The brook is a poem written by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. In this poem, the brook plays the role of
the narrator as it tells the reader about its journey. Here is the summary of the poem.
The brook starts out from the dwelling place of birds such as the coot (a water bird) and the hern
(archaic word for heron). It makes a sudden rush as it flows out. The presence of sunlight causes
the brook’s water to sparkle as it flows among the fern. It then continues its journey by flowing
down a valley. While doing so, the sound of the flowing brook resembles that of people
quarrelling. Hence the phrase, ‘bicker down a valley’.
The brook flows down along hills. Sometimes, it also glides between long and narrow hill ranges,
called ridges. Thorpes refer to small villages or hamlets. Between two small towns, the brook
passes several thorpes and a large number of bridges. The numbers used in this line such as
‘thirty’, ‘twenty’, ‘half a hundred’ should not be taken in the literal sense. These numbers are used
to give the impression of ‘several’ or ‘many’ and to maintain the rhythm of the poem.
Finally, the brook passes Philip’s farm and flows into the overflowing river. The brook further
states that men are transient. They come and go over time. But it outlives men and continues