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Re: Crossing the bar

Posted by Henry on November 26, 2003

In Reply to: Re: Crossing the bar posted by ESC on November 26, 2003

: : : where did saying crossed the bar originate

: : I've looked at several references including two specifically on sayings with origins in seafaring. No luck yet. The Tennyson poem doesn't explain what it means:

: : Crossing the Bar
: : Alfred, Lord Tennyson

: : Sunset and evening star,
: : And one clear call for me!
: : And may there be no moaning of the bar,
: : When I put out to sea,
: : But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
: : Too full for sound and foam,
: : When that which drew from out the boundless deep
: : Turns again home.

: : Twilight and evening bell,
: : And after that the dark!
: : And may there be no sadness of farewell,
: : When I embark;
: : For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place
: : The flood may bear me far,
: : I hope to see my Pilot face to face
: : When I have crost the bar.

: Here's what one source says:

:
: "Crossing the bar" refers to the death of a mariner. The phrase has its origin in the fact that most rivers and bays develop a sandbar across their entrances, and 'crossing the bar' meant leaving the safety of the harbor for the unknown."
: http://www.usmm.net/poems.html#anchor448654

Whilst Tennyson indicates death, he uses this metaphor without any suggestion of danger.