This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Saturday Rave: Ulysses by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

The other week on the Isle of Wight I walked from The Needles (they're pointy spikes of chalk sticking out of the sea):

File:Edward William Cooke - Off the Needles, Isle of Wight - Google Art Project.jpg
Off the Needles, Isle of Wight, by Edward William Cooke, 1845.

 along the cliff tops to the Tennyson Memorial:

The wind at the Needles was so strong that in some places I couldn't keep my footing.

 There was no other person at the Tennyson Memorial, which was put up by public subscription as a signal to shipping, but the earth round the base of the cross was churned to black mud by cows.

Tennyson lived for many years near the place where his memorial stands, but when I re-read his poem Ulysses, which was published in 1842, I wonder if he was happy to be bounded as he was by the waves of his island.

...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...
But of course the fact that Tennyson was a poet means that he could go on vast adventures without so much as stirring from his chair.

Still, I can't help but wonder.
Word To Use Today: furrow. This comes from the Old English furh, from the Latin porca, which means exactly the opposite of a furrow, that is, a ridge between them.



  1. My Dad's favourite poem! Adele

    1. Clearly a man of good taste, who often sailed beyond the sunset and had his very own Weston star.