• Annotated Full Text
  • Literary Period: Victorian
  • Publication Date: 1889
Poetry

Crossing the Bar

Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote “Crossing the Bar” in 1889 after recovering from an illness at the age of eighty. The poem is a sixteen-line extended metaphor about crossing the boundary between life and death.

Though “Crossing the Bar” was written in the Victorian era, its vivid natural imagery and romanticization of death resemble Romantic-era literature. The speaker anticipates departing on a sea voyage at night, hoping for no “moaning of the bar,” or sad farewells, as he crosses the harbor. Darkness and uncertainty await in the ocean beyond, but the sailor ultimately finds solace in hoping to meet his “Pilot.”

  • Annotated Full Text
  • Literary Period: Victorian
  • Publication Date: 1889