English Literature » Notes » Tennyson’s Treatment of Nature
Alfred Tennyson

Tennyson’s Treatment of Nature

Tennyson was a great poet of nature. He stands side by side with Wordsworth, Shelly, Keats and Byron in the treatment of nature. A critic, Harrison, has observed-

Byron is the poet of mountains and oceans, Shelly of clouds and airs, Keats of perfume of the evening, Wordsworth of the mysteries and Tennyson is of the poet of flowers, trees and birds.

And Tennyson is supreme in this regard. The meanest flower that blows does not inspire the thoughts of Tennyson as it did of Wordsworth. But Tennyson has painted them all- flowers, trees, herbs, woods and meadows in a magical way.

Tennyson painted nature with an eye of a painter. In the poem, Locksley Hall, he has given a truly charming picture of nature that brings profound peace, silence and tranquility in our mind. The mariners who have become Lotos-eaters have now taken decision to stay in that island. They do not want to toil any longer. Now they want to enjoy their life taking rest and observing the natural beauty of the Lotos island. They want to enjoy the sweet music of softer water falls and they want to hear the soft falling of the dews on the crops and grass. The Lotos-Eaters observe the blissful sky and green stones full of mosses. This description is highly pictorial that only a skilled painter can paint. We can mention some lines in the regard-

There is sweet music here that softer falls
Than petals from blown roses on the grass,
Or night-dews on still waters between walls
Of shadowy granite, in a gleaming pass;

Tennyson treats nature as an accompaniment of human emotions and sentiments. In the poem Ulysses, we se mysteriously beautiful picture of nature when Ulysses describes the evening sky and melancholic ocean at the closing of the day. The twinkling stars can be seen from behind the hills. The moon is rising slowly up in the sky. Ulysses and his comrades are now aged persons. Old age of man is similar to the closing of the day. But Ulysses says that even in this old age some noble work may be done. Ulysses calls his comrades to start a new voyage smiting the high waves of the sea so that they can discover a new island. He says that it may be the happy island where the great warrior Achilles may be ruling. To discover a new island Ulysses even wants to go beyond the sunset. Through the mouth Ulysses, Tennyson wants to say that a man should perform his duties till the end of life.

For the brilliant picture of nature in his poems, Tennyson is more often compared with the romantic veteran, William Wordsworth. Wordsworth loved nature for her own sake. William treated nature as a source of joy, comfort, divine knowledge and spiritual upliftment. Tennyson does not offer any philosophical conception regarding nature. Bu his observation of nature is accurate and lively.

In fine, we can say that in the poems of Tennyson the treatment of nature has found an important place with a splendid artistic touch. His brilliant picture of nature sometimes takes us to the idealized world. For delineating nature with all of its aspects and decorating his poetry with lovely descriptions of nature his poetry has a universal appeal.

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