Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
Form: 70 lines in four blank verse paragraphs.
First published in Poems (1842), the poem was written in the first few weeks after Tennyson learned of his friend Arthur Henry Hallam's death.
Victorians tended to read this poem pretty straightforwardly, as an avowal of faith in the necessity of striving ever onward. They were supported by Tennyson's own statement that this poem "gave my feeling about Hallam's death perhaps more simply than anything in In Memoriam," his great elegaic lament. But modern critics have found "Ulysses" anything but simple. Perhaps more than any other single poem, how you read it depends upon your theoretical assumptions about the nature of poetry. Here follow a few of the critical appraisals. Make up your own questions.
1. Even though Tennyson said "Ulysses" gave his feeling about Hallam's death and "the need for going forward, and braving the struggle of life," this account of the poem's meaning is inconsistent with the desolate melancholy music of the words themselves.
2. Tennyson is espousing a jovial agnosticism totally opposed to the faith endorsed in In Memoriam. Thus the poem is a dramatic representation of a man who has faith neither in the gods nor in the necessity of preserving order in his kingdom and his own life.
3. The whole thing is a monologue interieur, and there is no quest. It is merely the utterance of a super-annuated hero indulging himself in the fantasy that his beloved mariners are still alive. It is a kind of dream, a means of escape momentarily from the uncongenial environment of Ithaca.
4. The whole thing is a monologue interieur that takes place on Ulysses's death-bed. Thus he can greet his dead sailors, and thus he can look forward to exoloring the last great mysetry, death.
(These last three possibilities do not necessarily contradict the previous suggestions.)
5. The idea that here Tennyson unlocked his heart depends upon stock responses. If we simply read it as a dramatic poem, one comes to see its speaker as a highly complex individual.
6. Ulysses is heroic but bewildered, and the structural inconsistencies in the poem are evidence of the author's (or character's) muddled thinking.
7. Ulysses is an Ancient Mariner who has never learned his lesson.
1 It little profits that an idle king, 这太无谓——当一个闲散的君主
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,安居家中，在这个嶙峋的岛国．
Match’d with an aged wife, I mete and dole 我与年老的妻子相匹，颁布着
Unequal laws unto a savage race,不公的法律，治理野蛮的种族，——
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.他们吃、睡、收藏，而不理解我。
2 I cannot rest from travel: I will drink 我不能停歇我的跋涉；我决心
Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy’d饮尽生命之杯。我一生都在
Greatly, have suffer’d greatly, both with those 体验巨大的痛苦、巨大的欢乐，
That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when有时与爱我的伙伴一起，有时却
Thro’ scudding drifts the rainy Hyades 独自一个；不論在岸上或海上，
Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;当带来雨季的毕宿星团催动
For always roaming with a hungry heart 激流滚滚，扬起灰暗的海波。
Much have I seen and known; cities of men我已经变成这样一个名字，—一
And manners, climates, councils, governments, 由于我如饥似渴地漂泊不止，
Myself not least, but honour’d of them all;我已见识了许多民族的城
And drunk delight of battle with my peers, 及其风气、习俗、枢密院、政府，
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.而我在他们之中最负盛名；在遥远而多风的特洛亚战场，
I am a part of all that I have met; 我曾陶醉于与敌手作战的欢欣。
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’我自己是我全部经历的一部分；
Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades 而全部经验，也只是一座拱门，
For ever and forever when I move.尚未游历的世界在门外闪光，而随着我一步一步的前进，
How dull it is to pause, to make an end, 它的边界也不断向后退让。
To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!最单调最沉闷的是停留，是终止，是蒙尘生锈而不在使用中发亮！
As tho’ to breathe were life! Life piled on life 难道说呼吸就能算是生活？
Were all too little, and of one to me几次生命堆起来尚嫌太少，
Little remains: but every hour is saved 何况我唯一的生命已余年无多。
From that eternal silence, something more,唯有从永恒的沉寂之中抢救
A bringer of new things; and vile it were 每个小时，让每个小时带来一点新的收获。最可厌的是
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,把自己长期封存、贮藏起来，
And this gray spirit yearning in desire让我灰色的灵魂徒然渴望
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,在人类思想最远的边界之外
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.追求知识．像追求沉没的星星。
3 This is my son, mine own Telemachus,这是我的儿子忒勒玛科斯，
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,—我给他留下我的岛国和王杖，
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil 他是我所爱的，他有胆有识，
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild能胜任这一工作；谨慎耐心地
A rugged people, and thro’ soft degrees 教化粗野的民族，用温和的步骤
Subdue them to the useful and the good.驯化他们，使他们善良而有用。
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere 他是无可指责的，他虽年少，
Of common duties, decent not to fail在我离去后他会担起重任，
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,并对我家的佑护神表示崇敬。
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.他和我，将各做各的工作。
4 There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail: 海港就在那边，船儿已经扬帆，
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,大海黑暗一片。我的水手们——
Souls that have toil’d, and wrought, and thought with me— 与我同辛劳、同工作、同思想的人，
That ever with a frolic welcome took对雷电和阳光永远同等欢迎．
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed 并用自由的心与头颅来抗争，——
Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;你们和我都已老了，但老年
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil; 仍有老年的荣誉、老年的辛劳；
Death closes all: but something ere the end,死亡终结一切，但在终点前
Some work of noble note, may yet be done, 我们还能做一番崇高的事业，
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.使我们配称为与神斗争的人。
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks: 礁石上的灯标开始闪光了，
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep长昼将尽，月亮缓缓攀登，
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends, 大海用无数音响在周围呻唤。
’Tis not too late to seek a newer world.来呀．朋友们，探寻更新的世界
Push off, and sitting well in order smite 现在尚不是为时过晚。开船吧！
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds坐成排，划破这喧哗的海浪，
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths 我决心驶向太阳沉没的彼方，
Of all the western stars, until I die.超越西方星斗的浴场，至死方止。
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down: 也许深渊会把我们吞噬，
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,也许我们将到达琼岛乐土，
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew. 与老朋友阿喀琉斯会晤。
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’尽管已达到的多，未知的也多啊，
We are not now that strength which in old days 虽然我们的力量已不如当初，
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;已远非昔日移天动地的雄姿，
One equal temper of heroic hearts, 但我们仍是我们，英雄的心
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will尽管被时间消磨，被命运削弱，
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.我们的意志坚强如故，坚持着去奋斗、去探索、去寻求，决不屈服。