In this essay I am going to compare the following poemsCrossing the Bar and Let me die a young mans death.

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English Coursework                                            Muhammad Yasin Vali

In this essay I am going to compare the following poems”Crossing the Bar” and “Let me die a young man’s death”. Death is an inevitability of life, as Robert Benchley’s famous quote proves this true: “Death ends a life”

People’s attitude towards it often depends on their religion and culture.  Both of the poems were written in different eras but both look at death and lifestyle. Tennyson lived in Victorian times where religion played an integral part in people’s lives. The large majority of people in England at that time attended church and lived by the rules. Roger Mcgough wrote in more liberal times (1960’s and 1970’s) when people were rebelling against authority as well as religion and this is also reflected in his poem.

The title of Tennyson’s poem:

“Crossing the Bar”

is a metaphor because it represents death like the end of a journey. The word “crossing” can be referred to the journey from this world to the afterlife which again symbolises his religious attitude. The bar is being referred to the barrier from this world to the next as the only way in which you can cross is when the bar is there. In this case the bar refers to the call from god as he chooses the time for humans to die. Tennyson also makes use of the “open sea”. This is used to represent eternity as there is no way back from death. Tennyson also says that the bar can only be crossed in one direction and he uses some explicit ways to show life and death. From the language used we can see that Tennyson is making use of analogies as he is making comparisons with death like a journey by sea. The use of extended metaphors allows different people to interpret the poem in different ways.

 The poem starts with the phrase

'Sunset and evening star',

This immediately places the reader in a setting at the end of the day. The metaphor also represents a later stage in the poet's life.  This statement is supported by the opening of the third stanza: 'Twilight and evening bell, and after that the dark!'  Time is rapidly progressing as the poem develops as we can see from the use of commas rather than full stops to show a continuous nature of time. Tennyson is advising his audience to use there time wisely because before they know it, it will be there time to die. Tennyson is again using metaphors to represent death as he uses the dark. This metaphor may represent the moment when a person leaves this world. This can be further understood by the use of exclamation mark to show the significance of the event as death is regarded by many to be an important event in there life. After each reference to time Tennyson makes a will to his future by stating:

'And may there be no moaning of the bar, / when I put out to sea'

'And may there be no sadness of farewell, / when I embark'                                        In this case the bar is representing the people on earth who will be mourning his death, but Tennyson does not want anybody mourning his death because he wants death to be a happy occasion as he lived his life according to religion. Tennyson also again uses the word sea which can be used as an extended metaphor because the word sea is used shows how Tennyson is engaging the audience. The poet both shows certainty and uncertainty in this poem .The fact that Tennyson is using metaphors on numerous occasions reflects on his religious attitude as he doesn’t know if it will be a good death or a bad death. Tennyson is repeating the fact that he doesn’t want anyone to mourn his death showing certainty that death for him will be a happy occasion. The use of the word embark shows the religious attitude of Tennyson, here Tennyson is portraying a similarity between life and death as life is widely understood by many people to be a journey and here Tennyson portrays death as a form of journey.

Tennyson’s religious attitude is again showed in the second stanza as he mentions:

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“When that drew out the boundless deep- turns again home”

Here he is demonstrating God’s power by showing that he created him and enriched him from nothing. Here Tennyson is making analogy’s with the sea, Tennyson is also showing modesty in this poem by using the phrase “boundless deep” (referring to himself). The fact that Tennyson uses the word home shows his positive feelings towards death, the word home also shows Tennyson’s confidence because he had lived his life according to religious principles therefore he believes death is not something to fear. Tennyson’s religious attitude is also mirrored by the ...

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