Alfred, Lord Tennyson: Wikis

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Alfred Tennyson

1869 Carbon print by Julia Margaret Cameron
Born 6 August 1809(1809-08-06)
Somersby, Lincolnshire, England, UK
Died 6 October 1892 (aged 83)
Haslemere, Surrey, England
Occupation Poet laureate

Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson, FRS (6 August 1809 – 6 October 1892), much better known as "Alfred, Lord Tennyson," was Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom during much of Queen Victoria's reign and remains one of the most popular poets in the English language.

Tennyson excelled at penning short lyrics, "In the valley of Cauteretz", "Break, Break, Break", "The Charge of the Light Brigade", "Tears, Idle Tears" and "Crossing the Bar". Much of his verse was based on classical mythological themes, such as Ulysses, although In Memoriam A.H.H. was written to commemorate his best friend Arthur Hallam, a fellow poet and fellow student at Trinity College, Cambridge, who was engaged to Tennyson's sister, but died from a cerebral hemorrhage before they were married. Tennyson also wrote some notable blank verse including Idylls of the King, Ulysses, and Tithonus. His use of blank verse, rare in his day, may be related to his complete tone deafness which made it hard for him to follow the conventional rhythms of the poetry of his day.[1] During his career, Tennyson attempted drama, but his plays enjoyed little success.

Tennyson wrote a number of phrases that have become commonplaces of the English language, including: "Nature, red in tooth and claw", "'Tis better to have loved and lost / Than never to have loved at all", "Theirs not to reason why, / Theirs but to do and die", "My strength is as the strength of ten, / Because my heart is pure", "Knowledge comes, but Wisdom lingers", and "The old order changeth, yielding place to new". He is the second most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations after Shakespeare.[2]

Contents

Early life

Tennyson was born in Somersby, Lincolnshire, a rector's son and fourth of 12 children. He was a descendant of King Edward III of England.[3] Reportedly, "the pedigree of his grandfather, George Tennyson, is traced back to the middle-class line of the Tennysons, and through Elizabeth Clayton ten generations back to Edmund, Duke of Somerset, and farther back to Edward III."[4]

His father, George Clayton Tennyson (1778–1831), was a rector for Somersby (1807–1831), also rector of Benniworth and Bag Enderby, and vicar of Grimsby (1815). The reverend was the elder of two sons, but was disinherited at an early age by his own father, the landowner George Tennyson (1750–1835) (who belonged to the Lincolnshire gentry as the owner of Bayons Manor and Usselby Hall), in favour of his younger brother Charles, who later took the name Charles Tennyson d'Eyncourt. Rev. George Clayton Tennyson raised a large family and "was a man of superior abilities and varied attainments, who tried his hand with fair success in architecture, painting, music, and poetry."Rev. Tennyson was "comfortably well off for a country clergyman and his shrewd money management enabled the family to spend summers at Mablethorpe and Skegness, on the eastern coast of England."[4] His mother, Elizabeth Fytche (1781–1865) was the daughter of Stephen Fytche (1734–1799), vicar of St. James Church, Louth (1764) and rector of Withcall (1780), a small village between Horncastle and Louth. Tennyson's father "carefully attended to the education and training of his children."

Tennyson and two of his elder brothers were writing poetry in their teens, and a collection of poems by all three was published locally when Alfred was only 17. One of those brothers, Charles Tennyson Turner later married Louisa Sellwood, the younger sister of Alfred's future wife; the other poet brother was Frederick Tennyson. One of Tennyson's other brothers, Edward Tennyson, was institutionalised at a private mental asylum, where he died.

Education and first publication

Tennyson was first a student of Louth Grammar School for four years (1816–1820)[4] and then attended Scaitcliffe School, Englefield Green and King Edward VI Grammar School, Louth. He entered Trinity College, Cambridge in 1827,[5] where he joined a secret society called the Cambridge Apostles. At Cambridge Tennyson met Arthur Henry Hallam, who became his best friend. His first publication was a collection of "his boyish rhymes and those of his elder brother Charles" entitled Poems by Two Brothers published in 1827.[4]

In 1829 he was awarded the Chancellor's Gold Medal at Cambridge for one of his first pieces, "Timbuctoo".[6][7] Reportedly, "it was thought to be no slight honour for a young man of twenty to win the chancellor's gold medal."[4] He published his first solo collection of poems, Poems Chiefly Lyrical in 1830. "Claribel" and "Mariana", which later took their place among Tennyson's most celebrated poems, were included in this volume. Although decried by some critics as overly sentimental, his verse soon proved popular and brought Tennyson to the attention of well-known writers of the day, including Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Return to Lincolnshire and second publication

Tennyson with his wife Emily (1813-1896) and his sons Hallam (1852-1928) and Lionel (1854-1886).

