In "Break, Break, Break," the speaker seems to worry about how much sadness is too much – when is he allowed to get over his grief and enjoy the sights and sounds by the sea again? Is it disrespectful to the memory of his friend to enjoy things? Does he need to be melancholy all the time? At what point does his sorrow just turn into empty, meaningless repetition?
The speaker's grief for the death of his friend makes him see his sense of loss in his physical surroundings.