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Short poem

Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

Break, break, break

              1Break, break, break,
              2      On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!
              3And I would that my tongue could utter
              4      The thoughts that arise in me.

              5O, well for the fisherman's boy,
              6      That he shouts with his sister at play!
              7O, well for the sailor lad,
              8      That he sings in his boat on the bay!

              9And the stately ships go on
            10      To their haven under the hill;
            11But O for the touch of a vanish'd hand,
            12      And the sound of a voice that is still!

            13Break, break, break
            14      At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!
            15But the tender grace of a day that is dead
            16      Will never come back to me.


1] "Made in a Lincolnshire lane at five o'clock in the morning, between blossoming hedges" (Tennyson). It is in memory of the poet's friend, Arthur Hallam, who died in 1833.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Alfred lord Tennyson, Poems, 2 vols. (Boston: W. D. Ticknor, 1842). PR 5550 E42a Victoria College Library (Toronto). Alfred lord Tennyson, Works (London: Macmillan, 1891). tenn T366 A1 1891a Fisher Rare Book Library (Toronto).
First publication date: 1842
RPO poem editor: H. M. McLuhan
RP edition: 3RP 3.49.
Recent editing: 2:2002/1/10

Rhyme: abcb

Other poems by Alfred Lord Tennyson