Friday, February 21, 2014

Heroic Hearts

I am a part of all that I have met.
~Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Did you know that Geoffrey Chaucer was a "versificator regis" (an early version of the Poet Laureate)? I saw some other familiar names on the list of British poet laureates, such as Edmund Spenser, Ben Jonson, John Dryden, and William Wordsworth. Today's poem is by Tennyson, who was the poet laureate of Great Britain for 42 years (from 1850 until his death in 1892):

an excerpt from Ulysses
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
'T is not too late to seek a newer world.

Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.

It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.

Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;

One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

If I had a flower for every time I thought of you...I could walk through my garden forever.
~Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Karen Edmisten has this week's Poetry Friday round-up.


LInda Baie said...

"Tis not too late to seek a newer world"-thanks for sharing all this, Tabatha. It was such a sad day when Robert Kennedy was shot. Again, we had such hopes as he campaigned. Tennyson still touches us, doesn't he?

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Such majesty and promise in this poem! It's power is long-lasting without doubt.

Robyn Hood Black said...

Thank you, Tabatha - timeless!

jama said...

42 years is a long time to be BPL!

Enjoyed the excerpt and the videos. Lovely quote too, so romantic :).

kortney said...

loved the Judi Dench! thanks so much for sharing!

Irene Latham said...

Yes, Tennyson is much beloved, esp. across the pond! Thanks for sharing these... don't you love when poetry pops up in unexpected places? xo

Karen Edmisten said...

The solid power of a classic.
And Judi Dench's recitation! Lovely. What a voice she has.

Catherine said...

This poem was a read at the funeral of a dear friend last year and I will forever more think of her when I hear it. Thank you for sharing it today.

Margaret Simon said...

The power in this poem is not only in its endurance but also in the strength of the spoken word from such beloved leaders.

Keri said...

I have long loved Tennyson's poetry. His "Crossing the Bar" was set to music and I sang it in college. I get teary every time. Thanks for reminding me of his genius. xoxo