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Summary of King Canute on the Seashore

Updated on May 28, 2016

Summary of 'King Canute'

In this poem William Makepeace portrays the insignificant power of a king in the presence of God.The king realizes that only God is Almighty and man should worship only God.

In this ballad the poet narrates man's limited power compared to the all-powerful God.The king realizes the futility of earthly glory and bows before the Almighty God.

In the first stanza the king reflects upon his actions, while walking by the sea-shore.Usually the king was happy and gay merrily laughing.That day the king refused to laugh, or be comforted even by his wife.The official was troubled, that the king's meal was the cause.The king told him that the dinner was not the cause. Requesting to know the reason, the king replied that he was sick, tired and weary.The king's armchair was brought, and he was seated comfortably. Recalling all his past glories, the battles he had won: could be compared to no other glory. All this seemed to be in vain, for then his sons sought his death. Hence he longed for peace and a silent death.

The Bishop's consoles reminded him of the Jewish captain Joshua, who commanded the Sun to stay on upon the hill, and the Moon to stand still during the battle; whereupon these obeyed and the battle was won.

King Canute questions the Bishop, if he too could do the same.Would the advancing waves on the sea-shore obey his voice? The Bishop wrongly replied, that land and sea would obey him. So King Canute turned toward the ocean, and commanded them to get back from the shores.The ocean roared louder and the waves grew nearer, lashing on the shore. It then dawned upon king Canute that he was not the Master of the Universe.The power of his kingdoms could not give him the power over nature.

He then sternly commanded every man from thenceforth, to kneel only to God and worship and praise God alone.He never wore the golden crown since that day.

Seven Ages of Man by William Shakespear.
Seven Ages of Man by William Shakespear.
The  Infant Adored
The Infant Adored
 The Reluctant School Child
The Reluctant School Child
Sighing Like A Furnace
Sighing Like A Furnace
 The Ardent Soldier
The Ardent Soldier
The  Days of Cherished Memories.
The Days of Cherished Memories.
Full of Wise Saws
Full of Wise Saws
Reaching The Grave
Reaching The Grave

Seven Ages of Man

Summary Of Seven Ages of Man

William Shakespeare in the poem 'Seven Ages of Man' portrays the world as a stage and we the players, in which man plays several parts.

In the infant stage his acts are whimpering and puking in his nurse's arms; as a school boy he is relented to attend school..

The lover is the third stage, burning with passion and sighing, followed by the soldier with his oaths, honours and laurels at his bid; quick in quarrel, securing badges even unto death.

The fifth stage is that of justice, a stern character and full of wisdom referred to wise saws, his physique takes on a change from that of a physically fit soldier, to a man given to much appetite and less activity, thereby attaining a pot-belly, nevertheless his wisdom renders his service to others, giving good judgment.

The sixth slipping into the retired stage, with slippers and pantaloons, spectacles and a shrunk shank, all indicating the slow ageing of a man, having lost his sight, he needs a pair of spectacles; his muscles and sinews all losing strength, his childish voice reverting referred to as the second childhood. It then carries him to the last scene of all ending his strange history, which was a mystery; without teeth, eyes, and taste; thus carrying him to the end of his grave.

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    • profile image

      28 or 35 we 08 

      2 months ago


    • profile image


      11 months ago

      Thank you it helped me so much for my exam

    • profile image


      24 months ago

      Very nice,

    • profile image


      2 years ago


    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Well written... certainly helped me a lot.. Thank you.

    • olgakhumlo profile imageAUTHOR

      olga khumlo 

      8 years ago from Mira Road Mumbai India

      Thank you for the boost. God bless you and your family. Have a wonderful Sunday worship.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      8 years ago from Chicago

      Thank you for this pithy little Hub. Your summary is wonderfully made. Well done!


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