Study Guide

Ulysses Tough-O-Meter

By Alfred, Lord Tennyson


(4) Base Camp

For the most part Tennyson's poem is relatively straightforward. At a few moments, however, it gets tricky and requires some ingenuity on the part of the reader. Lines like "All experience is an arch wherethrough / Gleams that untravelled world" (19-20) are infuriatingly mysterious. At other times, Tennyson leaves out words that would help us make more sense of the lines. For example, when he says "but every hour [that] is saved / From that eternal silence, [is] something more, / A bringer of new things" (26-8) we have to insert "that" and "is" just to make it make sense. Fortunately, lines like these are few and far between.