Break, Break, Break Tennyson Notes

Topics: Rhythm / Pages: 2 (311 words) / Published: Jun 17th, 2013
BREAK, BREAK, BREAK (1834) Break, break, break, [s1]
On thy cold gray stones[s2] , O Sea! [s3]
And I would that my tongue could utter [s4]
The thoughts that arise in me[s5] .
(Unable to articulate the deep emotion – anger and resentment at nature) O[s6] , 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! [s7] (what he sees – he sees time passing – focus on the play of the youth and their vulnerability and naivety of life and time)

And the stately ships go on [s8]
To their haven [s9] under the hill;
But O for the touch of a vanished hand[s10] ,
And the sound of a voice that is still! [s11] Break, break, break,
At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!
But the tender grace of a day that is dead [s12]
Will never come back to me. Nature, of course, does not stop to mourn the loss of anyone. Cold and indifferent, it carries on, the waves of the ocean breaking against rocks along the seashore without pausing even for a moment. The rest of the world carries on as well: the fisherman's boy happily playing with his sister, the sailor merrily singing, the ship busily plying the waters of commerce. Downcast, isolated by his grief, the narrator yearns to touch the hand of his friend once more, to hear the sound of his voice. But, no, Hallam is gone forever; his "tender grace" will never again return.

Structure:
Cyclical nature of the poem – it begins where it starts
Lyric poem – creates musicality (anapaestic foot) // the constant rhythm and musicality echoes the constancy of nature.
Themes
* Preciousness of Youth * Indifference of nature * Nature’s constant rhythms and tides * Time will continue – life doesn’t stop for grief or

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