3/05/2019

Tennyson's Elegiac note in his poems.



Most of Tennyson's poems are marked by a note of sadness. The poet's personal and family life was marked by a number of misfortunes. They probably created in him a mood of melancholy. More important, Tennyson's age saw the intellectual controversy of various kinds. The new scientific discoveries of the time could not
match the accepted religion, belief and tradition. As a result, there was a conflict between science and religion., between hope and doubt. As a representative poet of his time, Tennyson's mind was agitated by
these new developments. His poems are expressions of his troubled mind.

Locksley Hall
Tennyson's poems "Locksley Hall" presents the conflict in the mind of a young heart due to some personal and social change. Here the speaker is a melancholy man. He is a man who was abandoned by his lover. His sadness is increased by the sweet memory of his past
love. He now curses the social system which stood on his way to the fulfilment of love. Now he fumbles in getting a right path of his life.
everything by engaging in the busy spirit of his age. Yet, he finds that his past experience has left him a "palsied heart" and a "Jaundiced l eye".
The Lotos Eaters
Like "Locksley Hall', "The Lotos Eaters" is also steeped in elegiac note. Like Adam in Milton’s “Paradise Lost”, the mariners eat the prohibited fruits. As a result, like Adam too, their reasoning power is inverted. They now question the meaning of all human activities such as adventure and sea journey. Man has to eat his bread in the sweat of his brow, while all other creatures have rest. Again, death is the ultimate reality and, as Thomas Gray writes, “The path of glory leads but to death." Thus, the poem expresses a sense of weariness, frustration and pain with regard to human fate.

Oenone and Tithonus
Tennyson portrays the sad note in the poems "Oenone" and “Tithonus" through the speakers of the poems. In the poem, "Oenone" Oenone, the speaker of the poem, enters the scene
mournfully wandering alone and lamenting the loss of his love, Paris. And also the poem, "Tithonus" begins with Tithonus speaking to Eos “at the quiet limit of the world" where he lives with her. Confronted with old age and its attendant pains, he meditates upon death and
mortality, and mourns the fact that death cannot release him from his misery.

Thus, by analysing Tennyson's poems we find that they certainly express elegiac note and sing the saddest thought of humanity.
Tennyson seems to desperately search for the meaning of life out of the conflicting elements of his society. Tennyson's sadness has a
universal appeal.

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