In the spring of 1831, Tennyson's father died, requiring him to leave Cambridge before taking his degree. He returned to the rectory, where he was permitted to live for another six years, and shared responsibility for his widowed mother and the family. Arthur Hallam came to stay with his family during the summer and became engaged to Tennyson's sister, Emilia Tennyson.

In 1833, Tennyson published his second book of poetry, which included his well-known poem, The Lady of Shalott. The volume met heavy criticism, which so discouraged Tennyson that he did not publish again for 10 more years, although he continued to write. That same year, Hallam died suddenly and unexpectedly after suffering a cerebral haemorrhage while on vacation in Vienna.[8] Hallam's sudden and unexpected death in 1833 had a profound impact on Tennyson, and inspired several masterpieces, including "In the Valley of Cauteretz" and In Memoriam A.H.H., a long poem detailing the 'Way of the Soul'.[9]

Tennyson and his family were allowed to stay in the rectory for some time, but later moved to Essex. An unwise investment in an ecclesiastical wood-carving enterprise soon led to the loss of much of the family fortune. He then moved to London.

Third publication and recognition

In 1842, while living modestly in London, Tennyson published two volumes of Poems, the first of which included works already published and the second of which was made up almost entirely of new poems. They met with immediate success. Poems from this collection, such as Locksley Hall, "Tithonus", and "Ulysses" have met enduring fame. The Princess: A Medley, a satire of women's education, which came out in 1847, was also popular for its lyrics. W. S. Gilbert later adapted and parodied the piece twice: in The Princess (1870) and in Princess Ida (1884).

It was in 1850 that Tennyson reached the pinnacle of his career, finally publishing his masterpiece, In Memoriam A.H.H., dedicated to Hallam. Later the same year he was appointed Poet Laureate in succession to William Wordsworth. In the same year (13 June), Tennyson married Emily Sellwood, whom he had known since childhood, in the village of Shiplake. They had two sons, Hallam Tennyson (b. 11 August 1852) — named after his friend — and Lionel (b. 16 March 1854).

Farringford - Lord Tennyson's residence on the Isle of Wight

The Poet Laureate

After William Wordsworth's death in 1850, Tennyson succeeded to the position of Poet Laureate, which he held until his own death in 1892, by far the longest tenure of any laureate before or since. He fulfilled the requirements of this position by turning out appropriate but often uninspired verse, such as a poem of greeting to Alexandra of Denmark when she arrived in Britain to marry the future King Edward VII. In 1855, Tennyson produced one of his best known works, "The Charge of the Light Brigade", a dramatic tribute to the British cavalrymen involved in an ill-advised charge on 25 October 1854, during the Crimean War. Other esteemed works written in the post of Poet Laureate include Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington and Ode Sung at the Opening of the International Exhibition.

Statue of Lord Tennyson in the chapel of Trinity College, Cambridge.

Queen Victoria was an ardent admirer of Tennyson's work, and in 1884 created him Baron Tennyson, of Aldworth in the County of Sussex and of Freshwater in the Isle of Wight. Tennyson initially declined a baronetcy in 1865 and 1868 (when tendered by Disraeli), finally accepting a peerage in 1883 at Gladstone's earnest solicitation. He took his seat in the House of Lords on 11 March 1884.[4]

Tennyson also wrote a substantial quantity of non-official political verse, from the bellicose "Form, Riflemen, Form", of the French crisis of 1852, to "Steersman, be not precipitate in thine act/of steering", deploring Gladstone's Home Rule Bill.

