Enoch Arden

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A narrative poem by Tennyson, published 1864.

Enoch Arden, Philip Ray, and Annie Lee are children together in a little seaport town; both boys love Annie, but Enoch eventually wins and marries her. They live happily for some years, until Enoch is compelled through temporary adversity to go as boatswain in a merchantman. He is shipwrecked, and for more than ten years nothing is heard of him; Annie, consulting her Bible for a sign, puts her finger on the text ‘Under the palm tree’, which, after a dream, she interprets to mean that he is in heaven. She marries Philip, who has long watched over her. Tennyson then turns to Enoch on his desert island, which is described in a fine, clear, bright Parnassian passage, and contrasted with the ‘dewy meadowy morning‐breath of England’ for which he yearns. He is rescued and returns home, but when he discovers that Annie has remarried does not reveal himself, resolving that she shall not know of his return until after his death.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

Lord Tennyson Alfred (1809—1892) poet