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Monday, May 23, 2011

Crossing the Bar

(Alfred, Lord Tennyson, poet laureate, 1850-1892)

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892), was appointed poet laureate by Queen Victoria. He was an accomplished and acclaimed poet, his works epitomizing the virtues and intellectual standards of the Victorian age. His narrative poems, like the Arthurian epic “Idylls of the King” and “The Charge of the Light Brigade” and “The Lady of Shalott,” still remain popular.

Tennyson composed the poem below after surviving a serious illness. His instructions were to publish it at the end of all collections of his poetry. The
bar here is the sandbar at the mouth of a body of water that separates the tide from “the boundless deep”; a bourne is a limit or a goal.


Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.

1 comment:

Pentimento said...

A few years ago I sang a concert in Cleveland of the art songs of John Philip Sousa (yes, he wrote in other genres than the march!). One of the most stunning of these songs was a setting of this poem. Great poem, great song. Thanks for choosing this!