Crossing the Bar Questions and Answers
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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Compare the poems, "Crossing the Bar" by Alfred Tennyson and "Once by the Pacific" by Robert Frost and relate the similarities and differences between the two.

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The most obvious comparison between Alfred Tennyson's "Crossing the Bar" and Robert Frost's "Once by the Pacific" is that both of them deal with water, specifically the sea.

Of course, Frost's sea is much more turbulent and even violent than Tennyson's. Frost's ocean crashes into a cliff, and

[t]he shattered water made a misty din. 

Waves crash upon waves, and the speaker believes the land is lucky to have the double protection of cliff and continent to hold back the foreboding weather that seems to be approaching. He says:

It looked as if a night of dark intent 
Was coming, and not only a night, an age. 

The language of this poem represents the impending violence of a fierce ocean which is churned up by a powerfully dark and portentous sky. 

This poem is fourteen lines long, so of course we think of a sonnet. When we examine the form, however, we understand that the rhyme scheme fits neither the Shakespearean nor the Petrarchan form. Instead it is comprised of seven rhyming couplets....

(The entire section contains 631 words.)

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