Heres a virtual movie of the great Alfred Lord Tennyson reading "Crossing The Bar" "Crossing the Bar" is an 1889 poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson that is traditionally the last poem in collections of his work. It is thought that Tennyson wrote it as his own elegy, as the poem has a tone of finality about it. The narrator uses an extended metaphor to compare death to crossing the "sandbar" between the tide or river of life, with its outgoing "flood", and the ocean that lies beyond death, the "boundless deep", to which we return.
Tennyson wrote the poem after a serious illness while at sea, crossing the Solent from Aldworth to Farringford on the Isle of Wight. It has also been suggested he wrote it while on a yacht anchored in Salcombe. The words, he said, "came in a moment" Shortly before he died, Tennyson told his son Hallam to "put 'Crossing the Bar' at the end of all editions of my poems".
The poem contains four stanzas that generally alternate between long and short lines. Tennyson employs a traditional ABAB rhyme scheme. Scholars have noted that the form of the poem follows the content: the wavelike quality of the long-then-short lines parallels the narrative thread of the poem.
The extended metaphor of "crossing of bar" represents travelling serenely and securely from life through death. The Pilot is a metaphor for God, who the speaker hopes to meet face to face. Tennyson explained, "The Pilot has been on board all the while, but in the dark I have not seen him...[He is] that Divine and Unseen Who is always guiding us.
Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson, FRS (6 August 1809 -- 6 October 1892) was Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom during much of Queen Victoria's reign and remains one of the most popular poets in the English language.
All rights are reserved on this video recording copyright Jim Clark 2011
Crossing the Bar.......
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 though 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 crossed the bar.
["Crossing the Bar" was initially published in Demeter and Other Poems. By Alfred, Lord Tennyson.London & New York: Macmillan & Co.,. 13 December 1889.
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