Crossing The Bar

Satisfactory Essays
Topics: Life, Ocean, Death, Literature
Alfred Tennyson wrote the poem Crossing the bar in elegy, as the poem has a tone of finality about it. Tennyson wrote the poem after a serious illness while at sea, crossing the Solent from Aldworth to Farringford on the Isle of Wight. It has also been suggested he wrote it while on a yacht anchored in Salcombe. The words, he said, "came in a moment"[1] Shortly before he died, Tennyson told his son Hallam to "put 'Crossing the Bar' at the end of all editions of my poems". The narrator uses an extended metaphor to compare death to crossing the "sandbar" between the tide or river of life, with its outgoing "flood," and the ocean that lies beyond death, the "boundless deep," to which we return. The extended metaphor of "crossing of bar" represents traveling serenely and securely from life through death. The Pilot is a metaphor for God, whom the speaker hopes to meet face to face. Tennyson explained, "The Pilot has been on board all the while, but in the dark I have not seen him…[He is] that Divine and Unseen Who is always guiding us.

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