Summary of ‘The Brook’ by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson, FRS (6 August 1809 – 6 October 1892) was Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland during much of Queen Victoria’s reign and remains one of the most popular British poets. Tennyson excelled at penning short lyrics, such as “Break, Break, Break”, “The Charge of the Light Brigade”, “Tears, Idle Tears” and “Crossing the Bar”. Much of his verse was based on classical mythological themes, such as Ulysses, although In Memoriam A.H.H. was written to commemorate his friend Arthur Hallam, a fellow poet and student at Trinity College, Cambridge, after he died of a stroke aged just 22.


The brook is a poem written by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. In this poem, the brook plays the role of the narrator as it tells the reader about its journey. Here is the summary of the poem.

The brook starts out from the dwelling place of birds such as the coot (a water bird) and the hern (archaic word for heron). It makes a sudden rush as it flows out. The presence of sunlight causes the brook’s water to sparkle as it flows among the fern. It then continues its journey by flowing down a valley. While doing so, the sound of the flowing brook resembles that of people quarrelling. Hence the phrase, ‘bicker down a valley’.

The brook flows down along  hills. Sometimes, it also glides between long and narrow hill ranges, called ridges. Thorpes refer to  small villages or hamlets. Between two small towns, the brook passes several thorpes and a large number of bridges. The numbers used in this line such as ‘thirty’, ‘twenty’, ‘half a hundred’ should not be taken in the literal sense. These numbers are used to give the impression of  ‘several’ or ‘many’ and to maintain the rhythm of the poem.

Finally, the brook passes Philip’s farm and flows into the overflowing river. The brook further states that men are transient. They come and go over time. But it outlives men and continues forever.


The lines ‘For men may come and men may go, /But I go on for ever.’, are repeated several times in the entire poem.

As the brook flows over stony paths, its water makes a chattering sound. This sound is high pitched, hence the phrase ‘sharps and trebles’ (both, high pitched notes in music).

As water flows past an obstacle, a reverse motion is created that leads to swirling. These are known as eddies. A lot of bubbles are also formed.

As the brook flows over pebbles, the sound it makes is similar to that made while talking rapidly. Hence the phrase, ‘babble on the pebbles’.

The brook does not flow in a straight line. It makes a lot of turns and etches out a path full of curves. ‘Fret’ means ‘fuss’ or ‘worry’. The brook forms so many curves, that it seems as if it is constantly troubling its banks to change shape. The brook continues beside many fields as well as fallow lands. ‘Fairy forelands’ refer to promontories. These are masses of land that overlook the brook. These promontories are home to plants such as willow weed and mallow. The brook passes them on its journey.

Brooks

As the brook flows, on its way to the overflowing river, it makes a continuous sound. The sound is like that of people talking. Hence, the line ‘I chatter, chatter, as I flow”.

The brook repeats that although men are transient, it goes on forever.

Go to Page 2, to continue reading!

82 Comments
  1. dharya says

    this is pretty good but a few lines like the netted sunbeams is wrong

    1. Niharika says

      I understand it clearly now thanks

      1. Manav T says

        Your from which School

    2. Sowjanya says

      I understood it very clearly now

    3. richa jayanti class 7 says

      no i think that’s only an imagination or quite true reality!!!!!

  2. Shaima says

    Easier language will be preferable.( as this would be needed mostly by young students )

    1. dhruv says

      i definitely agree to dis remark

    2. yashas says

      You said correct

    3. nishant says

      I am with shaima

    4. mrittika says

      thank you abhishek..its quite helpful

  3. Vedant says

    Lines are not to the point.Extra information is given and not what is required 🙂

  4. aanmary says

    some more easy language is good

  5. sathees says

    it s nice

  6. priya says

    Its useful but its not to the point but giving meaning for new words are really good

  7. Doyel says

    The summary is well written and understandable. And this has proved helpful for the purpose.

  8. Ashwini Raghu says

    I don’t it necessary for the summary to be too long. But all the same it is pretty good because it proved useful for me.

  9. pavithra says

    Its very useful for my summary and summer projects

  10. janu says

    it is good and in easy language which I understood very well. Thanks

  11. varsha says

    Its too much long..I needed a short but perfect summary.. Meanings of some line a were far beyond my imagination.. Overall..it was helpful…
    Thank you

    1. tuhina says

      This is quite useful.

    2. tuhina says

      This is quite useful.I am benifited.

  12. sudeep says

    i found it very useful

  13. Anush says

    It is very good and helpful but long Thankyou

  14. Aryan Singh says

    This is very godd as it is all know. There is also good explanation by beaming notes. By read this explanation you can enjoy examination without any fear.

  15. Aryan Singh says

    Give a some short summary.
    This too much big

  16. Ritam says

    Excellent summary but a little lengthy. It is very useful for summary projects also. Great work.

