© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Splendour Falls on Castle Walls

The Splendour Falls on Castle Walls


by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Wildness Imagery

Symbol Analysis

The whole poem takes place in about as remote a location as you can imagine: the speaker is in the mountains, looking across a valley, and he thinks he's all alone when he suddenly hears a bugle horn, seemingly out of nowhere. The wild remoteness of the location is part of what makes the bugle seem so magical. Who's playing it? Where's the sound of the horn coming from? The fact that the poem leaves these questions unanswered underscores the importance of the untamed, unnamed wilderness to this poem.

  • Line 4: The waterfall ("cataract") is described as "wild," and the speaker tells us that it "leaps." Since waterfalls don't actually "leap," this is clearly some kind of a metaphor. The speaker seems to be comparing the waterfall to some kind of wild animal that might "leap" down the mountainside.
  • Line 5: The "echoes" are also described as "wild," only instead of "leap[ing]," they are "flying." This is another metaphor, only this time, the "echoes" seem to be compared to some sort of wild bird. What kind of bird do you imagine in this line?

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...