Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)
Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

Alfred, Lord Tennyson – It was in Lincolnshire, at Somersby Rectory, that Alfred Tennyson was born on Sunday, 6 August 1809 Somersby, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom. His father, Reverend George Clayton Tennyson, was the rector of Somersby Church, and his mother was the daughter of the vicar of Louth. Alfred was one of twelve children, and two of his elder brothers were poets. The home and its surroundings were full of a picturesque charm, and the natural beauty of the Lincolonshire landscape left its mark on many a fine line of his work. He studied at Louth Grammar School but after four years left school to be taught by his father and to read in his father’s well-equipped library. Here he developed his passion for verse-making and in 18232-24 he wrote The Devil and the Lady in imitation of Elizabethan drama. In 1827 at the age of eighteen he published Poems by Byron is clearly seen. Later he cast Byron aside, and may be said to have learnt his art at the feet of Keats. Spenser, Milton and wordsworth were also important influences in his poetic development. In 1872 he entered Trinity College, Cambridge, where he met Arthur Henry Hallam. Both Tennyson and looked forward to a long life of art shattered. In 1829 Tennyson won the Chancellor’s Gold Medal for his poem ‘Timbuctoo’. Two volumes of Poems Chiefly Lyrical published in 1830 and 1832, were followed by a long poetic silence. In 1842 he broke this silence with Poems in two volumes, and then followed Princess in 1847. 1850 was an important year for Tennyson. This year he published In Memoriam-an elegy written in memory of his friend Hallam-the richest offering at the altar of friendship. He married Emily Sellwood in 1850 was also appointed Poet Laureate after wordsworth’s death in November 1850. Maud, Idylls of the King, Enoch Arden, ‘Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington’, ‘The Charge of The Light Brigade’, ‘Locksley Hall Sixty years After,’ were among his major poetical works after the Laureateship. ‘Crossing the Bar’ written when he was about eighty-one, was his last poem and is considered the crown of his life’s work. The last Twenty years of his life were spent at his Aldworth house in a worship and glow of admiration. He was the first poet to be honoured with a peerage in 1884 for his services to literature.He passed away peacefully on 6 October 1892 at the age eighty-four.

His poetic career spanned sixty years and for nearly half a century Tennyson was not only a poet but also the voice of a whole people, expressing in exquisite melody, their faith, their griefs and their triumphs. That Tennyson’s poetry was an epitome of his time, that it exhibited the society, the art, the philosophy, the religion of his day, was proved by the welcome which all classes gave it. He was the most representative poet of his age, holding the mirror to his age. Tennyson stood at the summit of poetry in England throughout the victorian period.

Tennyson was, before all things, a flawless artist, and in the whole range of English poetry, Milton alone exhibits an equal or even greater uniformity of polish and craftsmanship. He was an indefatigable, conscientious and meticulous artist. Always a poet of the fitting word and exquisite phrase, Tennyson was also a great landscape-painter and a great musician. according to Lucas, ‘Tennyson made such music never heard before, and now surely to be heard though centuries.’ Tennyson is a great poet for reasons that are perfectly clear. he has three qualities which are seldom found together except in the greatest poets: abundance, variety and complete competence.

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