Sunday, December 14, 2008

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield

I was reminded of the poem on Ulysses today. I had read it almost 20 years back, courtesy the CBSE English book for eleventh or twelvth standard. I remebered Ulysses as an old man, keen to continue his quest for knowledge, leaving behind his kingdom to his son and marching on with his sailors to explore the world. That was the impression left in me when I read the poem 20 years ago.

It was thrilling to read the poem again twenty years later. There were some different interpretations that occurred to me, one of them being Ulysses was singing this from his death bed and about the world that he would explore after death. I am sure you will agree that once in a while it is heartening to reassure oneself that the years gone have not been wasted and have enriched one to some extent!

Ulysses is a long poem but has some lines that stand out and you might heard them being quoted often, including these two snippets which i like in particular:

I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move.

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.

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

You can read the full poem here

Indeed there is no end to the quest for knowledge. I have a feeling however that the quest for knowledge has become simpler in the digital era with loads of information available in the internet. We don't need to travel far and wide on rough seas now.

Imagine finding a poem, lost with passage of time and lying somewhere at the back of your mind, at the click of a button and reliving that moment, all over again that too with different interpretations!

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