Lord Alfred Tennyson’s, “Tears, idle tears”, has many references to symbols and images that reflect the mood of the poem. Gloom controls the atmosphere the author is describing to the audience. These images better the understanding of this poem and give the reader a vivid sense of what the author is trying to portray. Images of sadness are throughout the poem and they contrast with early memories of happiness the author once had. Idle tears caused the author’s world to stop as he thinks about how the world was still moving at the time of the tragedy. .
In the first stanza the author talks about how the tears come to him because of the happy thoughts he is thinking about. These happy thoughts are described as “happy autumn-fields”(4), in which the author is looking, at the time. The author is seeing this in his mind as he reflects on past times. .
The second stanza is describing the memories of the days of the past. This means that before this moment the author did not cry. He describes this tear as a “beam glittering on a sail”(6). The quote is marking the beginning of a flood of other beams running down this sail. The first tear was not the last tear that was shed over this event. “Sad as the last which reddens over one”(9), illustrates the image of a day coming to an end.
The “dark summer dawns”(11), shows an end to the beauty that was once rich and beautiful, and then the entrance into a world of cold and darkness. The chirp of newborn birds shows the coming of new life, but the author doesn’t care because of the death in front of him. The happiness of new life is not enough to bring the author out of the state he is in. He describes the death as “sad and strange”(11), because the death has been untimely to his eyes.
In the ending of the poem, the author speaks about love and the kisses that dawn it. These kisses mark the deepness of emotion the author showed to this dying person.