Tennyson, Alfred Tennyson, Baron, 1809-1892
The rain had fallen, the Poet arose,
He pass’d by the town and out of the street,
A light wind blew from the gates of the sun,
And waves of shadow went over the wheat,
Although the Victorian poet laureate Alfred Tennyson was a household name in poetry, Tennyson’s poetry received mixed receptions during his lifetime.
In May 1842 The Examiner harshly criticised Tennyson for making ‘Greek compounds out of homely Saxon phrases’ ; and later in April 1847 an article in the The Hull Packet and East Riding Times still described Tennyson as a poet with a ‘peculiar but undoubted talent’ .
Tennyson’s catholic imagery, the poetic preoccupation with death, illness, and fate, may not have been to every reader’s taste, nor the Burns-like of accents such as ‘Wheer ‘asta beän saw long and meä liggin’ ‘ere aloän? Noorse? thoort nowt o’ a noorse: whoy, Doctor’s abeän an’ agoän’ of the Northern Farmer. Tennyson’s name was even parodied by W.G. Gilbert in ‘The Rival Curates’ as the ‘lamb like’ Reverend Lawn Tennison.
However with the publication of poems such as The Charge of The Light Brigade, The Lady of Shallot and Ulysses, and others containing lush descriptions of English countryside – including the victorian sentimental take on medieval literature and stories [Old Sword! whose fingers clasp’d thee Around thy carved hilt? ] Tennyson became a household name.
There are a number of resources available which give an insight into the poetry, plays and prose of Tennyson and the times he lived in. Loughborough University Library holds over 140 books on Tennyson and his works as well as online poetry journals such as Victorian Poetry and Victorian Literature and Culture, which cam be accessed via MetaLib English and Drama databases etc.
Literature Online integrates over 300,000 works of poetry, prose and drama from the 8th to the 21st century, and contains over 500 poetical works of Tennyson, plus over 90 selected web texts, prose, references and critical texts.