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Ulysses

Alfred Lord Tennyson

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Ulysses
2003-10-22
Added by: Elaine Cox
This poem, one of a lost king's freedom, portrays a feeling of power, yet lost glory. The poem makes me feel quite sad for him, although he does appear barbaric. Studying this poem for AS level, I find it is very depressing, but encourages us to grasp life, and every moment of it!
The Poem
2004-06-03
Added by: Steve
This, in my opinion, is one of the great poems. I could sit and read it a million times. This is one of the most uplifting poems I've read, though it is true that for much of his life Tennyson was severely depressed. The poet has a way with words and the amazing ability to produce "the good line", which, in this case as a speech by Ulysses to his mariners, stirs the heart in his men as it does the reader.

The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices.

Here the poet slows down the line with a succession of spondees to enforce how long the day and how slow the moon seems. It also serves as a point of final consideration in his mind. The power and stress of this line appears at the very moment when his decision becomes critical and he finally says "yes, I will go". Truely, the life of an idle king does not suit the speaker. From this point on the metre is quicker and spritely to show the eagerness Ulysses feels and the mariners are thus greater inspired.

Any new insights into this poem by other readers of Tennyson would be appreciated. In my mind The man deserves more attention perhaps than he has gotten in recent years.
ulysses
2004-10-13
Added by: Lauren and Heat]
I've read all of your comments on the website and have to say I strongly disagree with you! It loses the readers attention on the first line and as you all know it helps if the readers attention is held at least past the first line! This poem has absolutely no point to it so throw it in the bin.
Disagreement
2004-12-23
Added by: Aske
To that last comment; this is a really fine poem, and to say it loses it's reader's attention on the first line is almost obscure.

"To strive, to seek, to find and never to yield"

Those words are like a commandment to grasp every aspect of life (as so eloquently put in the very first comment). I really love this poem.
Ulysses+Odyessy
2005-09-11
Added by: Future Prof
As a teacher, this is obviously a great poem to link to any study of Homer and The Odyessy. Or King who yearned for rest and peace from his travels, has become "an adrenaline junky". He prepares to leave his kingdom to his son Telemachus, and resume his adventures.
He hates growing old and wants to seize life..."To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield"...Very carpe diem.
It is a great activity and follow up to any student who has asked the question after a story or novel, or epic, or drama has ended...."Well what happened next?"
2006-05-02
Added by: frank
this is a good poem. if you had to describe the victorian period in one or two lines, then those lines would be found in this poem, "How dull it is to pause, to make an end, To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use!"

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