Study Guide

The Eagle Speaker

By Alfred, Lord Tennyson


The speaker could be the narrator of a nature documentary. He watches the eagle from a very great distance but can see details that we wouldn't expect, like the bird's crooked hands. He's like David Attenborough, the famous British environmentalist who has narrated a bazillion nature documentaries, including Blue Planet and Planet Earth. (If you haven't seen either of these shows – RUN to your library to go check them out. That is, after you've finished reading about Tennyson.) He even has that distinctive British quality to his voice – at least when we imagine how the poem should be read. He tends to go for odd or over-the-top descriptions and loves to use dramatic-sounding words like "ring'd" and "wrinkled." Also, just like the narrator of a documentary (heck, just like David Attenborough), he has mastered the art of the dramatic pause. "RING'd with the azure world...he stands." "And like a THUNDERbolt…he falls." We wouldn't be surprised to learn that our dear Mr. Attenborough had read a lot of Tennyson in his day. After all, Tennyson is still a bigger deal in Great Britain than in America.

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