What is the meaning and importance of "the sound of a voice that is still" in "Break, Break, Break"?

In "Break, Break, Break" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, the meaning and importance of "the sound of a voice that is still" is in its reference to the poet's friend Arthur Hallam, who died at the age of twenty-two a short time before the poem was written. The poem is an expression of grief at the poet's loss of his friend.

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In the poem "Break, Break, Break" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, the poet is at the edge of the sea watching the waves break on the shore. He longs to be able to express the emotions he feels. Around him, he notices "the fisherman's boy," "his sister," and "the sailor lad," all of whom seem to be enjoying life. He also observes ships carrying on to their destinations. However, the poet cannot enter into the commonplace beauties and joys of life, because he is overcome by grief.

The poem mentions "a vanish'd hand" and "a voice that is still." These are references to Tennyson's friend, Arthur Henry Hallam, who died in 1833 when he was only twenty-two years old. Tennyson and Hallam met and became friends at Trinity College at Cambridge in 1828. They were both poets, although Tennyson was by far more successful. On a visit to Tennyson's home, Hallam fell in love with Tennyson's sister Emily. They later became engaged. Hallam was on a trip to Europe with his father when he died in July 1833 in Vienna. Tennyson and Emily were both heartbroken.

"Break, Break, Break" explores this grief. Although the poem was not published until 1842, Tennyson wrote it in early 1835, when the loss of Hallam was still painful for him to contemplate. In the line "the sound of a voice that is still," Tennyson mourns that he will never again hear Hallam's voice.

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