“Tears Idle Tears” was written after tthe death of Lord Tennyson’s close college friend A. H. Hallam. This traumatic incident left a lasting impression of the pain of death on Tennyson and is probably where he got the inspiration from for this poem. Lord Alfred Tennyson was born in 1809 at Somers by. He was the son of a rector and highly qualified.
At Trinity College, Cambridge he was a member of an elite intellectual society whose members were elected for life. He was a man of faith yet had amazing powers of analysis. He was living in a time in England when science and its theories were destroying he hold established religion had over the people. Naturally such a man would be attracted to the objective and analytical ways of science yet he would not compromise his inner faith in religion. Tennyson was influenced greatly by the Romantics and in fact some call his poetry a continuation of the romantic Idealism during the Victorian Era.
He was the Poet Laureate after Wordsworth and rightly so. He combined elements of both Romanticism and Victorian Critical Thought. “Tears Idle Tears” is such an example. It is meticulous in form yet the inner beauty radiates through his expressions and imagery created. the poem is a sad lament on by-gone days. Thinking about them brings tears to his eyes.
Even he doesnt know what the mean but he does know they are a reflection of some deeply felt pain. THe past days he mourns are symbolic of the memories of the past. Joys, pains and regret that he has had, they are forever gone now, never to be felt again. “O Death in life, the days that are no more” The major theme of he poem is the parallel that he creates between death and the past. The imagery, the language and the techniques he employs are all indicative of this. The imagery of the poem is intense.
The poems I have chosen to study are ^aEUR~The Lady of Shallot, , ^aEUR~Mariana, and ^aEUR~Morte d, Arthur, . I have chosen these as they have strong links to the subjects being examined from the title of this essay. ^aEUR~The Lady of Shallot, involves the themes of Love, Belief and Doubt. ^aEUR~Mariana, is based around the themes of Love, Death and Doubt. While ^aEUR~Morte d'Arthur, conveys ...
It gives colour and emphasises the pain he feels. Words such as “despair”, “underworld”, “death” and “dying” create a dark and gloomy atmosphere tinged with sadness and nostalgia. It feels as though the passing of the days are like small deaths in themselves. They are inevitably lost, as in death and one can only remember them through memories. Through a series of comparisons and contrasts the feeling these memories rouse are keenly felt by the reader.
In the first stanza Tennyson contrasts happiness with despair. He is looking on the “happy Autumn fields” yet “tears from the depths of some divine despair” overcome him. The pain he feels is intensified in comparison with the happiness surrounding him. Another comparison is made to the rising and setting of the sun.
The first rays of the sun are “fresh” as the memories of friends that have past and gone. This is a direct reference to Tennyson’s freind Hallam. Yet these memories are also as sad as the last ray of dusk which “reddens” over one and “sinks with all we love below the verge.” In a way it reminds one of the circle of life and death. Each day is a death in itself and rebirth starts at the begining of a new day. The “verge”, the boundary, is the boundary between life and death. Another comparison is made to the last sensations felt by a dying man.
Through the usage of words such as “glimmering” and glittering” an image is created of past memories shimmering as if being seen from a far distance. It could also be a connection to the tears the poet weeps as he reminisces over the past. When one is crying, vision is distorted and reality is seen to glimmer. He calls the memories “sad”, “strange” and “fresh.” they are fresh in his mind and so vivid that it makes them all the more painful to think about. They are likened to the depth and purity of first love, the kisses of one who is gone now and “wild” with the regrets of the past. The poem’s imagery coupled with deeply emotional undertones brings home the feeling of loss, yet it hasnt been overdone.
In Memory of WB Yeats, discussing how far you find it characteristic of other WH Auden’s poems you have studied W.H Auden’s “In Memory of W.B Yeats” is an elegy to commemorate the life and death of a great poet, W.B Yeats. However, Auden adds another dimension to the poem by incorporating political references significant during the age of oppression and turmoil of the impending war and the extent ...
Tennyson frames his poetry in blank verse which gives it a definite form in which to express his thoughts. It gives the poem a feeling of restrained emotion, like a fat womans pants, bursting at the seams. Even though the poem moves one, it doesnt overwhelm one and that is where Tennyson is succesful. The poem touches one deeply on a level that is common to all. We all have memories special to us of the past and we all get a bit nostalgic thinking about them.
Tennyson explores these feelings and through his words brings them to life. It leaves one reminiscing over their own past.