brute;
Thou madest Death; and lo, thy foot
Is on the skull which thou has made.
Thou wilt not leave us in the dust:
Thou madest man, he knows not why,
He thinks he was not made to die;
And thou hast made him: thou art just.
I held it truth, with him who sings
To one clear harp in divers tones,
That men may rise on stepping-stones
Of their dead selves to higher things.
Let Love clasp Grief lest both be drown’d,
Let darkness keep her raven gloss:
Ah, sweeter to be drunk with loss,
To dance with death, to beat the ground,
Than that the victor Hours should scorn
The long result of love, and boast,
‘Behold the man that loved and lost,
But all he was is overworn.’
O Sorrow, cruel fellowship,
O Priestess in the vaults of Death,
O sweet and bitter in a breath,
What whispers from thy lying lip?
‘The stars,’ she whispers, ‘blindly run;
A web is wov’n across the sky;
From out waste places comes a cry,
And murmurs from the dying sun:
‘And all the phantom, Nature, stands —
With all the music in her tone,
A hollow echo of my own,–
A hollow form with empty hands.’
And shall I take a thing so blind,
Embrace her as my natural good;
Or crush her, like a vice of blood,
Upon the threshold of the mind?
To Sleep I give my powers away;
My will is bondsman to the dark;
I sit within a helmless bark,
And with my heart I muse and say:
O heart, how fares it with thee now,
That thou should’st fail from thy desire,
Who scarcely darest to inquire,
‘What is it makes me beat so low?’
Dark house, by which once more I stand
Here in the long unlovely street,
Doors, where my heart was used to beat
So quickly, waiting for a hand,
A hand that can be clasp’d no more —
Behold me, for I cannot sleep,
And like a guilty thing I creep
At earliest morning to the door.
Tears of the widower, when he sees
A late-lost form that sleep reveals,
And moves his doubtful arms, and feels
Her place is empty, fall like these.
Come, Time, and teach me, many years,
I do not suffer in a dream;
For now so strange do these things seem,
Mine eyes have leisure for their tears.
But where the path we walk’d began
To slant the fifth autumnal slope,
As we descended following Hope,
There sat the Shadow fear’d of man;
Who broke our fair companionship,
And spread his mantle dark and cold,
And wrapt thee formless in the fold,
And dull’d the murmur on thy lip,
And bore thee where I could not see
Nor follow, tho’ I walk in haste,
And think, that somewhere in the waste
The Shadow sits and waits for me.
I envy not in any moods
The captive void of noble rage,
The linnet born within the cage,
That never knew the summer woods:
I envy not the beast that takes
His license in the field of time,
Unfetter’d by the sense of crime,
To whom a conscience never wakes;
Nor, what may count itself as blest,
The heart that never plighted troth
But stagnates in the weeds of sloth;
Nor any want-begotten rest.
I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
Forgive my grief for one removed,
Thy creature, whom I found so fair.
I trust he lives in thee, and there
I find him worthier to be loved.
Forgive these wild and wandering cries,
Confusions of a wasted youth;
Forgive them where they fail in truth,
And in thy wisdom make me wise.
Tomorrow: Ex Wife.
Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:
Professor Stokes says that nine people have had the Dream Curse. It’s ten, actually — Maggie, Jeff, Dr. Lang, Julia, Mrs. Johnson, David, Willie, Carolyn, Stokes and now Sam.
During Sam’s death scene, Maggie tells Vicki, “He’s talking about that riddle he had in the dream.”
When Professor Stokes drops his stickpin in the Evans cottage, it falls face down. It’s lying face up in a later shot.
Behind the Scenes:
Despite appearances, this is not actually David Ford’s last episode; he’ll appear one more time as Sam’s ghost, a couple weeks from now.
Kathryn Leigh Scott, in her book My Scrapbook Memories of Dark Shadows, tells an amusing story about this episode:
“Both actors who played Pop had difficulty remembering lines and therefore relied heavily on the Teleprompter. Toward the end of his days, the second Pop became blind which necessitated wearing dark glasses, the better for the actor to read the Teleprompter undetected. Finally the episode came when Maggie stood at Pop’s hospital bedside, his death at hand. Ross Skipper, the big red-headed camera man, wheeled in closer and struck his camera base on the end of the hospital bed causing the Teleprompter to fall off and crash to the floor. Pop sat bolt upright in bed and hollered, ‘Where is it?’ Maggie just reached out a firm hand, gripped his shoulder and shoved him back against the pillows saying, ‘Never mind, Pop. It’s going to be OK.’ Pop expired without saying another word.”
Scrapbook Memories was written in 1986, several years before Dark Shadows episodes were sold on VHS, so we didn’t realize at the time that this anecdote was entirely made up. None of that happened.
Tomorrow: Ex Wife.
— Danny Horn