In Tennyson's poem 'Ulysses' we see the Victorian pre-occupation with progress, work, advancement and perseverance. This was a period of great social and technical advancement following hard on the heels of the transformation of England's transport network through the coming of the railways and canals. This meant it was now easy to transport the vast quanities of products from the textile mills,or coal from the mines, to ports and docks to be exported, and also to bring in more exotic goods from abroad.
This age was not without its difficulties however - there were tragic gruesome deaths in pit collapses and steamship scaldings and explosions as well as railway accidents and technological failures.Much new-found wealth was generated from the exploration and exploitation of new lands, but disease was a killer. Tennyson's poem expresses the need to persevere regardless in all life's battles to win through to the rewards at the end - the indefatigable quest for knowledge and the innovations it brings.