This morning I woke up with the opening line of Tennyson’s Ulysses in my head. I write this fully understanding how sophomore-in-college-fake-pretentious it sounds. But that doesn’t make it any less true. As I lathered and rinsed, I shook my head trying to either rid myself of the repeating line, or at least figure out what came next. Only ‘It little profits that an idle king’ remained from my obviously obscure dream, and I’m not enough of an English teacher nerd to be able to recite the entire monologue from memory.
Clearly, I had to read the entire thing to get it out of my head.
I have always loved this poem. In fact, my favorite line from any piece of poetry is from Ulysses–‘I am a part of all that I have met’. I’ve loved that line since I was an actual fake-pretentious college sophomore. In fact, it may well be my second favorite line from literature ever (after the last sentence of James Joyce’s short story ‘The Dead’. I swear I am not a loser. It is a REALLY good sentence.) But until today and my insane dream, and the resulting re-reading of said poem, I did not realize how obvious it is that I should like it so very much.
I’ll not post the entire poem–if you’ve never read it and actually care to do so, you’ll google it. But if you have read it (or if you did just google it) you’ll understand why I’m posting this story here. You see, I’ve been trying to figure out when I became someone who had to travel (even when it is a bad idea for many reasons). If something in this (admittedly kind of cheesy) poem spoke to me, I was a traveler long before I even knew ‘traveler’ was a kind of person.
Because really, who doesn’t want to ‘follow knowledge like a sinking star, beyond the utmost bound of human thought’?
If right about now you are thinking ‘hmmm…it seems like she’s having a midlife crisis, or at least a fairly major nervous breakdown’–you’re probably right. Thus, you shouldn’t find this next item all that surprising:
We really are going back to Europe.