Virginia Woolf wrote a play Freshwater, showing Tennyson as host to his friends Julia Margaret Cameron and G.F.Watts;[10] Tennyson was the first to be raised to a British Peerage for his writing. A passionate man with some peculiarities of nature, he was never particularly comfortable as a peer, and it is widely held that he took the peerage in order to secure a future for his son Hallam.[citation needed] Thomas Edison made sound recordings of Tennyson reading his own poetry, late in his life. They include recordings of The Charge of the Light Brigade, and excerpts from "The splendour falls" (from The Princess), "Come into the garden" (from Maud), "Ask me no more", "Ode on the death of the Duke of Wellington", "Charge of the Heavy Brigade", and "Lancelot and Elaine"; the sound quality is as bad as wax cylinder recordings usually are.

Sketch of Alfred Tennyson published one year after his death in 1892, seated in his favourite arbour at his Farringford House home in the village of Freshwater, Isle of Wight.

Towards the end of his life Tennyson revealed that his "religious beliefs also defied convention, leaning towards agnosticism and pandeism":[11] Famously, he wrote in In Memoriam: "There lives more faith in honest doubt, believe me, than in half the creeds." [The context directly contradicts the apparent meaning of this quote.] In Maud, 1855, he wrote: "The churches have killed their Christ." In "Locksley Hall Sixty Years After," Tennyson wrote: "Christian love among the churches look'd the twin of heathen hate." In his play, Becket, he wrote: "We are self-uncertain creatures, and we may, Yea, even when we know not, mix our spites and private hates with our defence of Heaven." Tennyson recorded in his Diary (p. 127): "I believe in Pantheism of a sort." His son's biography confirms that Tennyson was not an orthodox Christian, noting that Tennyson praised Giordano Bruno and Spinoza on his deathbed, saying of Bruno, "His view of God is in some ways mine," in 1892.[12]

Tennyson continued writing into his eighties, and died on 6 October 1892, aged 83. He was buried at Westminster Abbey. A memorial was erected in All Saints' Church, Freshwater. His last words were; "Oh that press will have me now!".[13]

He was succeeded as 2nd Baron Tennyson by his son, Hallam, who produced an authorised biography of his father in 1897, and was later the second Governor-General of Australia.

The art of Tennyson's poetry

Tennyson used a wide range of subject matter, ranging from medieval legends to classical myths and from domestic situations to observations of nature, as source material for his poetry. The influence of John Keats and other Romantic poets published before and during his childhood is evident from the richness of his imagery and descriptive writing. He also handled rhythm masterfully. The insistent beat of Break, Break, Break emphasizes the relentless sadness of the subject matter. Tennyson's use of the musical qualities of words to emphasize his rhythms and meanings is sensitive. The language of "I come from haunts of coot and hern" lilts and ripples like the brook in the poem and the last two lines of "Come down O maid from yonder mountain height" illustrate his telling combination of onomatopoeia, alliteration and assonance:

The moan of doves in immemorial elms
And murmuring of innumerable bees.

Tennyson was a craftsman who polished and revised his manuscripts extensively. Few poets have used such a variety of styles with such an exact understanding of metre; like many Victorian poets, he experimented in adapting the quantitative metres of Greek and Latin poetry to English. He reflects the Victorian period of his maturity in his feeling for order and his tendency towards moralizing and self-indulgent melancholy. He also reflects a concern common among Victorian writers in being troubled by the conflict between religious faith and expanding scientific knowledge. Like many writers who write a great deal over a long time, he can be pompous or banal, but his personality rings throughout all his works—work that reflects a grand and special variability in its quality. Tennyson possessed the strongest poetic power; he put great length into many works, most famous of which are Maud and Idylls of the King, the latter one of literature's treatments of the legend of King Arthur and The Knights of the Round Table.[citation needed]

