Break Break Break Summary

Break Break Break Summary of the Poem

Break Break Break Summary : The poem is an elegy written by Alfred Tennyson. The poem interweaves the agony of loss and nostalgia. All you need to know and learn about this chapter is given below.

Break Break Break Summary

 About the Author

  • Alfred Tennyson was an English poet who became the poet laureate after William Wordsworth in 1850.
  • Born: 6 August 1809
  • Place of Birth: London
  • Died: 6 October 1892
  • Major Works: ‘Ulyssey’, Idylls of the Kingand The Lady of Shalott.
  • Best Known for: He is a Victorian Poet known for his vivid imagery and metric variety.

Famous Alfred Tennyson Statue at Trinity College, Cambridge, England, UK

Summary of the Poem

This poem is an elegy written by Alfred Tennyson in memory of his best friend Arthur Hallam. Through the poem the poet is emphasizing on the beautiful days he spent with his friend and the agony he suffers from the loss of Arthur.

Break, break, break,
On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!”

The poet is standing on the sea shore watching the waves crash the gray stones. The poem is set in a sad tone mixed with agony, nostalgia and loss. He visualizes and recollects about the joyful youthful days with his friend through the people he sees at the shore.

The sight of the fisherman’s boy shouting and playing merrily with his sister and the sailor lad who is singing happy songs sitting on his boat reminds him about the young days he had spent happily with his friend. In the second part of the poem he goes into a philosophical tone.

He watches the stately ships going to their next port. He compares this imagery with life and its journey. Like the ship sailing, life also moves from one point to the other. Whatever happens life keeps on rolling and we are transported to the next phase. He can be referring to the journey between birth and death through these lines.

And the stately ships go on
To their haven under the hill;

He laments about his lost friend by reconnecting him through the phrases ‘the touch of a vanished hand’ and ‘the voice that is still’. These phrases are a direct reference to Arthur Hallam. The waves continue to crash on the rocks and life continues. He continues to cry about how the lost old days are never going to return back to him.

But the tender grace of a day that is dead
Will never come back to me.

In this poem the poet is talking to the readers through images. The death of his friend is implied through the ‘vanished hands’ and the ‘voice that is still’. The image of the ‘ship’ that is going forward implies the cycle of life that waits for none. ‘Sea’ itself is an imagery. Life is like the sea that keeps on going. The waves in the sea never pause, similar is the journey of life.

Break, Break, Break Questions and Answers

Below are a few questions that you can look out for your examinations and class tests. Stand out with perfectly written answers with help of these notes.

What is the implication of the phrase ‘a day that is dead’?

A day that is dead is a reference to a day that can not be relieved. It is a moment or a day that lives only in the memory. In the poem the poet is inferring the days he spent with his friend Arthur Hallam.

Is the sea a useful symbol? Explain your answer.

Yes, the sea is a useful symbol in the poem. It is because it reflects the poet’s mind and displays the trajectory of life. The poet is unable to put together his feelings and his mind is like the roaring sea that crashes on the gray stones. It symbolizes his agoney. Sea can also be a reference to life. Sea never stops, the waves are endless. Similarly, the cycle of life is endless.

What are the things that are never going to return according to the poet?

Youth and the time spent with his friend are the two things that are never going to return.

 Read it also: The Epic Definition Types Characteristics

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