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"Ulysses" is a poem in blank verse by the Victorian poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892), written in 1833 and published

in 1842 in his
well-received second volume of poetry. An oft-quoted poem, it is popularly used to illustrate the dramatic monologue form. Ulysses describes,
to an unspecified audience, his discontent and restlessness upon returning to his kingdom, Ithaca, after his far-ranging travels. Facing old age,
Ulysses yearns to explore again, despite his reunion with his wife Penelope and son Telemachus.
The character of Ulysses (in Greek, Odysseus) has been explored widely in literature. The adventures of Odysseus were first recorded
in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey (c. 800–700 BC), and Tennyson draws on Homer's narrative in the poem. Most critics, however, find that
Tennyson's Ulysses recalls Dante's Ulisse in his Inferno (c. 1320). In Dante's re-telling, Ulisse is condemned to hell among the false counsellors,
both for his pursuit of knowledge beyond human bounds and for his adventures in disregard of his family.
For much of this poem's history, readers viewed Ulysses as resolute and heroic, admiring him for his determination "To strive, to seek, to find,
and not to yield".
[1]
The view that Tennyson intended a heroic character is supported by his statements about the poem, and by the events in
his life—the death of his closest friend—that prompted him to write it. In the twentieth century, some new interpretations of "Ulysses"
highlighted potential ironies in the poem. They argued, for example, that Ulysses wishes to selfishly abandon his kingdom and family, and they
questioned more positive assessments of Ulysses' character by demonstrating how he resembles flawed protagonists in earlier literature.
Ulysses
It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel; I will drink
Life to the lees. All times I have enjoy'd
Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Thro' scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea. I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known,-- cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honor'd of them all,--
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use!
As tho' to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains; but every hour is saved
>From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.
This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
to whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,--
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfill
This labor, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro' soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.
There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail;
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought with me,-
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads,-- you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honor and his toil.
Death closes all; but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks;
The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs; the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends.
'T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,--
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", commonly known as "Prufrock", is a poem by American-British poet T. S. Eliot (1888–1965). Eliot began
writing "Prufrock" in February 1910 and it was first published in the June 1915 issue of Poetry: A Magazine of Verse
[2]
at the instigation of Ezra
Pound (1885–1972). It was later printed as part of a twelve-poem pamphlet (or chapbook) titled Prufrock and Other Observations in 1917.
[1]
At
the time of its publication, Prufrock was considered shocking and offensive, but is now seen as heralding a paradigmatic cultural shift from late
19th century Romantic verse and Georgian lyrics to Modernism. The poem is regarded
[by whom?]
as the beginning of Eliot's career as an influential
poet.
The poem's structure was heavily influenced by Eliot's extensive reading of Dante Alighieri
[3]
and makes several references to the Bible and
other literary works—including William Shakespeare's plays Henry IV Part II, Twelfth Night, and Hamlet, the poetry of seventeenth-
century metaphysical poet John Donne, and the nineteenth-century French Symbolists. Eliot narrates the experience of Prufrock using
the stream of consciousness technique developed by his fellow Modernist writers. The poem, described as a "drama of literary anguish", is
a dramatic interior monologue of an urban man, stricken with feelings of isolation and an incapability for decisive action that is said "to
epitomize frustration and impotence of the modern individual" and "represent thwarted desires and modern disillusionment."
[4]
Prufrock
laments his physical and intellectual inertia, the lost opportunities in his life and lack of spiritual progress, and he is haunted by reminders
of unattained carnal love. With visceral feelings of weariness, regret, embarrassment, longing, emasculation, sexual frustration, a sense of
decay, and an awareness of mortality, "Prufrock" has become one of the most recognised voices in modern literature.
[5]

The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out
against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a
table;
Let us go, through certain half-
deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night
cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with
oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious
argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming
question….
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and
go
Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back
upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its
muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of
the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand
in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that
falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a
sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft
October night,
Curled once about the house, and
fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides
along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window
panes;
There will be time, there will be
time
To prepare a face to meet the faces
that you meet;
There will be time to murder and
create,
And time for all the works and days
of hands
That lift and drop a question on
your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred
indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and
revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and
go
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I
dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the
stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of
my hair—
(They will say: “How his hair is
growing thin!”)
My morning coat, my collar
mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but
asserted by a simple pin—
(They will say: “But how his arms
and legs are thin!”)
Do I dare 45
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a
minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already,
known them all:
Have known the evenings,
mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with
coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying
fall
Beneath the music from a farther
room.
So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already,
known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a
formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated,
sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on
the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my
days and ways?
And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already,
known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white
and bare
(But in the lamplight, downed with
light brown hair!)
Is it perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap
about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?
. . . . . . . .

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk
through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises
from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves,
leaning out of windows?…

I should have been a pair of ragged
claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent
seas.
. . . . . . . .

And the afternoon, the evening,
sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep … tired … or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside
you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and
ices,
Have the strength to force the
moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted,
wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head
(grown slightly bald) brought in
upon a platter,
I am no prophet—and here’s no
great matter;
I have seen the moment of my
greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal
Footman hold my coat, and
snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it,
after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the
tea,
Among the porcelain, among some
talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a
smile,
To have squeezed the universe into
a ball
To roll it toward some
overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from
the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell
you all”—
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say: “That is not what I
meant at all;
That is not it, at all.”

And would it have been worth it,
after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards
and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups,
after the skirts that trail along the
floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I
mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the
nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing
off a shawl,
And turning toward the window,
should say:
“That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.”
. . . . . . . .

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor
was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will
do
To swell a progress, start a scene or
two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an
easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit
obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost
ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my
trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I
dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers,
and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing,
each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to
me.

I have seen them riding seaward on
the waves
Combing the white hair of the
waves blown back
When the wind blows the water
white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers
of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed
red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we
drown.
"You Are Old, Father William" is a poem by Lewis Carroll that appears in his book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865). It
is recited by Alice in Chapter 5, "Advice from a Caterpillar" (Chapter 3 in the original manuscript, Alice's Adventures Under
Ground). Alice informs the caterpillar that she has previously tried to repeat "How Doth the Little Busy Bee" and has had it all
come wrong as "How Doth the Little Crocodile". The caterpillar asks her to repeat "You are old, Father William", and she
recites.
[1]

You Are Old, Father William
'You are old, Father William', the young man said,
'And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head --
Do you think, at your age, it is right?'

'In my youth', Father William replied to his son,
'I feared it might injure the brain;
But, now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again.'

'You are old', said the youth, 'as I mentioned before,
And have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door --
Pray, what is the reason of that?'

'In my youth', said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
'I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment - one shilling the box -
Allow me to sell you a couple?'

'You are old', said the youth, 'and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak -
Pray, how did you manage to do it?'

'In my youth', said his father, 'I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life.'

'You are old', said the youth, 'one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose -
What made you so awfully clever?'

'I have answered three questions, and that is enough,'
Said his father, 'don't give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I'll kick you downstairs!'

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