See the opening of the greatest English epic poem here, with links so you can compare it with its classical models, the Aeneid, Iliad and Odyssey. In the illustration by William Blake, an Archangel warns Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. In the background, beyond the Tree of Knowledge, an elephant “wreathes his lithe proboscis” (Paradise Lost Book 4, line 347).

Tennyson combines his admiration for Milton’s poetry with his love of ancient poetry, and in particular his love of Alcaics, the Greek metre that Horace used for his loftiest themes in the Odes. You can decide for yourself how far the experiment succeeds, and use the links to compare Tennyson’s poem to some of Horace’s poems in the same metre, here.