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Tithonus

Uploaded by hurr.i.cane.87 on Jan 02, 2005

TITHONUS
BY ALFRED TENNYSON

“Let me go; take back thy gift”
The poem ‘Tithonus’ is based on a Greek myth about Tithonus, a beautiful youth and beloved of Eos, the Goddess of Dawn. At the request of Eos, the Gods grant Tithonus immortal life, but unfortunately not immortal youth. Tithonus’ request gave him immortality, but the poem is a yearning for death and a release from immortal life.

The poem opens with Tithonus despising the curse of immortality bestowed upon him by Eos. The “woods decay”, vapour condenses and the earth takes away its burden, man works on the ground and then lies beneath it, and even the glorious swan dies after “many a summer”. Only Tithonus lives.
“Me only cruel immortality
Consumes”.
He has “wither”ed and is a “white-hair’d shadow” that roams in the “ever-silent spaces” of the lonely East — in the silent limits of the world, in “far-folded mists” and in the “gleaming halls of morn”.

Tithonus perceives himself as a “gray shadow”. He was once a man so beautiful and young that he was chosen by Eos; being Eos’ beloved was a joy greater than many joys experienced by Gods.
“ ‘Give me immortality’ ”.
Eos granted him immortal life with a smile, like wealthy men who “care not how they give”. But time and “strong Hours” effected him and “marr’d and wasted” him. And though time could not end him, it left him broken down “to dwell in the presence of immortal youth”.

“Immortal age beside immortal youth”.

Tithonus has immortal life but is “in ashes” whereas Eos is immortally beautiful and young. He requests her out of love and beauty to “make amends” to the wish that was granted to him. At this moment, in Eos’ eyes, which are as bright as the Silver Star, Venus, he sees tears of pity — she knows that she cannot help him.

He pleads her to hear him and release him from this prison — to take back her “gift”. He then wonders why man desires to bypass the “goal of ordinance” — the natural cycle of life and death created by God, where everyone needs a pause, which is death.

He sees a glimpse of the “dark world” where he was born. He sees Eos in the “mysterious” change of the arrival of dawn. Dawn seems to be rising and the light seems to be emitting...

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Uploaded by:   hurr.i.cane.87

Date:   01/02/2005

Category:   Poems

Length:   4 pages (868 words)

Views:   1525

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