Tears, Idle Tears

by Elizabeth Bowen

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Student Question

What is the epiphany in "Tears, Idle Tears"?

Expert Answers

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In "Tears, Idle Tears," by Alfred Lord Tennyson, the narrator is distraught at the realization with regard to how time has passed. No longer in the youthful season of life, the narrator observes the autumnal fields and feels great despair at what has passed and can never be regaine. This is a common theme among many people as the begin to age. Hopefully they all come to the conclusion (epiphany) everntually that the narrator did in that:

And all its aching joys are now no more
And all its dizzy raptures. Not for this
Faint I, nor mourn nor murmur; other gifts
Have followed; for such loss, I would believe,
Abundant recompense.

Essentially the narrator is stating that while the crazy elements of youth have gone, he is not going to be sorrowful or dwell on those things because the knoweldge, satisfaction, and etc. that he has gained with age is reward enough for what has passed on.

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