Partial list of works

References

  1. ^ Elson, Arthur; Woman's Work in Music; p. 93; reprint published 2007 by BiblioBazaar (original 1903). ISBN 1-4346-7444-4
  2. ^ The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (5th ed.). Oxford University Press. 1999. 
  3. ^ Genealogists Discover Royal Roots for All
  4. ^ a b c d e f Poems of Alfred Lord Tennyson. Eugene Parsons (Introduction). New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1900.
  5. ^ Tennyson, Alfred in Venn, J. & J. A., Alumni Cantabrigienses, Cambridge University Press, 10 vols, 1922–1958.
  6. ^ Friedlander, Ed. "Enjoying "Timbuctoo" by Alfred Tennyson"
  7. ^ "Alfred, Lord Tennyson 1809 - 1892". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved on 27 October 2007.
  8. ^ H. Tennyson, Alfred Lord Tennyson: A Memoir by His Son, New York, MacMillan, 1897.
  9. ^ H. Tennyson, Alfred Lord Tennyson: A Memoir by His Son, New York, MacMillan, 1897.
  10. ^ play
  11. ^ Cambridge Book and Print Gallery
  12. ^ Freethought of the Day, 6 August 2006, Alfred Tennyson
  13. ^ Andrew Motion, BBC Radio 4, "Great Lives: Alfred, Lord Tennyson", broadcast on 4th August 2009
  14. ^ Alfred Lord Tennyson (1899). Hallam Tennyson. ed. The life and works of Alfred Lord Tennyson. 8. Macmillan. pp. 261-263. http://books.google.com/books?id=CbQCAAAAIAAJ&lpg=PA261&ots=SAkl2mGbQ5&dq=Alfred%20Lord%20Tennyson%20%22Kapiolani&pg=PA261. 

External links

Honorary titles
Preceded by
William Wordsworth
British Poet Laureate
1850–1892
Succeeded by
Alfred Austin
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
New creation
Baron Tennyson Succeeded by
Hallam Tennyson
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Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Alfred Tennyson article)

From Wikiquote

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.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1st Baron Tennyson) (1809-08-061892-10-06) was the Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom after William Wordsworth and is one of the most popular English poets in literature.

See also:
Idylls of the King (1856 to 1885)
In Memoriam A.H.H. (1850)
The Two Voices (1832; 1842)

Contents

Sourced

Where Claribel low-lieth
The breezes pause and die...
  • Where Claribel low-lieth
    The breezes pause and die,
    Letting the rose-leaves fall
    :
    But the solemn oak-tree sigheth,
    Thick-leaved, ambrosial,
    With an ancient melody
    Of an inward agony,
    Where Claribel low-lieth.
    • "Claribel" (1830)
"My life is dreary, He cometh not," she said; She said, "I am aweary, aweary, I would that I were dead!"
  • With blackest moss the flower plots
    Were thickly crusted, one and all;
    The rusted nails fell from the knots
    That held the pear to the gable wall.
    The broken sheds looked sad and strange:
    Unlifted was the clinking latch;
    Weeded and worn the ancient thatch
    Upon the lonely moated grange.
    She only said, "My life is dreary,
    He cometh not," she said;
    She said, "I am aweary, aweary,
    I would that I were dead!'
  • He often lying broad awake, and yet
    Remaining from the body, and apart
    In intellect and power and will, hath heard
    Time flowing in the middle of the night,
    And all things creeping to a day of doom.
Yet fill my glass: give me one kiss: my own sweet Alice, we must die. There's somewhat in this world amiss shall be unriddled by and by.
  • Yet fill my glass: give me one kiss:
    My own sweet Alice, we must die.
    There's somewhat in this world amiss
    Shall be unriddled by and by.

    There's somewhat flows to us in life,
    But more is taken quite away.
    Pray, Alice, pray, my darling wife,
    That we may die the self-same day.
  • Have I not found a happy earth?
    I least should breathe a thought of pain.
    Would God renew me from my birth
    I'd almost live my life again.
    So sweet it seems with thee to walk,
    And once again to woo thee mine —
    It seems in after-dinner talk
    Across the walnuts and the wine —
    • "The Miller's Daughter" (1832)
O mother Ida, many-fountain'd Ida, Dear mother Ida, harken ere I die.
  • O mother Ida, many-fountain'd Ida,
    Dear mother Ida, harken ere I die.

    For now the noonday quiet holds the hill:
    The grasshopper is silent in the grass:
    The lizard, with his shadow on the stone,
    Rests like a shadow, and the winds are dead.
    The purple flower droops: the golden bee
    Is lily-cradled: I alone awake.
    My eyes are full of tears, my heart of love,
    My heart is breaking, and my eyes are dim,
    And I am all aweary of my life.
Acting the law we live by without fear; and, because right is right, to follow right were wisdom in the scorn of consequence.
  • Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control,
    These three alone lead life to sovereign power.

