What brook is Alfred Lord Tennyson talking about in his poem song of the brook?


The poet has realistically drawn a parallelism between the journey of the brook with the life of a man... the poet says as in the childhood the a child is very agile, energetic and lively , like that only the brook in the beginning stage of its life is very powerful, enhacing and it keeps on flowing with a great rush and enthusiasm through out its life .it falls from great heights and menders around the wavy path, and when it approaches on plain it becomes very slow and continues to flow eternally .like the brook a man toward the end of his life he becomes slow in his moves and ultimately dies and also emerges with its final destination but it never ends to flow........


  • The brook makes a sudden appearance by emerging from the mountains, the dwelling place of water birds (coot and hern). It sparkles and shines among the fern (flowerless plants) because the sun's rays are reflected off by it. The brook flows down a valley quickly in a very noisy manner.
  • The poet depicts the pace of the brook, as it quickly flows through hills, ridges, villages, a town and bridges.
  • Finally, the brook joins the overflowing river after it flows by a farm (Philip's farm).
  • As the brook flows by stony ways, it creates a whirlpool (eddying bay) and sounds (chatters) because of the stones and pebbles in its path.
  • As the brook flows further, it erodes its banks. The brook then flows by fields, infertile barren lands and a foreland filled with flowers (willow-weed and mallow).
  • The brook then meanders in and out, and carries along with it blossoms, silt, fish(grayling and trout) and gravel.
  • There are some changes in the terrain and the water of the brook hits many hard objects, causing the water to split in various directions and foam formation.
  • When the brook comes closer towards the river, in the plains, its movement becomes slower, gentle, calm, quiet and soft. It flows smoothly by the lawns and grassy plots; and the hazel covers and the forget-me-nots flowers.
  • The sunlight falls on the brook after it penetrates through the canopy covers. Water becomes shallowers on its sandy banks.
  • At night, the brook flows through thorny forests. It flows by eroded pebbles and stones slowly and by the pungent leaf plants(cresses).
  • The brook continues its journey to join the briiming river as it makes its way out of the vegetation.


  • When the brook emerges from the mountains , its movement is very noisy and quick and it is very energetic. It is in a rush to achieve its goal of joining the overflowing river. Similarly, man in his youth is very lively, agile, energetic and active.
  • The brook in its early stages is very fast and overcomes all the hurdles, hard objects, stones and pebbles in its journey. This can be compared to man in his youth who is enthusiastic and can strive and accept all the challenges that come in his way.
  • During the journey, the brook takes along with it silt, gravel, blossoms and fish. Similarly man also takes away different people he comes across along with him, in some way, to accompany him ahead in the journey of life.
  • When the brook comes closer to the river, its movement becomes slow and smooth, which can be compared to man in his old age, who becomes very calm, gentle, soft and lethargic.
  • The difference between the two is that the brook is eternal and keeps flowing on forever, while man reaches his final destination after his old age by meeting the horns of death.


  • ALLITERATION: sudden sally, Half a hundred, skimming swallows, golden gravel, willow-weeds, fairy foreland, field and fallow
  • ONOMATOPOEIA: bicker, babble, chatter, murmur
  • REFRAIN: For men may come and may go, but I go on forever.
  • REPETITION: And here and there a lusty trout, And here and there a grayling. I chatter, chatter
  • PERSONIFICATION: The brook has been personified
  • SYMBOL: Fish=source of life, forget-me-nots=eternal love


The poet has compared the mortal nature of man with the immortal nature of the brook. The poet has drawn a parallel between the two and has tried to depict the similarities between the two in the various stages of the journey of their lives. The brook keeps flowing on forever and is eternal. But man has a certain lifespan and man's journey of life has to end when he meets the horns of death. The poet, through this poem has tried to emphasize on this point by using the refrain-'For men may come, And men may go, But I go on forever.'