What does "the azure world" mean in "The Eagle"?

Quick answer:

The phrase "the azure world" in "The Eagle" refers to the vast expanses of sky and sea surrounding the eagle, both of which are painted in vivid shades of azure, a bright blue color. The eagle, perched high on a mountain, perceives itself at the center of this blue circle, providing a unique perspective of the world. This imagery serves to elevate the eagle's majesty and solitude in the natural world.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In line 3, when the narrator describes the eagle as "ring'd with the azure world," he means that the eagle is surrounded with or encircled by the bluest of blue skies: azure is the name of this pristine sky blue color, the blue we see on a perfectly sunny and clear day.  The eagle is perched very high up in the air, "clasp[ing] a crag" that is "close to the sun" (lines 1, 2).  He is alone and holding on to a tall mountaintop.  Thus, it seems as though we are sort of seeing the world the way the eagle sees it from high up on his mountain perch: the eagle perceives himself as being at the center of this blue circle of sky around him, and so this is what we see from the description as well. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

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

"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.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

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

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. 

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Last Updated on