    Yet not for power (power of herself
    Would come uncall'd for) but to live by law,
    Acting the law we live by without fear;
    And, because right is right, to follow right
    Were wisdom in the scorn of consequence.
    • "Oenone", st. 14
  • I built my soul a lordly pleasure-house,
    Wherein at ease for aye to dwell.
    I said, "O Soul, make merry and carouse,
    Dear soul, for all is well."
  • You must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear;
    Tomorrow 'ill be the happiest time of all the glad New-year;
    Of all the glad New-year, mother, the maddest merriest day,
    For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.
  • Dan Chaucer, the first warbler, whose sweet breath
    Preluded those melodious bursts that fill
    The spacious times of great Elizabeth
    With sounds that echo still.
At length I saw a lady within call, stiller than chisell'd marble, standing there; A daughter of the gods, divinely tall, and most divinely fair.
  • At length I saw a lady within call,
    Stiller than chisell'd marble, standing there;
    A daughter of the gods, divinely tall,
    And most divinely fair.
    • "A Dream of Fair Women", st. 22
  • The great brand
    Made lightnings in the splendour of the moon
    ,
    And flashing round and round, and whirl'd in an arch,
    Shot like a streamer of the northern morn,
    Seen where the moving isles of winter shock
    By night, with noises of the northern sea.
    So flash'd and fell the brand Excalibur.
  • Half light, half shade,
    She stood, a sight to make an old man young.
The trance gave way to those caresses, when a hundred times in that last kiss, which never was the last, farewell, like endless welcome, lived and died.
  • Of love that never found his earthly close,
    What sequel?
    Streaming eyes and breaking hearts?
    Or all the same as if he had not been?
    Not so. Shall Error in the round of time
    Still father Truth? O shall the braggart shout
    For some blind glimpse of freedom work itself
    Thro' madness, hated by the wise, to law
    System and empire? Sin itself be found
    The cloudy porch oft opening on the Sun?
    And only he, this wonder, dead, become
    Mere highway dust? or year by year alone
    Sit brooding in the ruins of a life,
    Nightmare of youth, the spectre of himself!
    If this were thus, if this, indeed, were all,
    Better the narrow brain, the stony heart,
    The staring eye glazed o'er with sapless days,
    The long mechanic pacings to and fro,
    The set gray life, and apathetic end.
    But am I not the nobler thro' thy love?
    O three times less unworthy! likewise thou
    Art more thro' Love, and greater than thy years.
  • The slow sweet hours that bring us all things good,
    The slow sad hours that bring us all things ill,
    And all good things from evil, brought the night
    In which we sat together and alone,
    And to the want, that hollow'd all the heart,
    Gave utterance by the yearning of an eye,
    That burn'd upon its object thro' such tears
    As flow but once a life. The trance gave way
    To those caresses, when a hundred times
    In that last kiss, which never was the last,
    Farewell, like endless welcome, lived and died.
    • "Love and Duty" l. 57 - 67 (1842)
  • Meet is it changes should control
    Our being, lest we rust in ease.

