" If there is a reading of the new theories of evolution in nature which revives rather than darkens hope in immortality and faith in God, Tennyson gave an early sketch of that tentative modern theism.
As early as 1875 he published a volume of poems in Gujarati, followed in 1877 by The Indian Muse in English Garb, which attracted attention in England, notably from Tennyson, Max Miller, and Florence Nightingale.
He also dealt with the condemnation of Pope Honorius, carried on a controversial correspondence with John Stuart Mill, and took a leading part in the discussions of the Metaphysical Society, founded by Mr James Knowles, of which Tennyson, Huxley and Martineau were also prominent members.
In 1870 he published a volume of criticism, The Poetry of the Period, which was again conceived in a spirit of satirical invective, and attacked Tennyson, Browning, Matthew Arnold and Swinburne in no half-hearted fashion.
Harrison, Tennyson, Ruskin, Mill (1899); John Watson, Comte, Mill and Spencer (1895); T.
In addition to th e se residents or natives of the locality, Shelley, Scott, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Clough, Crabb Robinson, Carlyle, Keats, Tennyson, Matthew Arnold, Mrs Hemans, Gerald Massey and others of less reputation made longer or shorter visits, or were bound by ties of friendship with the poets already mentioned.
In 1875 his " Warrior Bearing a Wounded Youth from the Field of Battle " gained the gold medal at the Royal Academy schools, and when exhibited in 1876 it divided public attention with the "Tennyson " of Woolner and " Wellington monument " sculptures of Alfred Stevens, now in St Paul's Cathedral.
ALFRED TENNYSON, 1ST BARON TENNYSON, (1809-1892), English poet, was born at Somersby, Lincolnshire, on the 6th of August 1809.
He was the fourth of the twelve children of the Rev. George Clayton Tennyson (1778-1831) and his wife Elizabeth Fytche (1781-1865).
The poet's grandfather, George Tennyson, M.P., had disinherited the poet's father, who was settled hard by in the rectory of Somersby, in favour of the younger son, Charles Tennyson D'Eyncourt.
Tennyson was at this school for five years, and then returned to Somersby to be trained by his father.
Tennyson was already writing copiously - "an epic of 6000 lines" at twelve, a drama in blank verse at fourteen, and so on: these exercises have, very properly, not been printed, but the poet said of them at the close of his life, "It seems to me, I wrote them all in perfect metre."
The family was in the habit of spending the summer holidays at the coast of the county, commonly at Mablethorpe, and here Tennyson gained his impressions of the vastness of the sea.
In 1827 Frederick Tennyson (1807-1898), the eldest surviving brother, uniting with his younger brothers Charles and Alfred, published at Louth an anonymous collection of Poems by Two Brothers.
Charles Tennyson (1808-1879) afterwards took the additional name of Turner.
In June 1829 Alfred Tennyson won the Chancellor's prize medal for his poem called "Timbuctoo."
But by this time Tennyson was writing lyrics of still higher promise, and, as Arthur Hallam early perceived, with an extraordinary earnestness in the worship of beauty.
Yet Coleridge was perfectly just in his remark; and the metrical anarchy of the "Madelines" and "Adelines" of the 1830 volume showed that Tennyson, with all his delicacy of modulation, had not yet mastered the arts of verse.
In the summer of 1830 Tennyson and Hallam volunteered in the army of the Spanish insurgent Torrijos, and marched about a little in the Pyrenees, without meeting with an enemy.
He came back to find his father ailing, and in February 1831 he left Cambridge for Somersby, where a few days later Dr George Tennyson died.
Arthur Hallam was now betrothed to Emily Tennyson (afterwards Mrs Jesse, 1811-1889), and stayed frequently at Somersby.
If Tennyson had died of the savage article which presently appeared in the Quarterly Review, literature would have sustained terrible losses, but his name would have lived for ever among those of the great English poets.
It was well that its publication was completed before the blow fell upon Tennyson which took for a while all the light out of him.
These events affected Tennyson extremely.
Careless alike of fame and of influence, Tennyson spent these years mainly at Somersby, in a uniform devotion of his whole soul to the art of poetry.
To the older and more luxurious lyrics, as reprinted in 1842, Tennyson did not spare the curbing and pruning hand, and in some cases went too far in restraining the wanton spirit of beauty in its youthful impulse.
It is from 1842 that the universal fame of Tennyson must be dated; from the time of the publication of the two volumes he ceased to be a curiosity, or the darling of an advanced clique, and took his place as the leading poet of his age in England.
He became the victim of a certain "earnest-frothy" speculator, who induced him to sell his little Lincolnshire estate at Grasby, and to invest the proceeds, with all his other money, and part of that of his brothers and sisters, in a "Patent Decorative Carving Company": in a few months the whole scheme collapsed, and Tennyson was left penniless.
