Alfred Lord Tennyson

Alfred Lord Tennyson is one of the most popular British Poets.

Early life

Born in 1809 to a large middle class family, Alfred Tennyson was the fourth of his twelve siblings. His father, George Clayton Tennyson, was an accomplished man of various talents. He educated his children in the classical languages. However, owing to mental instability and alcoholism, he was often violent and this reflected in the family. The unhappiness felt in the family reflected later in Alfred Tennyson’s writings, which were also a way of releasing difficult emotions for him.

Early poetry

One of the earliest writings of Tennyson is a publication called ‘Poems by Two Brothers’, which he wrote along with his brother Charles, at the age of 17.

Tennyson went to Trinity College, Cambridge. There he won the Chancellor’s Gold Medal for poetry for his poem ‘Timbuktu’.

While in Cambridge he met Arthur Hallam, with whom Tennyson enjoyed a warm friendship for years. It was at his insistence that they joined the secret society called the ‘Cambridge Apostles’.

Further writing

In 1831 Tennyson’s had to return home following his father’s death. He published his second book in 1833, which met with heavy criticism. A disheartened Tennyson did not publish anything for the next ten years. The same year Arthur Hallam died. Grieving for his friend, Tennyson wrote a series of poems for his friend, including ‘In Memorium A.H.H.’, which was to be a soothing influence on Queen Victoria, later after its publication in 1850.

Soon after they lost their property to an unfavourable investment decision and had to move to London. In 1842 he published his two volume collection, ‘Poems’. This was a huge success making him very soon one of the most famous living men in his time. His poetry, based on mythology like Ulysses, or satire or even parodies, is known for the rhythm and language.

Baronetcy and Poet Laureate

He married Emily Sellwood in 1850. After Wordsworth, he was appointed the Poet Laureate in the same year and held this position in his life. He was made a peer by Queen Victoria in 1883, and came to be known as Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

After a full life of accomplishments as a poet, he died in 1892 and was laid to rest in Westminster Abbey.

By Janhavi