Brook - Break, Break, Break - Sweet and Low - and The Eagle
By: Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)
This is Tennyson at his best. This is Tennyson, the master poet at his most descriptive, his most insightful, his most enlightening. This set of four poems has been carefully selected to depict life and life journeys - journeys that encompass timelessness and tragedy, fragility and hope - in ways that illuminate the constant cloud of wonder surrounding the ephemeral quality of existence.
These are four magnificent poems that speak of life, its tragedies, its loneliness, its dangers and its brevity in a superb juxtaposition with the enduring and unchanging character of the natural world. This unchanging character is illustrated by the endlessness of the flowing water of a brook, the ability of the "Wind of the western sea" to unite a family, or indeed the solace of callous indifference the sea can provide to someone experiencing a tragedy.
These are poems that depict relationships between mankind and the natural world in contrast but also in a marked and intricate interdependency. The essential theme of this collection - the permanence of nature over the transience of mankind's corporeal reality - is best summarized by Tennyson's memorable lines from "The Brook": "For men may come and men may go / But I go on for ever."
- Summary by Bruce Kachuk