Alfred Tennyson was born on August the 6th 1809, in Somersby, Lincolnshire. Alfred was the forth out of twelve children of George and Elizabeth Tennyson. Alfred’s father, George Clayton Tennyson suffered from depression and was absentminded. In the late twenties Alfred’s father’s physical and mental condition worsened as he became paranoid, abusive and violent. Tennyson escaped the troubled atmosphere of home when he followed his two brothers to Trinity College in 1827. He joined the literary club ‘The Apostles’ and met Arthur Hallam.
Alfred Tennyson became very good friends with Arthur Henry Hallam.
Arthur Hallam and Alfred Tennyson were friends for four years; their close relationship had an impact and influence on Tennyson’s poetry. Hallam later on med Emily Tennyson and the two friends looked forward to a life-long companionship. Hallam’s death from illness in 1833 shocked Tennyson profoundly. Tennyson wrote many poems about his grief and deepest feelings of his dear lost friend.
Tennyson suffered from extreme short-sightedness. He had considerable difficulty writing and reading. Tennyson composed much of his poetry in his head, occasionally working on individual poems for many years.
Long lived like most of his family, Alfred Lord Tennyson died on October 6, 1892, at the age of 83. The two poems that I will be talking about today will be Break, Break, Break and Ulysses. “Break, Break, Break” is a lyrical poem which centers on Tennyson’s grief over the death of his closest friend Arthur Hallam. Throughout the poem Tennyson grieves for his loss of his friend.
Nature does not stop to mourn for the loss of anyone. Cold and unchangeable, it continues its relentless cycle. The waves of the ocean breaking against the rocks along the seashore never pausing even for a moment.
Such a major impact towards Tennyson’s world, he would expect everything that the world would end in a kind of way. But the world still carries on; as the fisherman’s boy is happily playing with his sister; the sailor is merrily singing and the ship is busily plying the waters of commerce. “Oh for the touch of a vanished hand, And the sound of a voice that is still” tells us of Tennyson yearning to touch the hand of his friend Arthur Hallam once more and to hear the sound of his voice. Tennyson has incorporated many themes into Break, Break, Break. The main theme is bereavement, heartache and emptiness.
Tennyson talks of how the sun rises, children laughing and the world continuing on as if nothing has happened, going on as usual. While Tennyson is in his darkest hour of grief feeling bereaved of his closest friend. How could the world be so unfeeling? Another theme conveyed in the poem would be the indifference of nature. Nature continues its functions and cycles regardless of what is happening to human beings. Tennyson grieves over his best friend and the world is still cold and indifferent not caring in anyway. http://www. usp. nus. edu. sg/victorian/authors/tennyson/kincaid/ch3a. html