A Pilgrim’s Creed

The following is an excerpt from ‘Ulysses’ by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (you can read the complete narrative poem here). The poem’s theme of restless yearning can, I think, be applied to one’s search for Truth and Beauty. Take heart, friend, and be of good cheer! There is some Light left in this dark world.

…Come, my friends,
’T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

2 thoughts on “A Pilgrim’s Creed

  1. “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.” I remember hearing this years ago and I thought it was the most beautiful thing wherewith to describe my purpose. I have it written down, but foolish past me did not cite it. Now I know where it is from!


    1. Ha, Tatyanna! I have done that too: writing down a quote without the citation. Very foolish.
      Yes, that line is one of the best in the poem. Full of staunch Greek optimism.


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