The Eagle Questions and Answers
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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What does Tennyson mean by "azure world" (as seen in "The Eagle")?

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emilyfuller31 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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"The Eagle" is a short, six-line poem that is rich with descriptive imagery of the natural world. This poem provides a vivid image of a proud eagle atop a mountain and, ultimately, the eagle's "fall."

Line 3, the last line of the first stanza, reads,

Ring'd with the azure world, he stands.

To understand this line, the first thing to note is that the word "azure" refers to a bright blue color that is often associated with the sky. By "ring'd with the azure world," the poet is referring to the vast blue sky which surrounds the eagle like a ring. The "azure world," in this line, might also refer to the blue of the sea beneath the eagle, which is mentioned in the following line:

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;

Because the eagle stands with the sky above him and the sea below him, the "azure world" could refer to both the sky and the sea, the vast blue expanses of the natural world that surround the eagle like a ring.

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Lorna Stowers eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Lord Alfred Tennyson's poem "The Eagle" speaks to a dying eagle which falls into the sea beneath him. The poem is a short six line poem, broken into two stanzas. Each stanza is called a tercet (meaning three lines). The rhyme scheme is a simple rhyme scheme (aaa / bbb).

As for the line in question,

Ring'd with the azure world, he stands,

the line speaks to the halo of the blue sky which crowns the eagle. Azure means a bright blue color and ring'd refers to the way the sky encircles the eagle's head. Essentially, the eagle's head is crowned with the sky (showing his power and importance).

The pride of the eagle is inferred in the first few lines through the clasping of the crag with his crooked hands (personification). The eagle has come close to the sun in lands which are empty (alluding to those who leave when close to death). The importance of this lies in the "crowning" of the eagle, by the sky itself (the place where the eagle rules), and the royal color which encircles his head. 

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