Poem 1: The Splendour Falls

The first poem of the year is "The Splendour Falls" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

The Splendour Falls

The splendour falls on castle walls
And snowy summits old in story
The long light shakes across the lakes
And the wild cataract leaps in glory.
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.

O hark, O hear! how thin and clear,
And thinner, clearer, farther going!
O sweet and far from cliff and scar
The horns of Elfland faintly blowing!
Blow, let us hear the purple glens replying:
Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.

O love, they die in yon rich sky,
They faint on hill or field or river:
Our echoes roll from soul to soul,
And grow for ever and for ever
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
And answer, echoes, answer, dying, dying, dying.

I chose this poem from a collection of "Classic Poetry" edited by Michael Rosen given to me on my Confirmation in 2000. It is a short poem which forms part of a much longer poem named "The Princess", which I had never heard of but am now very much interested in reading in full. According to the Poetry Foundation (http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/alfred-tennyson), The Princess is ostensibly about "the education of women and the establishment of female colleges", however the author suggests that Tennyson's interest in the subject runs out before the poem does, "so that it gradually shifts to the consideration of what he thought of as the unnatural attempt of men and women to fulfill identical roles in society; only as the hero becomes more overtly masculine and the heroine takes on the traditional attributes of women is there a chance for their happiness." As a trainee Chemistry teacher, these themes are particularly interesting to me both with regards to the drive towards increasing female participation in STEM subjects, and addressing the imbalance of men and women in teaching. 

Apart from the larger medley, this short poem caught my attention at first because it reminds me of a setting in my favourite series of books (Anne of Green Gables), in which there is a cottage tucked away in a valley which echoes beautifully. I suspect that there may be more to it than simply a beautiful setting, but perhaps I will leave that for another conversation.


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