    We all are changed by still degrees,
    All but the basis of the soul.
My good blade carves the casques of men, My tough lance thrusteth sure, My strength is as the strength of ten, Because my heart is pure.
  • But we grow old. Ah! when shall all men's good
    Be each man's rule, and universal Peace
    Lie like a shaft of light across the land,
    And like a lane of beams athwart the sea,
    Thro' all the circle of the golden year?
  • My good blade carves the casques of men,
    My tough lance thrusteth sure,
    My strength is as the strength of ten,
    Because my heart is pure.
  • I grow in worth, and wit, and sense,
    Unboding critic-pen,
    Or that eternal want of pence,
    Which vexes public men
    ,
    Who hold their hands to all, and cry
    For that which all deny them —
    Who sweep the crossings, wet or dry,
    And all the world go by them.
  • As shines the moon in clouded skies,
    She in her poor attire was seen;
    One praised her ankles, one her eyes,
    One her dark hair and lovesome mien.
    So sweet a face, such angel grace,
    In all that land had never been.
    Cophetua sware a royal oath:
    "This beggar maid shall be my queen!"
  • All the windy ways of men
    Are but dust that rises up,
    And is lightly laid again.
  • Then some one spake: "Behold! it was a crime
    Of sense avenged by sense that wore with time."
    Another said: "The crime of sense became
    The crime of malice, and is equal blame."
    And one: "He had not wholly quench'd his power;
    A little grain of conscience made him sour."
    At last I heard a voice upon the slope
    Cry to the summit, "Is there any hope?"
    To which an answer peal'd from that high land,
    But in a tongue no man could understand;
    And on the glimmering limit far withdrawn
    God made Himself an awful rose of dawn.
    • "The Vision of Sin", sec. 5 (1842)
Break, break, break,
On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!
  • Break, break, break,
    On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!
    And I would that my tongue could utter
    The thoughts that arise in me.
  • Break, break, break
    At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!
    But the tender grace of a day that is dead
    Will never come back to me.
    • "Break, Break, Break", st. 4
He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring'd with the azure world, he stands...
  • He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
    Close to the sun in lonely lands,
    Ring'd with the azure world, he stands
    .

    The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
    He watches from his mountain walls,
    And like a thunderbolt he falls.

  • We love not this French God, the child of hell,
    Wild War, who breaks the converse of the wise;
    But though we love kind Peace so well,
    We dare not even by silence sanction lies.
    It might be safe our censures to withdraw,
    And yet, my Lords, not well; there is a higher law.
Men may come and men may go, but I go on forever...
  • I come from haunts of coot and hern,
    I make a sudden sally,
    And sparkle out among the fern,
    To bicker down a valley.
  • And draw them all along, and flow
    To join the brimming river,
    For men may come and men may go,
    But I go on forever.
    • "The Brook", st. 5
Man comes and tills the field and lies beneath,
And after many a summer dies the swan...
  • The woods decay, the woods decay and fall,
    The vapours weep their burthen to the ground,
    Man comes and tills the field and lies beneath,
    And after many a summer dies the swan.

    Me only cruel immortality
    Consumes: I wither slowly in thine arms,
    Here at the quiet limit of the world,
    A white-hair'd shadow roaming like a dream
    The ever-silent spaces of the East,
    Far-folded mists, and gleaming halls of morn.
  • His deeds yet live, the worst is yet to come.
    Yet let your sleep for this one night be sound:
    I do forgive him!
  • And the parson made it his text that week, and he said likewise,
    That a lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest of lies,
    That a lie which is all a lie may be met and fought with outright,
    But a lie which is part a truth is a harder matter to fight.
  • Speak to Him thou for He hears, and Spirit with Spirit can meet —
    Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet.
Little flower — but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, and all in all,
I should know what God and man is.
  • Flower in the crannied wall,
    I pluck you out of the crannies,
    I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
    Little flower — but if I could understand
    What you are, root and all, and all in all,
    I should know what God and man is.
Cleave ever to the sunnier side of doubt,
And cling to Faith beyond the forms of Faith!
  • Thou that singest wheat and woodland, tilth and vineyard, hive and horse and herd;
    All the charm of all the Muses often flowering in a lonely word.
  • For nothing worthy proving can be proven,
    Nor yet disproven
    : wherefore thou be wise,
    Cleave ever to the sunnier side of doubt,
    And cling to Faith beyond the forms of Faith!
I am Merlin Who follow The Gleam.
  • First pledge our Queen this solemn night,
    Then drink to England, every guest;
    That man's the best Cosmopolite
    Who loves his native country best.
  • O young Mariner,
    You from the haven
    Under the sea-cliff,
    You that are watching
    The gray Magician
    With eyes of wonder,
    I am Merlin,
    And I am dying,
    I am Merlin
    Who follow The Gleam.
  • Once at the croak of a Raven who crost it,
    A barbarous people,
    Blind to the magic,
    And deaf to the melody,
    Snarl’d at and cursed me.
    A demon vext me,
    The light retreated,
    The landskip darken’d,
    The melody deaden’d,
    The Master whisper’d
    ‘Follow The Gleam.’
    • "Merlin and the Gleam", st. 3 (1889)
  • Well, Gosse, would you like to know what I think of Churton Collins? I think he's a Louse on the Locks of Literature.
    • Evan Charteris, Life and Letters of Sir Edmund Gosse (1931), p. 197
  • This laurel greener from the brows
    Of him that uttered nothing base.
    • To the Queen, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • And statesmen at her council met
    Who knew the seasons, when to take
    Occasion by the hand, and make
    The bounds of freedom wider yet.
    • To the Queen, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • Broad based upon her people’s will,
    And compassed by the inviolate sea.
    • To the Queen, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • For it was in the golden prime
    Of good Haroun Alraschid.
    • Recollections of the Arabian Nights, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • A man had given all other bliss,
    And all his worldly worth for this,
    To waste his whole heart in one kiss
        Upon her perfect lips.
    • Sir Launcelot and Queen Guinevere

