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Break, break, break by Alfred Tennyson


This poem is an elegy written after the death of Arthur Hallam and his feeling of isolation at Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire. The sea represents something bigger than the cycle of life and death. It is written with the rhyme scheme ABCB. In "Break, break, break", Tennyson speaks of something that has come to an end but he still longs for it.


Break, break, break

Break, break, break,
   On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter
   The thoughts that arise in me.

O 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!

And the stately ships go on
   To their haven under the hill;
But O for the touch of a vanish'd hand,
   And the sound of a voice that is still!

Break, break, break
   At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!
But the tender grace of a day that is dead
   Will never come back to me. 

Written 1835. Published .

Next: Crossing the Bar
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Literary Movement
Victorian, 19th Century

Elegy, Death, Life, Longing

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