Summary of ‘The Brook’ by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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.


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.

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  • dharya

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

  • Shaima

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

    • dhruv

      i definitely agree to dis remark

    • yashas

      You said correct

  • Vedant

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

  • aanmary

    some more easy language is good

  • sathees

    it s nice

  • priya

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

  • Doyel

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

  • Ashwini Raghu

    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.

  • pavithra

    Its very useful for my summary and summer projects

  • janu

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

  • http://googlechrome varsha

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

    • tuhina

      This is quite useful.

    • tuhina

      This is quite useful.I am benifited.

  • sudeep

    i found it very useful

  • Anush

    It is very good and helpful but long Thankyou

  • Aryan Singh

    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.

  • Aryan Singh

    Give a some short summary.
    This too much big

  • Ritam

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

  • kiranthara

    thanks .this summary helps me to complete my project

  • Aniket Patel

    It helped me its really nice

  • http://gmail harisankar

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

  • Pally.

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

  • Naman Khandelwal

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

  • Naman Khandelwal

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

  • ashfaque mazumder

    Helped me passing


    It is very simple and nice poem for school children

  • gaurav jangra

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

  • Chirag

    Thnx..aa looottt…

  • Amulya


  • birju

    Its simple and easy to understand.i like it

  • savio

    Good jobe easy lagauged thanks

  • Kakoli Biswas

    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.

  • mahdy

    thank you so . It really helped

  • mahdy

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

  • Amassuo

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  • http://Yahoo Edwin masih

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

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  • Suprov

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

  • http://goggle eleena

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

  • pagal singh

    Bahut bekar poemvka summary hai

  • http://redifmail sakshi

    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.

  • http://redifmail sakshi

    this is not right at all

  • ghydf

    good but it really fucked up my project and my teacher

  • Ishita

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

    • Abhishek

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

  • http://yahoo vrinda khanna

    ya it is quiet understandable but too long.

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