Alfred Lord Tennyson was an English poet from the Victorian era and he is considered one of the greatest poets in the English language His work is marked by its strong and lyrical meter, its elegant and thoughtful use of poetic devices, and its exploration of human emotions and themes. He is particularly known for his popular poem, “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” which was published in 1854 and was immediately recognized as a classic.
Tennyson was born on August 6th, 1809, in Somersby, Lincolnshire, England. He was the fourth of twelve children born to the Reverend George Clayton Tennyson and Elizabeth Fytche. His early years were difficult due to the poverty of his family, but he was still encouraged to develop his love of literature and poetry. His early work was heavily influenced by his mentor, the Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, whose work he had been introduced to in his youth.
Tennyson's work was seen as a bridge between the Romantic and Victorian eras, and he continued to write prolifically until his death in 1892. He was appointed the Poet Laureate in 1850 and was the first ever recipient of the Order of Merit in 1902, which is Britain's highest honor for a civilian. Tennyson received numerous accolades and awards in his lifetime and his works continue to be widely read and discussed today.
Following are some of the best examples of Alfred Lord Tennyson's work:
1. Ulysses: This famous narrative poem, written in 1833, is considered to be one of Tennyson's masterpieces. It tells the story of the legendary Greek hero Ulysses and his return home from many years of wandering, exploring, and fighting. The poem is celebrated for its vivid imagery and emotional power.
2. The Lady of Shalott: This romantic poem, published in 1832, tells the story of the titular Lady of Shalott, who is cursed to watch a reflection of the outside world from her tower window instead of living life for herself. The poem reflects on the tragedy of being unable to break free from one's fate.
3. Crossing the Bar: This poem, published in 1889, reflects on death and mortality. It is one of Tennyson's most popular poems and is often seen as a summation of his life's work.
4. Break, Break, Break: This poem, published in 1842, reflects on the death of Tennyson's close friend, Arthur Hallam. It is a powerful and moving poem that expresses the poet's deep grief.
5. In Memoriam A.H.H.: This long poem, published in 1850, is composed of 131 cantos or sections and contains some of Tennyson's best-loved verses. It is a meditation on the death of his friend and a reflection on life's meaninglessness.