Conventional elegy begins with a mournful tone, commonly caused by the loss of a loved one. Tragic events are precursors for the context of the poem and this motif is apparent in both poems. Tennyson and Milton both use language consistent with this archetype, indicating the loss of a loved one at the beginning of their piece. Beginning excerpt from Tennyson’s poem addresses spiritual being, God, and introducing the idea of death as a theme within the stanza declaring:
Dark house by which once more I stand/Here in the long unlovely street,/Doors, where my heart was used to beat/So quickly, waiting for a hand (Scholes, 514)
The idea of death immediately creates a mournful dark tone, however, following stanza’s indicate a hopeful aspiration for the mourned, furthering the understanding that the reader has about the caring relationship between the speaker and subject. Similarly, Milton’s Lycidas the speaker addresses otherworldly beings:
“Begin, then, Sisters of the sacred well,/That from beneath the seat of Jove/Begin, and somewhat loudly sweep the string” (Scholes, 440)
This commonality between the poems is effective in...