Milestones: Alfred Tennyson

November 19, 1850, Alfred Tennyson was named Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom. I understand that he accepted this honour on the condition that birthday odes would not be required of him.

Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson by George Frederic Watts (Public Domain)

In the same year, Tennyson published In Memoriam, a tribute to his dear friend, Arthur Hallam, whose sudden death in Vienna of a brain hemorrhage in 1833 influenced Tennyson’s creative efforts throughout his lifetime.

Tennyson and Hallam met at Trinity College in 1829. That same year, Tennyson introduced his sister, Emily to Hallam, which led to their engagement. Imagine the grief that came to Tennyson and his sister at the loss of one so precious to them.

Tennyson began to work on In Memoriam immediately after the death of his friend. Seventeen years later, it was finished – 131 individual poems that form an emotional narrative, a progress from grief to hope.

I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

8 Replies to “Milestones: Alfred Tennyson”

  1. Thank you for the picture of Tennyson and the tribute Memoriam. Thank you for the four lines of his poem! ! It is interesting that this death influenced Tennyson’s life and work ever after!.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your visit and comments, Frances. What I found interesting was that Tennyson was not universally popular during his lifetime. He has also been criticized over the years. Critics have their place but I would rather be as Teddy Roosevelt said in a powerful speech, in the arena.

      “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt at the Sorbonne in Paris, France, on April 23, 1910

      Like

      1. Thank you for answer, I alway learn from what you add. Yes, criticism can be helpful and can also be discouraging. Tennyson was disliked by many, but it seems that his work remains.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Isn’t it wonderful to discover something that you never knew before. When I was looking up the quote by Henry James on Kindness, I checked out the authenticity of the quote and confirmed that it was indeed Henry James’s quote. I think it was his nephew that noted his uncle gave him that advice. And then Mr. Rogers always said that the quote was by Henry James. I love finding the “trivia” which is not that trivial.

      Liked by 3 people

Leave a Reply to Liz Gauffreau Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.