Summary of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage by Byron

In the poem Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, the poet apostrophes the rolling ocean, deep and dark blue. He brings out its unquestionable superiority to the vain human power. All their acts of savagery and destruction have not the least trace on the surface of the ocean. The wrecks of the ocean are rather all its own doing.

What is more, men are ever helpless playthings to it and dashed to their pitiful destruction by its mighty waves. In fact, the ocean scorns and sets to nought all their selfish and aggressive designs mightily. The poet particularly emphasises the helpless state of men’s boastful threats and pompous shows of strength when confronted with the rolling waves of the ocean. Their arms and armaments, victories and spoils, are all reduced to nothing by the mighty thrust of these mighty waves. All human imperialistic glories and powers pass away, while the ocean remains unchangeable, imperishable, unassailable. It seems to exist in the same form since the beginning of the creation, defying the inevitable marks of decay, caused by time.

The poet even perceives on the clear surface of the ocean the very reflection of God’s sublimity and perpetuity. Everywhere, in all sites and situations, the sea rolls on without any bound or measure. This bears out the divine creative force by breeding fierce and fearful sea-creatures. The poet has a deep adoration for the ocean. This has ever been the object of his joy and regard. In his childhood, boyhood and youth, it remained dear and most trusted to him.

In conclusion, the poet refers to the end of his poetic task. He has completed his long-continued work and least bothers to judge how far this is worthy enough. His poetic vision and his creative spirit have all declined, and are no more what they once were. So he bids farewell to his readers to whom he expresses his gratitude. If they impressed by a single thought or idea, given out by him in his poetic enterprise, remember or recall it, he will be thankful. He seeks nothing for all his poetic pains and wishes that they may reap some fruit of gain out of his strain.