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

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

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

  4. some more easy language is good

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

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

  7. 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.

  8. Its very useful for my summary and summer projects

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

  10. 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

  11. i found it very useful

  12. It is very good and helpful but long Thankyou

  13. 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.

  14. Give a some short summary.
    This too much big

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

  16. thanks .this summary helps me to complete my project

  17. It helped me its really nice

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

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

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

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

  22. ashfaque mazumder

    Helped me passing

  23. priyadarshinipattanaikmail.com

    It is very simple and nice poem for school children

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

  25. Thnx..aa looottt…

  26. Helpfulllllllll!!!!!!!

  27. Its simple and easy to understand.i like it

  28. Good jobe easy lagauged thanks

  29. 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.

  30. thank you so . It really helped

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

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