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Ulysses

Ulysses

by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Analysis: Calling Card

Proverbial Phrases

There are a lot of things one could say about Tennyson's poem, but the signature in this poem has got to be the proverbial phrase. So many of the lines in this poem read like lines out of a book of quotations; it's no accident that Tennyson is the second most-quoted author – after Shakespeare – in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (source). Lines like "Tis not too late to seek a newer world" (57) and "All experience is an arch wherethrough / Gleams that untravelled world" (19-20) are good examples of this distinguishing feature, as are the last two: "strong in will / To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield." The latter are in fact some of the best-known lines in all of English literature.

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