Tennyson, Poem I: I held it truth, with him who sings

I chosen to comment on this poem because I again see similarities between others we’ve read in the Romantic period. This poem also personifies Love, Grief, and Hours using capital letters and speaks of life and death without the melodrama. In the first stanza, Tennyson uses an interesting choice of word (“stepping stones”) to say “That men may rise on stepping-stones/ Of their dead selves to higher things.” These lines make for a curious image since stepping stones are normally such small thing for someone to step on, let alone “dead selves” who theoretically have a long way to rise “to higher things.” This play of opposites continues in the second stanza where Tennyson asks, “But who shall so forecast the years/And find in loss a gain to match?” It seems like here Tennyson is being ironical in that he asks a rhetorical question about someone fortunetelling and finding “a loss” with “a gain to match.”

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