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Tears Idle Tears by Alfred Tennyson 

Updated September 10, 2022
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Tears Idle Tears by Alfred Tennyson  essay

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Tennyson Born on 1809,England, Alfred Lord Tennyson is one of the most well known poet in Victorian era . He is so clever ,at 12 he wrote a poem ,he is talented in writing ,he wrote The Princess is a black verse long poem published in 1847.

Tears Idle Tears is part of a larger poem which is the princess ,this poem written in blank verse or its un rhymed , it consist of four stanzas.

BY ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON

Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,

Tears from the depth of some divine despair

Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,

In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,

And thinking of the days that are no more.

Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,

That brings our friends up from the underworld,

Sad as the last which reddens over one

That sinks with all we love below the verge;

So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.

Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns

The earliest pipe of half-awaken’d birds

To dying ears, when unto dying eyes

The casement slowly grows a glimmering square;

So sad, so strange, the days that are no more.

Dear as remember’d kisses after death,

And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feign’d

On lips that are for others; deep as love,

Deep as first love, and wild with all regret;

O Death in Life, the days that are no more!

ANAYLSIS OF THE POEM

Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,

Tears from the depth of some divine despair

Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,

In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,

And thinking of the days that are no more.

Noticing the first stanza, we can see that the speaker is talking about tears ,he feels sad, he has tears in his eyes, he does not know why those tears there, he does not know the reason that make him cry , that’s why he called them (Idle tears) which means pointless or unmeanigful tears, then he refers the source that make him cry ,it comes from some “divine” place, although divine means holy , beautiful, special, but hr is using despair in the poem “divine despair”, meaning sort of sadness and hopeless so the speaker mentioned the source of his cry which is divine. There is a spiritual feeling has been increased inside his soul, that’s why he says my tears comes from my heart and drop it in his eyes ,

Then the speaker set the time which is Autumm , a season that all leaves falls down, a season for falling , from leaves to fruits and make the world more beautiful but this view does not make the poet feel happy because this bring him back to his happy memories as they are falling as well from his life, he no longer feels the happiness even if he remembers them since the days are gone..

In this two last lines pf the stanza the speaker explains this sadness , as he remembers some happy memory, but he no longer counts it as happiness as he is lost to then and they are lost to them as well.

Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,

That brings our friends up from the underworld,

Sad as the last which reddens over one

That sinks with all we love below the verge;

So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.

The speaker think about his past which give him such a pain, he thinks about those friends that have already gone, they are not live now.

In the first line , he describes the past as fresh as “the first beam glittering” light which is shining and twinkle on the sail brining the dead from the under world, it clarifies the feeling of the speaker and why he referred to his feelings as they “were no more “ he still feels as though they are fresh as the day he felt the extreme sadness when he lost his beloved one, he refers to the source of his losing by them being (underworld ) or dead in another word . He refers to his sadness by being red and sink and they are on the verge, all of these words are referral to the sadness and despair he feels inside , how deep his wound is .

Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns

The earliest pipe of half-awaken’d birds

To dying ears, when unto dying eyes

The casement slowly grows a glimmering square;

So sad, so strange, the days that are no more.

The 3rd stanza includes more clarification as the speaker seems to know that although he doesn’t know why he is sad and finds it strange, he refers to this as “dark summer dawn”. When thinking about dawn, normally we feel the beginning of something new, and summer dawn are naturally full of life with singing birds and clear, beautiful sky, but the speaker feels strange and refers to his feeling of despair by saying “dark” before “summer dawn”. It seems, according to the words of the poet, that the speaker feels as though his life is coming to an end and he is dying, when he says “dying ears & dying eyes” meaning he can no longer see and hear what is happening to him. He only feels the casement (his coffin) to grow, which can be a referral that he feels small and weak, may be due to his age or his despair and loneliness. “glimmering” might also be a referral to him seeing stars before death or may be a metaphor for afterlife and his visualizingof his life after death (meeting his beloved one).

Dear as remember’d kisses after death,

And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feign’d

On lips that are for others; deep as love,

Deep as first love, and wild with all regret;

O Death in Life, the days that are no more!

The last stanza is about lengthening the feeling of the speaker, he feels no longer alive and talks about afterlife, but refers to the kisses as being “hopeless and fancy” and as though he knows that they are “feigned” or fake. The lips that are for kisses of the loved ones can no longer feels the passion and they are for others, as though referring to his loss of the loved one although they were his “first love and “deep”, “wild”. He is regretting losing his happy days and not loving his lover in a deep and wild and passionate way. The last line stands for the feeling of the speaker as though he is already dead in this life due to his loss.

Tears Idle Tears by Alfred Tennyson  essay

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Tears Idle Tears by Alfred Tennyson . (2022, May 14). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/tears-idle-tears-by-alfred-tennyson/

FAQ

What Does idle mean in Tears, Idle Tears?
The Bittersweet Nature of Memory and Loss Her tears are “idle” (meaning without a clear purpose or cause ), but also linked throughout the poem to the death of friends, the memory of past love, and changes in nature.
What is the main idea of the poem Tears, Idle Tears?
Tears, Idle Tears' by Alfred Tennyson He was the Poet Laureate during much of Queen Victoria's reign . In 1829, Tennyson was awarded the Chancellor's Gold Medal at Cambridge for one of his first pieces, "Timbuktu". He published his first solo collection of poems, Poems, Chiefly Lyrical, in 1830. Alfred, Lord Tennyson encompasses the theme of death, love, and sadness . The major theme of the poem is death. The poet laments the loss of his beloved friend and presents his mental state in the poem. The poet sees death as a detrimental factor in life.
What is the tone of Tears, Idle Tears?
The tone of Tears, Idle Tears is a somber one , and this tone is prevalent throughout the poem as Tennyson reminisces about the sad memories of days that are no more and friends that are gone to the underworld.
What three comparisons in Tears, Idle Tears describe the days that are no more?
The simile reads this way: The days that are no more are dear as remembered kisses after death . . . and sweet as those by hopeless fancy feign'd . . . deep as love, deep as first love. . . .
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