Ulysses Poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Ulysses

Rating: 3.6


It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel; I will drink
Life to the lees. All times I have enjoy'd
Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Thro' scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea. I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known,-- cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honor'd of them all,--
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use!
As tho' to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains; but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.
This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
to whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,--
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfill
This labor, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro' soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.
There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail;
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought with me,--
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads,-- you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honor and his toil.
Death closes all; but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks;
The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs; the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends.
'T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,--
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Champs Ulysses Cabinatan 23 January 2011

one of the best poems :)

20 16 Reply
Edward Coleman 03 August 2010

My favorite. Tennyson's Ulysses turned me on to poetry when I was 18. My next favorite poem is Thomas Hardy's Neutral Tones. I'm now making my way through Emily Dickinson. She's tough.

19 14 Reply
Kevin Straw 30 August 2012

There is something in this kind of poetry which puts a spell on the reader. It gets into the blood stream and creates in the reader the feelings and the thoughts of the hero - as one reads, the breath quickens, and the body longs to be out there with Ulysses chancing one's arm against fate.

21 11 Reply
Gisela Van Reenen 16 September 2012

Yes, indeed, a wonderful, wonderful poem. Read it together with Cavafy's Ithaca. Absolutely breathtaking!

19 13 Reply
Marieta Maglas 18 July 2009

I must write that I feel so good to be here, near this great poet, whose poetry is the great love of my life.I have a feeling of happiness and I feel, also, the eternity...

18 13 Reply
ver de base 08 October 2020

this verse is shooo pleasing

0 0 Reply
Rahul 23 September 2019

Home sweet Home question answe

0 0 Reply
Michael Walker 27 July 2019

A long, compressed dramatic monologue with some tremendous words spoken by Ulysses, 'Come my friends./ 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world'. It is still not too late in our times.

0 0 Reply
Iftekhar Ifti 14 February 2019

It’s one of the best work of Alfred Lord Tennyson I think

0 0 Reply
Sylvaonyema Uba 29 July 2018

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and to yield. Well expressed and communicated. Good delivery. SYLV A-ONYEMA UBA

0 2 Reply
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