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Crossing the Bar

Crossing the Bar

by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Crossing the Bar Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. Does this poem seem sad? Melancholy? Depressing? Hopeful? A mixture of all four? What line in the poem best illustrates its tone?
  2. Why do you think the speaker uses the word "Pilot" to refer to God? What effect does this have? Is it just an extension of the metaphor of the poem, or is there something deeper going on?
  3. What effect does Tennyson achieve by organizing the poem into four stanzas? And what about the rhyme scheme?
  4. Is sailing an effective or ineffective metaphor for death? What makes you say so?
  5. Is this a good poem to put last in collections of Tennyson's poetry? Why or why not? Why do you think he wanted it to end every collection of his work?
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