Aurora and Tithonus -Summary

Tithonus and the goddess of dawn (A Myth)
Tithonus and the goddess of dawn (A Myth)
Aurora the goddess of dawn
Aurora the goddess of dawn | Source
Aurora taking leave
Aurora taking leave
Lord Alfred Tennyson
Lord Alfred Tennyson

Summary of Tithonus

Tithonus is based on an ancient Greek myth.Aurora the goddess of dawn, who fell in love with Tithonus son of Laomedon, king of Troy. She granted him physical immortality from Zeus. Consequently he grew old, as the years rolled by, he lost his valour and strength, and was left maimed leading a miserable painful life.

The woods decay....halls of morn.

In the first stanza Lord Tennyson depicts Tithonus the prince of Troy wailing his gift of physical immortality offered to him, from Aurora the goddess of dawn, who had fallen in love with him. He realizes that the gift was not valuable any more; while man and animal fades away; and death consumes them from this earth, he yet remains to wander on earth. His dwelling place with the goddess of dawn in the Eastern region of the sky among the mists.

Alas! for this gray shadow....

In this stanza, Lord Alfred Tennyson depicts Tithonus the prince of Troy wailing his gift. He recalls his beauty in his youth, and regrets asking for the gift of physical immortality instead of the youthful immortality. Although it was given to him liberally, as a wealthy man giveth, he could not cherish it, since the hours of time snatched away his youthful looks and left him impaired.

He now yearns for the goddess Aurora to bring him back his youth. His desire is to be free from the trance of love and requests her to take back the gift, for in vain he had desired to be different from all mankind.

A soft air fans the cloud apart.....and beat the twilight into flakes of fire.

This stanza portrays Tithonus the man who was loved by the greek goddess of dawn and was gifted physical immortality. Looking from above when the cloud is blown apart, he is reminded of the earth, where he was born. As it dawns, the radiating sunbeams, and the red tinge of the sky is compared to her reddened cheeks; the brightening glare with the rising dawn to her brightened eyes, that cause the stars to disappear;

Lo! ever thus thou growest beautiful....while Ilion like a mist rose into towers.

Lord Tennyson continues to describe the beauty of dawn and the tears on her cheek that makes Tithonus tremble to face the truth that the gods cannot take back their gifts.

He recalls her beauty, the beauty of her curls, her radiance that made him feel his blood glow; her shower of kisses on his mouth, forehead, and eyelids were more sweetened, warm and soothing; delicious than the April half-opened buds. Her sweet words that she spoke while kissing is compared to the song of Apollo, whose music built the tower of Troy.

Yet hold me not forever in thine East....returning on thy silver wheels.

In this stanza Tennyson pictures,Tithonus as a man who is loved by a greek goddess of dawn Aurora, She loves him so dearly that it grieves her to see him yearn for death. His youthful beauty, valour and strength has faded away. It breaks Tithonus ' heart to see the tears in her eyes. He pleads her not to hold him longer for his dwindling physique could no longer blend with her youthful charm.

On seeing the steam rising up from the dim fields, the homes where happy men could lay down their weary body in death's bosom, he is tortured by the thought that death does not embrace him.

His last soul's cry is to be released from the old weary body, and to be laid down in the grave, while she may continue her journey on silvery wheels.

Sir Henry Wotton
Sir Henry Wotton
His Honest thought is his Armour
His Honest thought is his Armour
He is not Conformed to the World
He is not Conformed to the World


Summary of 'Character of a Happy Life'

The poet Sir Henry Wotton illustrates the character of a happy life:

The blessedness of a man, who is not a servant to another man's will. His honest thought is an armour that shields himself, and the truth that he abides in is his greatest skill; as the truth sets a man free, free from bondage, of sin, fear, worries and several other bonds.

He does not let passions master him; and he is prepared for death. He is not conformed to this world; neither is he fettered by the love of this world, nor its foul offers.

He is not involved in rumours; listening to his conscience, he takes a strong hold of his being.He is not taken in by flattery, nor can mighty oppressors ruin him.

He doth not envy those who are promoted by chance, or by gross immoral conduct. Happy is that man who never understood, that the deepest wounds are given with praise; not by the rules of state, but the rules laid down by God, cause him the sorest wounds.

Sir Henry's thoughts instill into our minds, that a man's praise can be the deepest wounds, when a man feels himself an unworthy match to that praise .He strives to abide by the laws of God; and his failure to keep God's laws makes him unhappy.

Who prays for God's grace at dusk and dawn, rather than for blessings.He chooses a friend or a book to refresh himself.

This man is not a slave;the hope to rise, or fear to fall, doth not bind him.Hence he is lord of himself .Though he doth not possess lands, and hath nothing, yet he hath all.


His oppressors have no effect on  him.
His oppressors have no effect on him.
He Prays at dusk and dawn
He Prays at dusk and dawn

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