Summary of ‘The Brook’ by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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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  1. dharya

    September 29, 2013 at 8:38 am

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

  2. Shaima

    May 21, 2014 at 11:23 am

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

    • dhruv

      August 4, 2014 at 7:19 pm

      i definitely agree to dis remark

  3. Vedant

    September 19, 2014 at 5:01 pm

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

  4. aanmary

    September 22, 2014 at 6:09 am

    some more easy language is good

  5. sathees

    November 5, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    it s nice

  6. priya

    January 19, 2015 at 12:56 am

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

  7. Doyel

    February 14, 2015 at 8:12 pm

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

  8. Ashwini Raghu

    May 26, 2015 at 6:01 am

    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

    June 3, 2015 at 7:55 am

    Its very useful for my summary and summer projects

  10. janu

    June 18, 2015 at 2:43 pm

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

  11. varsha

    June 22, 2015 at 5:32 am

    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

    • tuhina

      June 22, 2015 at 3:29 pm

      This is quite useful.

    • tuhina

      June 22, 2015 at 3:30 pm

      This is quite useful.I am benifited.

  12. sudeep

    July 1, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    i found it very useful

  13. Anush

    July 2, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    It is very good and helpful but long Thankyou

  14. Ritam

    July 12, 2015 at 6:01 pm

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

  15. kiranthara

    July 19, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    thanks .this summary helps me to complete my project

  16. Aniket Patel

    July 20, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    It helped me its really nice

  17. harisankar

    July 21, 2015 at 3:43 pm

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

  18. Pally.

    July 25, 2015 at 1:22 pm

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

  19. Naman Khandelwal

    August 16, 2015 at 10:08 am

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

  20. ashfaque mazumder

    August 25, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    Helped me passing

  21. priyadarshinipattanaikmail.com

    August 26, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    It is very simple and nice poem for school children

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