In Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem, “Crossing the Bar,” he describes his placid attitude towards death. He wrote, “Crossing the Bar” in 1889, three years before his death while crossing the Solent. Days before his death, he asked his son to put his poem at the end of all his poetry editions (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography). Throughout the poem, Tennyson demonstrates his acceptance of death through an extended metaphor of “crossing the bar” as he transitions into death. In “Crossing the Bar”, nautical metaphors, peaceful diction, and religious metaphor collectively convey the idea that faith in God will result in a fulfilling life and a peaceful death. Tennyson uses nautical metaphors to describe his death as a peaceful journey into the ocean. Tennyson realizes that he nears the end of his life. He recognizes the “Sunset and evening star / And one clear call for me!” (1-2). As a sailor, Tennyson depends upon the sun and stars for navigation and time. Once the sun sets and the evening star appears, he knows his call to depart into the calm waters. Tennyson uses the metaphor of, the sunset and evening star to compare his call to death. The daylight represents life, while the darkness represents death. The peaceful transition from daylight to night, or the sunset, depicts Tennyson’s peaceful transition from life to death. Tennyson compares the evening star as guidance to his final destination. The evening star guides sailors to their destination, similarly, the evening star guides Tennyson to a peaceful death. When Tennyson dies, he does not want anyone mourning his death. He requests for “...there [to] be no moaning of the bar, / When I put out to sea” (3-4). As a sailor, Tennyson desires a calm and quiet tide, so he can easily cross over a sandbar. He commences on a journey out to sea, to compare his departure into the afterlife. Tennyson compares the moaning sounds of the waves hitting the sandbar, to sounds of mourning that are typical after a death. He...
Cited: Ricks, Christopher . "Tennyson, Alfred, first Baron Tennyson (1809-1892)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. May 2006. Oxford University Press. 24 May 2010
Tennyson, Alfred Lord. “Crossing the Bar.” Bartleby.com. Bartleby. 1909-1914.Web. 2 May 2010.
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