  17. kiranthara says

    thanks .this summary helps me to complete my project

  18. Aniket Patel says

    It helped me its really nice

  19. harisankar says

    excellent summary it help me a lot but very lengthy!!!!

  20. Pally. says

    This summary was very helpful for my courses.And s lot of thanks for that

  21. Naman Khandelwal says

    this poem is amazing and true.this language is proportional to 9th std

  22. Naman Khandelwal says

    this poem is amazing and true.this language is proportional for class9th

  23. ashfaque mazumder says

    Helped me passing

  24. priyadarshinipattanaikmail.com says

    It is very simple and nice poem for school children

  25. gaurav jangra says

    very helpfull.if anybody wats to ask question from me related to this chapter so my contact no. is7876942406

  26. Chirag says

    Thnx..aa looottt…

  27. Amulya says

    Helpfulllllllll!!!!!!!

  28. birju says

    Its simple and easy to understand.i like it

  29. savio says

    Good jobe easy lagauged thanks

  30. Kakoli Biswas says

    A perfect analysis of the poem. However, I always felt the sunbeam was netted because it filtered in through the branches of trees growing by the brook.

  31. mahdy says

    thank you so . It really helped

  32. mahdy says

    It’s a very good comment thank you for your efforts .I really appreciate your work.

  33. Amassuo says

    It Helps me to cheat well hàhà Thankies

  34. Edwin masih says

    Comment: I have been teaching this poem for three years.

  35. priya says

    IT WAS REALLY USEFUL TO ME

  36. Suprov says

    It’s a big summary but it’s good to have more details.

  37. eleena says

    Hence Tennyson uses the word ‘loiter’ is used. “is used” should be omitted

  38. pagal singh says

    Bahut bekar poemvka summary hai

    1. aysha says

      Its a beautiful poem by Tennyson as it shows the lives of human beings how it is lived

  39. sakshi says

    it is good but it must be in easy language because it is mainly important for youngesters and also because all students not know english very well.although it is nice and easy to read.

  40. sakshi says

    this is not right at all

  41. ghydf says

    good but it really fucked up my project and my teacher

  42. Ishita says

    There no second page here it is not the complete summary otherwise it is excellentbbut it should be complete

    1. Abhishek says

      Ishita, Please check the link to second page after the ad ends. Thank you!

      1. Sama says

        Hai this was a nice cute summery

  43. vrinda khanna says

    ya it is quiet understandable but too long.

  44. m says

    very nice

  45. DEBABRATA MOHAPATRA says

    NICE ONE…..THANKS FOR UPLOADING.

  46. Hemant kumar says

    It’s helpful for me and others also

  47. arinrajsingh says

    its easy to understand “but to loooooong”

    1. Rameese says

      WHEN ITS LONG THE MORE U COULD UNDERSTAND’

  48. keerthu says

    nice but it can be short and crisp then it will be easy

  49. mrittika says

    thank you for this one.. quite helpful

  50. Akash says

    Awesome . Understood the poem better . Thanx to the people who uploaded this. ????

  51. kaushal says

    Iam understanding this Summary but too large……… Thanxx….

  52. Charu says

    It’s too good and quit easy to understand ??

  53. Rameese says

    AWESOME SUMMARY I GOT REALLY HELPED OF THIS
    I CANT STOP SAYING!!!!!!
    5 STARS FOR THIS SUMMARY

  54. bapan som says

    good it is very useful but too big, anyways I like it it is nice

  55. Sam says

    I clearly understood the poem. Really it is a marvelous website

    1. mohan says

      but i cant understand the values

      1. Swineetha Weeratunge says

        what do you mean by ‘value’. why cant’ you understand the value of the nature? I am confused

  56. Kenisha says

    I read it in my book, it was the same,but it was truly heart touching

  57. Swineetha Weeratunge says

    It’s marvelous and one can forget any sorrow to feel happy. I enjoyed reading this poem several times. I wandered the nature is so strong to feel free in our day to day life,

  58. sneha says

    Thank u fr this one………. quite hlpfull..?

  59. Zach Herman says

    Could be better

  60. rashmi says

    The life of a brook can be collated to human life. We start as tiny toddlers we grow , face many hurdles live within society and submerge with the river and ocean of eternity. He is immortal but the water of brook in river can’t flow back and it represents human life and men may come and men may go but eternity time d nature for ever

  61. FEMEENA says

    its quite long i need a short summary ………….but useful

  62. Tenny Walker says

    it will help me in exams but english is quite difficult as we are not native speakers of english

  63. NanDini says

    It could be better…its a summary so it should be short and it should use a easy language for better understanding…

  64. Raj says

    It could be better when it is short. But this is very useful for my exam point of view and summer project

  65. Revanth says

    It is very helpful but the entire poem’s summary or translation is not given like about the netted Sunbeam

  66. Zainab Azhar says

    Its helped m very much.

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