Genre: monodrama.

Form: 220 lines of blank verse in six verse paragraphs.

Written by November 1833 but not published until 1842 in Poems.

1. One of Tennyson's very first dramatic monologues. Compare it to Robert Browning's "Johannes Agricola in Meditation," written just about the same time. Edward FitzGerald said, "This is one of the poems that A.T. would read with grotesque grimness, especially such passages as 'coughs, aches, stitches,' etc., laughing aloud at times."

2. "In being left 'blank of crimeful record' (l. 156) is Simeon merely being relieved of his 'aches' and 'cramps,' or has he experienced a genuine catharsis of the spirit?"

2. Richard Monckton Milnes, another of the "Apostles," thought that this poem was not a psychological study at all. Do you think "St. Simeon Stylites" explores asceticism or ridicules it?

3. Browning admired the poem very much. How would he have written it differently?

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Last modified 21 January 2009