Ode to Memory (1830)

"Written very early in life" — first published in 1830
With youthful fancy reinspired, we may hold converse with all forms of the many-sided mind, and those whom passion hath not blinded, subtle-thoughted, myriad-minded.
  • Thou who stealest fire,
    From the fountains of the past,
    To glorify the present; oh, haste,
    Visit my low desire!
    Strengthen me, enlighten me!

    I faint in this obscurity,
    Thou dewy dawn of memory.
  • In sweet dreams softer than unbroken rest
    Thou leddest by the hand thine infant Hope.

    The eddying of her garments caught from thee
    The light of thy great presence; and the cope
    Of the half-attain'd futurity,
    Though deep not fathomless,
    Was cloven with the million stars which tremble
    O'er the deep mind of dauntless infancy.
  • Come forth I charge thee, arise,
    Thou of the many tongues, the myriad eyes!

    Thou comest not with shows of flaunting vines
    Unto mine inner eye,
    Divinest Memory!
  • Whither in after life retired
    From brawling storms,
    From weary wind,
    With youthful fancy reinspired,
    We may hold converse with all forms
    Of the many-sided mind,
    And those whom passion hath not blinded,
    Subtle-thoughted, myriad-minded.

The Poet (1830)

The poet in a golden clime was born, with golden stars above; Dower'd with the hate of hate, the scorn of scorn, The love of love.
So many minds did gird their orbs with beams,
Tho' one did fling the fire;
Heaven flow'd upon the soul in many dreams
Of high desire.
  • The poet in a golden clime was born,
    With golden stars above;
    Dower'd with the hate of hate, the scorn of scorn,
    The love of love.

    He saw thro' life and death, thro' good and ill,
    He saw thro' his own soul.
    The marvel of the everlasting will,
    An open scroll,
    Before him lay; with echoing feet he threaded
    The secretest walks of fame:
    The viewless arrows of his thoughts were headed
    And wing'd with flame,
    Like Indian reeds blown from his silver tongue...
Freedom rear'd in that august sunrise her beautiful bold brow, when rites and forms before his burning eyes melted like snow.
  • So many minds did gird their orbs with beams,
    Tho' one did fling the fire;
    Heaven flow'd upon the soul in many dreams
    Of high desire.
  • Thus truth was multiplied on truth, the world
    Like one great garden show'd,
    And thro' the wreaths of floating dark up-curl'd,
    Rare sunrise flow'd.

    And Freedom rear'd in that august sunrise
    Her beautiful bold brow,
    When rites and forms before his burning eyes
    Melted like snow.

  • There was no blood upon her maiden robes
    Sunn'd by those orient skies;
    But round about the circles of the globes
    Of her keen
    And in her raiment's hem was traced in flame
    WISDOM, a name to shake
    All evil dreams of power — a sacred name.

    And when she spake,
    Her words did gather thunder as they ran,
    And as the lightning to the thunder
    Which follows it, riving the spirit of man,
    Making earth wonder,
    So was their meaning to her words. No sword
    Of wrath her right arm whirl'd,
    But one poor poet's scroll, and with his word
    She shook the world.

