Tenebrae seems to be Geoffrey Hill`s most purely beautiful writing in a return to traditional, rhymed forms, especially the sonnet. For that very reason some critics see Tenebrae as "disappointing" and "Hill`s least successful volume." They find the poems of Tenebrae too burnished, too finished, too relaxed in their form, where the earlier poetry exploits "crises" of meaning and syntax to expose the duplicities of language. To sum up, the negative responses to this volume stress such qualities as formality, artifice, obliquity, and above all, a sense of "distance." One more quality to those is Tenebrae`s musical and ritual element. Hill himself is tempted by music, and his inspiration often comes from music. Then music is central especially in Tenebrae. The ritualistic qualities of the first two sequences, "The Pentecost Castle" and "Lachrimae or Seven tears figured in seven passionate Pavans" seem to place the poems at a certain cultural and emotional remove. On the other hand, "An Apology for the Revival of Christian Architecture in England" is dense with the particulars of specific historical moments. Also, "A Pre-Raphaelite Notebook," "Terribilis Est Locus Iste," "Christmas Tree," and "Tenebrae" reveal that Hill may be unwilling to settle into a harmony that is purely formal, aesthetic and secular. It is hard to determine how both his passion for music and his suspicion of it in verbal art work together. Thus this study will pursue Hill`s seemingly contradictory attitudes towards music, and Tenebrae`s movement from the tempting music down to the ambiguous poetry. The poems of Tenebrae, from "The Pentecost Castle" to the "Tenebrae" sequence, chart the history of humanity`s struggle to overcome the darkness of Christ`s absence with the possibilities of language.