POEM: ‘CROSSING THE BAR’—POET BACKGROUND, SUBJECT MATTER, THEMES, LITERARY DEVICES USED IN THE POEM.
POET BACKGROUND: The poem ‘’Crossing the Bar’’ was written by Alfred Lord Tennyson. He was born in 1809 in a village of Somersby in Lincolnshire. He was educated by his own father and was left to fend for himself. He roamed the streets for years before he went to University. He was a greatest poet of Victorian England. The Victorian age in Britain was the age of war and discovery. He won poet Laureate in 1850. He wrote ‘’Crossing the Bar’’ in October 1889; three years before his death in October 1892. He gave specific instruction that his ‘’Crossing the Bar’’ should be printed at the end of editions of his poems. Generally, the poem ‘’Crossing the Bar’’ centred on the passage of life, every human creature is expected to cross to the other side of life. This was reflected in the poem.
SUBJECT MATTER OF THE POEM-‘’CROSSING THE BAR’’
In this poem, Lord Tennyson made it cleared that every human being on earth will embark on a journey that requires no coming back. It is the passage of life. One lives to die one day. This is seen in lines 1-4, the first stanza of the poem.
‘’Sunset and evening star,
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea’’.
Tennyson knew he was going to die, he gave special instruction that ;;Crossing the Bar’’ should be edited at the end of his poems. This was reflected in lines 6-7, and the whole of the third stanza.
‘’When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home’’.
In the third stanza:
‘’Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
Here he felt sorrowful even at the point when he knew he was going to die. In the last stanza, he surrender himself to faith, believe that when he dies he would see God the creator. Lines 14-16.
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.
THEMES FROM THE POEM- ‘’CROSSING THE BAR’’
DISAPPOINTMENT: Lord Tennyson was unhappy and disappointed as soon as he discovered that he was going to die lines 3-4.
DEATH: Death is inevitable and it will come when it will come. Man himself is mortal.
LIFE AFTER DEATH: It is obvious that Tennyson was a good Christian. He believed in life after death. He had it mind that he would see God face to face. [ I hope to see my Pilot face to face].
LITERARY TERMS USED IN THE POEM:
IMAGES: One could see a mental picture of a sailor on a high sea, tide and flood that can carry someone away forever.
METAPHOR: The title of the poem itself is metaphorical in nature. The poet compared death with a bar. It means one will be transformed from life to death. Crossing the Bar simply means to die as it is used in the poem. It is the boundary between death and life.
REPETITION: The phrase ‘’When I ‘’ was repeated three times. It was only in the second stanza that it did not occur. It came at the last line of every other stanza. It was used to emphasize the importance of death in every living creature.
RHAPSODY: It is to express emotional utterance or feeling. In lines 2 and 10, the poet used exclamation mark to express deep feeling of sorrow of death. ‘’And one clear call for me! …. And after that the dark! It becomes painful when darkness fall on man.