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Alfred Lord Tennyson

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 3 months ago
 (1808 - 1892)
On August 5th, 1908, Alfred Lord Tennyson was born in Somersby, England. With a depressed father and a sick mother, Tennyson started writing poetery when he was eight years old. He wrote his first blank play at age fourteen. As Alfred grew up he beat out other poets in contests and competitions. In much of his poetry, Tennyson used mythological themes, like Idylls of the King, based on the story of King Arthur. He has coined several famous phrases now used in everyday English, like "nature, red in tooth and claw" and "better to have loved and lost". His first solo collection of poems, Poems Chiefly Lyrical, was deemed too sentimental by many critics; but two of his most famous poems, Claribel and Mariana, were included in the collection. After his best friend, Arthur Hallam, died, Tennyson was devastated and wrote In Memoriam for his beloved friend. Tennyson died in 1892, with his wife and his writings by his side.
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The Eagle
He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ringed with the azure world, he stands.
The wrinkiled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbotl he falls.
Tennyson uses powerful imagery as a tool in this poem. One can imagine the eagle regally surveying the waves of the sea below, high on a cliff in the mountains. "Close to the sun in lonely lands" implies that he is closer to heaven than earth. "The wrinkled sea" gives the reader a clue as to how high he is. The waves of the sea are so far away they seem more like wrinkles on the surface of the water, rather than the usual crashing waves of the sea. "Like a thunderbolt he falls" shows how quickly he flies back to earth. While Tennyson uses powerful figurative language, his simple rhyming scheme of aaa bbb may seem elementary but allows the poem to flow.
The splendor falls on castle walls
     The splendor falls on castle wall
       And snowy summits old in story;
     The long light shakes across the lakes,
       And the wild catarct leaps in glory.
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.
     O hark, O hear! how thin and clear,
       And thinner, clearer, farther going!
     O sweet and far from cliff and scar
       The horns of Elfland faintly blowing!
Blow, let us hear the purple glens replying:
Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.
     O love, they die in yon rich sky,
       They faint on hill or field or river;
     Our echoes roll from soul to soul,
       And gro for ever and for ever.
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
And answer, echoes, answer, dying, dying, dying.
This poem is about the fading sounds of a bugle falling onto castle walls, snow capped mountains, lakes and cliffs. They fade off into the sky and the echoes go on forever. One imagines a castle on a cliff over looking lakes nestled into the mountains. It must either be sunset or sunrise and the light from it causes long streams of light to dance over the lakes. The first four lines of the last stanza stand out due to their appeal to the human soul. It seems Tennyson is relating the dying sounds of a bugle to our cries of human emotions being carried from one soul to another and the beauty of it. What is interesting is how Tennyson treats the last two lines of each stanza. They seem to be a plea to the bugle to keep repeating the process. The second to last lines of the first and last stanzas are an encouragement to have the bugles blow, but the last lines of the first and last stanzas seem to be the narrator’s resignation to the fact that while the bugle creates beautiful music and echoes, the echoes will eventually die.
Works Cited

Comments (7)

Anonymous said

at 9:20 am on May 10, 2007

i like how you used different colors, it made it easier to look at!

Anonymous said

at 9:24 am on May 10, 2007

That guy looks angry, but good poems.

Anonymous said

at 9:29 am on May 10, 2007

Very informative paragraphs about the poems, I especially like your opening paragraph about his life. - Erin Kuntz

Anonymous said

at 9:33 am on May 10, 2007

These two poems were interesting. We really liked the one with the eagle. We like the imagery in that poem. you did a good job with your page.
From: Jake Erickson and Savannah Bastian

Anonymous said

at 9:49 am on May 10, 2007

I very much enjoyed the insite that was explained behind every poem, especially The Eagle. I found the analysis to give more meaning and explanation to not only the poem but also the poet's style. Very well put together, congratz!

Anonymous said

at 9:50 am on May 10, 2007

Hmm very interesting poems, kind of tricky! But nice interpretations!

Anonymous said

at 10:06 am on May 10, 2007

Tennyson is one of the very few poets I recognize by name! Love the poems, especially the line, "Ringed with the azure world". He really has a nack for word play! Awesome job on the explainations too!

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