How does Alfred Lord Tennyson portray nature in his poems?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Alfred Lord Tennyson was a Victorian writer. The Victorian period's establishment revolved around Queen Victoria. The works from this period changed dramatically from the beginning (1837 to 1870) to the end (1870-1901). Tennyson is associated with the early Victorian period.

Tennyson was renowned for his works and their association with beauty, emotion, and sentiments. Tennyson was named the the Poet Laureate in 1850- as successor to Wordsworth upon Wordsworth's death.

As for his portrayal of nature, Tennyson held nature to be poignant when describing the psychology of mankind. Lines from his poetry such as "Words, like nature, half reveal and half conceal the soul within" exemplify his ability to use nature as a conduit to describe thoughts, feelings, and emotions more typically described using references to man alone.

In his poem "Ask Me No More", Tennyson compares the trials one faces in life to that of trying to battle a rushing stream. The following passage comes from the final stanza of the poem:

Ask me no more: thy fate and mine are seal'd:
I strove against the stream and all in vain:
Let the great river take me to the main:
No more, dear love, for at a touch I yield;
Ask me no more.

Here, Tennyson is comparing the natural aspect of a stream to that of changing his past and future. The stream symbolizes the pressures life places upon a man. The natural element of the stream is used to symbolize all of the problems one may face in life. Regardless of how hard one struggles against fate, or the stream, one cannot change fate- like one cannot change the stream. Tennyson is simply giving up "let the great river take me to the main" and submitting to the fact that he must accept this.


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