Tennyson as a representative Victorian Poet.

Alfred Lord Tennyson was a true representative of The Victorian Age

Alfred Lord Tennyson was a true representative of The Victorian Age, the Age of reformation. England named this age after the name of Queen Victoria. England witnessed growth science and industry during this period. The reforms in this period not only affected the social, political but also arts. He was born at Somersby, Lincolnshire in England in 1809. Changes that occurred during this age affected greatly the works by Tennyson. He selected the subjects from medieval legends to classical myths and from domestic lives to the observations from nature. John Keats and other romantic poets greatly inspired his works. He was the master of rhythm. We have seen In ‘Break, Break, Break’ he emphasized the relentless sadness of the subject matter. He turned on the musical quality of words to make it sensitive. The poet lived in a period of scientific advancement and we can see conflict between scientific theories and religious faith. Tennyson represented the Victorian poetry and he preferred dramatic monologue as a mode of expression.

Works:

  • Lady Clara Vere de Vere (1832)
  • St. Simeon Stylites (1833)
  • From Poems (1842):
  • The Two Voices (1834)
  • "Ulysses" (1833)
  • From The Princess; A Medley (1847)
  • In Memoriam A.H.H. (1849)
  • Ring Out, Wild Bells (1850)
  • The Eagle (1851)
  • From Maud; A Monodrama (1855/1856)
  • The Charge of the Light Brigade (1854)
  • From Enoch Arden and Other Poems (1862/1864)
  • Flower in the crannied wall (1869)
  • The Window – Song cycle with Arthur Sullivan (1871)
  • Harold (1876)
  • Idylls of the King (composed 1833–1874)
  • Becket (1884)
  • Locksley Hall Sixty Years after (1886)
  • Crossing the Bar (1889)
  • The Foresters – a play with incidental music by Arthur Sullivan (1891)

Break Break Break contains Tennyson's feelings feelings of nostalgia.

Break, Break, Break

Break Break Break describes feelings of loss. The poem has a strong biographical connection with Alfred Lord Tennyson's life. The poem contains his feelings of melancholy along with his feelings of nostalgia. The poet wrote Break, Break, Break during early 1835, and published in, 1842. This is an elegy that describes the poet’s feelings of loss after his friend, Arthur Hallam died. The poem is extremely simple in form and color.

SUMMARY

Tennyson’s loss is both personal and profound. There is a cyclone of pain rising in the heart of the poet, a storm similar to that of the sea. WhereasThe angler’s boy and the sailor lads are merry. Nevertheless, the poet stands grief-stricken, as the memories of the past gather in his mind.

Break, break, break,

On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!

And I would that my tongue could utter

The thoughts that arise in me.

In the first stanza, the poet says that the torment of his heart as the death of his friend is tremendous. There is a struggle like the struggle of the sea waves on the stormy shores. The question before him is how he can express adequately the thoughts, which occur in his mind.

O, well for the fisherman's boy,

That he shouts with his sister at play!

O, well for the sailor lad,

That he sings in his boat on the bay!

In the second stanza, the poet says that others' lives are full of joy as for the angler’s son and daughter who are laughing and shouting merrily. The poet, on the other hand, is entirely in a melancholic mood. He is restless and grief-stricken at the death of his friend. The poet admires the innocent joy of these youngsters but he is sorry because he cannot share it. The lad of the sailor is also happy and sings in his boat face to face with the magnificence of the sea. However, such joy the poet cannot enjoy.

And the stately ships go on

To their haven under the hill;

But O for the touch of a vanish'd hand,

And the sound of a voice that is still!

In the third stanza, the poet says that the majestic ships are reaching their destinations under the hill. The poet however has no definite plan for his life and he misses his friend Hallam whose voice and touch was so soft and tender. The grief of the poet is terribly intense. The poet mingled the beauty of sound and the beauty of sense. They are nothing but grief personified and they make grief eternal.

Break, break, break

At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!

But the tender grace of a day that is dead

Will never come back to me.

In the last stanza, the poet asks the waves to strike against the seashore and thus repeat this joyful experience, but the poet cannot recall the experience, which he enjoyed earlier in the company of his friend. God had been very kind in blessing him with the tender friendship of Hallam.

How did Shakespeare try to immortalize his Friend W.H.?

Like as the Waves 

In most of the sonnets, Shakespeare referred to his friend a Mr. W.H. though his friend’s Identity is not cleared anywhere that whoever he may be. He might be Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, or Sir Philipp Sydney’s nephew, William Herbert, third Earl of Pembroke.

Shakespeare is talking about the same friend W.H. in Like as The Waves. In the sonnet, the poet is saying that his verse in praise of his friend will make him, immortal despite the cruel hands of time. This poem seems inspired by Golding’s translation of Ovid’s 

Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore,

The very first opening line of the sonnet is introduced with the applied figure of speech simile. Where the poet compares the lives with the waves that come out of from the bottom of the sea and end at the shore.

So do our minutes hasten to their end;

In the second line, the poet said in his positive agreement format that the same way our lives within time continue and end. 

Each changing place with that, which goes before,

He says that nothing has a permanent place in this universe a thing comes and another takes its place after some time. 

In sequent toil, all forwards do contend.

A person in his life span works so hard to achieve the things that he desired all his life and he is feeling satisfied.

Nativity, once in the main of light,

The word nativity refers here to the birth when someone bore and become aware of his life.   

Crawls to maturity, wherewith being crown’d,

A person in his life after birth slowly grows, learns, achieves, and sometimes fails. Sometimes times award him with achievements.

Crooked elipses ’gainst his glory fight,

Time has its own way to perform its duty. The poet says that some bad planets with bad effects can hard and destroy a person‘s life. He has to face various obstacles during his lifetime.

And Time that gave doth now his gift confound.

A time comes in everyone’s life when he feels confused himself. Nobody can understand the ways of life and the way time plays a role in our lives.

Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth

It was time itself that gave us youth and now the time is taking it back. Time is always a continuous process that never stops and never ends.

And delves the parallels in beauty’s brow,

At a time the beauty of youth goes away and we become old and ugly with wrinkle everywhere on face same like earth looks when we delve it with plow. 

Rhyme Scheme: abab, cdcd, efef, gg 

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