In 1848, while making a tour in Cornwall, Tennyson met Robert Stephen Hawker of Morwenstow, with whom he seems - but the evidence is uncertain - to have talked about King Arthur, and to have resumed his intention of writing an epic on that theme.
In his absent-minded way Tennyson was very apt to mislay objects; in earlier life he had lost the MS. of Poems, chiefly Lyrical, and had been obliged to restore the whole from scraps and memory.
The metre, which by a curious naivete Tennyson long believed that he had invented, served by its happy peculiarity to bind the sections together, and even to give an illusion of connected movement to the thought.
Wordsworth died, and on the 19th of November 1850 Queen Victoria appointed Tennyson poet laureate.
At this time Tennyson was brooding much upon the ancient world, and reading little but Milton, Homer and Virgil.
Of 1852 the principal events were the birth of his eldest son Hallam, the second Lord Tennyson, in August, and in November the publication of the Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington.
In the winter of 1853 Tennyson entered into possession of a little house and farm called Farringford, near Freshwater, in the Isle of Wight, which he leased at first, and afterwards bought: this beautiful place, ringed round with ilexes and cedars, entered into his life and coloured it with its delicate enchantment.
The reception of Maud from the critics, however, was the worst trial to his equanimity which Tennyson had ever had to endure, nor had the future anything like it in store fort him.
It is odd that this irregular poem, with its copious and varied music, its splendid sweep of emotion, its unfailing richness of texture - this poem in which Tennyson rises to heights of human sympathy and intuition which he reached nowhere else, should have been received with bitter hostility, have been styled "the dead level of prose run mad," and have been reproved more absurdly still for its "rampant and rabid bloodthirstiness of soul."
There came a reaction of taste and sense, but the delicate spirit of Tennyson had been wounded.
These were fragments of the epic of the fall of King Arthur and the Table Round which Tennyson was so long preparing, and which he can hardly be said to have ever completed, although nearly thirty years later he closed it.
Urged by the duke of Argyll, Tennyson now turned his attention to the theme of the Holy Grail, though he progressed with it but fitfully and slowly.
The reception of this volume was cordial, but not so universally respectful as that which Tennyson had grown to expect from his adoring public. The fact was that the heightened reputation of Browning, and still more the sudden vogue of Swinburne, Morris and Rossetti (1866-1870), considerably disturbed the minds of Tennyson's most ardent readers, and exposed himself to a severer criticism than he had lately been accustomed to endure.
Believing that his work with the romantic Arthurian epics was concluded, Tennyson now turned his attention to a department of poetry which had long attracted him, but which he had never seriously attempted - the drama.
Tennyson had reached the limits of the threescore years and ten, and it was tacitly taken for granted that he would now retire into dignified repose.
In September 1883 Tennyson and Gladstone set out on a voyage round the north of Scotland, to Orkney, and across the ocean to Norway and Denmark.
During the voyage Gladstone had determined to offer Tennyson a peerage.
On the 11th of March 1884 he took his seat in the House of Lords as Baron Tennyson of Aldworth and Farringford.
In April 1886 Tennyson suffered the loss of his second son, Lionel, who died in the Red Sea on his return from India.
He was past eighty when he published the collection of new verses entitled Demeter and other Poems (1889), which appeared almost simultaneously with the death of Browning, an event which left Tennyson a solitary figure indeed in poetic literature.
During this year Tennyson was steadily engaged on poetical composition, finishing "Akbar's Dream," "Kapiolani" and other contents of the posthumous volume called The Death of Oenone, 1892.
With the splendour of the full moon falling upon him, his hand clasping his Shakespeare, and looking, as we are told, almost unearthly in the majestic beauty of his old age, Tennyson passed away at Aldworth on the night of the 6th of October 1892.
Lady Tennyson survived until August 1896.
The physical appearance of Tennyson was very remarkable.
Although exceedingly near-sighted, Tennyson was a very close observer of nature, and at the age of eighty his dark and glowing eyes, which were still strong, continued to permit him to enjoy the delicate features of country life around him, both at Aldworth and in the Isle of Wight.
His Life, written with admirable piety and taste by his son, Hallam, second Lord Tennyson, was published in two volumes in 1897.
At the time of his death, and for some time after it, the enthusiastic recognition of the genius of Tennyson was too extravagant to be permanent.
No living poet has ever held England - no poet but Victor Hugo has probably ever held any country - quite so long under his unbroken sway as Tennyson did.
The distance between the generation of Wordsworth and Coleridge and that of Byron and Shelley is not less - it is even probably greater - than that which divides Keats from Tennyson, and he is more the last of that great school than the first of any new one.
Tennyson does not excel each of these in his own special field, but he is often nearer to the particular man in his particular mastery than any one else can be said to be, and he has in addition his own field of supremacy.
Hence, among all the English poets, it is Tennyson who presents the least percentage of entirely unattractive poetry.
Few English writers have known so adroitly as Tennyson how to bend the study of Shakespeare to the enrichment of their personal style.