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Crossing the Bar
Crossing the Bar
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Crossing the Bar Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

Iambic MetersThe meter of "Crossing the Bar" is all over the place; in fact, there are three different kinds of meter. But let's start small, shall we? Check out line 12: "When I embark." Hear that...


If we know one thing for sure about the speaker of "Crossing the Bar," it's that he's about to die. It's not clear if he's really old, or just sick, or some sort of old, kooky clairvoyant, but some...


Literally speaking, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that this poem takes place in a boat, on the water, at night, as the speaker heads out to sea. Come one, we've got sandbars, tolling b...

What's Up With the Title?

"Crossing the Bar" has nothing to do with making eyes at the hottie at the other end of a drinking establishment. The bar here is a sandbar—you know those bars of sand at the mouths of harbors an...

Calling Card

Sailing the Seas in Perfect MeterTennyson loved to talk about sailing the ocean. And Tennyson loved his perfect meter. Check out "Ulysses" and "The Lady of Shalott" for more watery, metered masterp...


(1) Sea Level "Crossing the Bar" is not going to throw you for a loop. Sure, it may ask you to question the nature of death, life, and everything in between, but it'll only use dime words to do so....


The great twentieth century poet T.S. Eliot once said that Tennyson had "the finest ear of any English poet since Milton." Eliot is actually buried next to Tennyson in Westminster Abbey, so maybe h...

Steaminess Rating

GThis one's about death, not sex.

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