The Thought for the Day – Alfred, Lord Tennyson

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. – Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson (1809-92), was an English poet. He replaced William Wordsworth as poet laureate of England – though he wasn’t the first choice – a mainly honorary position requiring the holder to produce verse for certain national occasions. Today’s Thought comes from the end of Ulysses, a poem about a king who returns from his travels yearning to explore again even though he is now old. Tennyson remains one of England’s and the world’s most esteemed poets.

Today’s Thought is inscribed on a nine-foot cross in Antarctica, located near where the English explorer Robert Falcon Scott and he crew were found dead 117 years ago today. They were heading back to their base camp after having reached the South Pole. The trip was not a happy one as on arrival at the South Pole they had discovered that the expedition led by Roald Amundsen had beaten them there by a few weeks.

To strive, to seek, to find…

To strive and to seek and to find require courage. And it doesn’t matter what the endeavor is, either. Scott and his men had supreme courage in reaching the South Pole and to face their ensuing deaths, but great courage is not reserved for great explorers.

…and not to yield.

It takes no small amount of courage to make a go of it in this life. It takes the courage to look inside yourself so you can realize the life you were meant to live, then it takes even more courage to go out and live that life because temptations to yield are everywhere. Each day brings a hundred different distractions that must be overcome, regardless of whether we are exploring the unknown or trying to build a life for ourselves.

The miseries attendant with gaining the South Pole first were as numerous as they were enormous and would have sent any number of explorers home.  The challenges that come with making our time on this planet serve us may not be as extreme, but they are challenging enough to prevent some from trying. Like Scott and his men, we must not yield until our time has ended.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s private stock.


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