What is the meaning of the expression "foot of thy crags" in the poem "Break, Break, Break"?

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Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Tennyson's poem "Break, Break, Break" is the narrator's lament for someone "vanish'd" (line 11). The image is of someone at the shore watching the waves break, feeling lonely and sad. We are given a clue in the beginning that the waves are breaking against a cliff when the narrator refers to "cold gray stones" (line 2), but this is made completely clear when the narrator refers to the "crags" (line 14). A crag is a cliff. The waves are breaking against the bottom of the cliff. When we refer to the bottom of a cliff, we often call it the foot of the cliff. This is used so frequently that most people don't stop to think of this as personification. A cliff has no feet! We use this in other ways, too, for example, the foot of the bed. The expression simply means the bottom of the cliffs.