Lady Clara Vere de Vere (1832)

  • Lady Clara Vere de Vere,
    Of me you shall not win renown:
    You thought to break a country heart
    For pastime, ere you went to town.
    At me you smiled, but unbeguiled
    I saw the snare, and I retired;
    The daughter of a hundred earls,
    You are not one to be desired.
    • St. 1
  • A simple maiden in her flower
    Is worth a hundred coats-of-arms.
    • St. 2
  • You sought to prove how I could love,
    And my disdain is my reply.
    The lion on your old stone gates
    Is not more cold to you than I.
    • St. 3
  • Trust me, Clara Vere de Vere,
    From yon blue heavens above us bent
    The gardener Adam and his wife
    Smile at the claims of long descent.
    Howe'er it be, it seems to me,
    'Tis only noble to be good.
    Kind hearts are more than coronets,
    And simple faith than Norman blood.
    • St. 7

The Lotos-Eaters (1832)

  • In the afternoon they came unto a land
    In which it seemed always afternoon.
    • St. 1
  • There is sweet music here that softer falls
    Than petals from blown roses on the grass,
    Or night-dews on still waters between walls
    Of shadowy granite, in a gleaming pass;
    Music that gentlier on the spirit lies,
    Than tir'd eyelids upon tir'd eyes.
    • Choric Song, st. 1
  • There is no joy but calm!
    • Choric Song, st. 2
  • Death is the end of life; ah, why
    Should life all labour be?

    Let us alone. Time driveth onward fast,
    And in a little while our lips are dumb.
    Let us alone. What is it that will last?
    All things are taken from us, and become
    Portions and parcels of the dreadful past.

    Let us alone. What pleasure can we have
    To war with evil? Is there any peace
    In ever climbing up the climbing wave?
    All things have rest, and ripen toward the grave
    In silence; ripen, fall and cease:
    Give us long rest or death, dark death, or dreamful ease.
    • Choric Song, st. 4
  • Let us swear an oath, and keep it with an equal mind,
    In the hollow Lotos-land to live and lie reclined
    On the hills like Gods together, careless of mankind.
    • Choric Song, st. 8
  • Surely, surely, slumber is more sweet than toil, the shore
    Than labour in the deep mid-ocean, wind and wave and oar;
    O, rest ye, brother mariners, we will not wander more.
    • Choric Song, st. 8

The Lady of Shalott (1832)

And as the boat-head wound along the willowy hills and fields among, they heard her singing her last song, the Lady of Shalott...
  • On either side the river lie
    Long fields of barley and of rye,
    That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
    And through the field the road runs by
    To many-towered Camelot.
    • Pt. I, st. 1
  • Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
    Little breezes dusk and shiver
    Through the wave that runs for ever
    By the island in the river
    Flowing down to Camelot.
    • Pt. I, st. 2
  • All in the blue unclouded weather
    Thick-jewelled shone the saddle-leather,
    The helmet and the helmet-feather
    Burned like one burning flame together,
    As he rode down to Camelot.
    • Pt. III, st. 3
  • From the bank and from the river
    He flashed into the crystal mirror,
    "Tirra lirra," by the river
    Sang Sir Lancelot.
    • Pt. III, st. 4
  • She left the web, she left the loom,
    She made three paces through the room,
    She saw the water-lily bloom,
    She saw the helmet and the plume,
    She looked down to Camelot.

    Out flew the web and floated wide;
    The mirror cracked from side to side;
    "The curse is come upon me," cried
    The Lady of Shalott.
    • Pt. III, st. 5
  • Lying, robed in snowy white
    That loosely flew to left and right —
    The leaves upon her falling light —
    Thro' the noises of the night,
    She floated down to Camelot:
    And as the boat-head wound along
    The willowy hills and fields among,
    They heard her singing her last song,
    The Lady of Shalott.

    Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
    Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
    Till her blood was frozen slowly,
    And her eyes were darkened wholly,
    Turn'd to tower'd Camelot.

    For ere she reach'd upon the tide
    The first house by the water-side,
    Singing in her song she died,
    The Lady of Shalott.

  • Out upon the wharfs they came,
    Knight and Burgher, Lord and Dame,
    And around the prow they read her name,
    The Lady of Shalott.

    Who is this? And what is here?
    And in the lighted palace near
    Died the sound of royal cheer;
    And they crossed themselves for fear,
    All the Knights at Camelot;
    But Lancelot mused a little space
    He said, "She has a lovely face;
    God in his mercy lend her grace,
    The Lady of Shalott."

    • Pt. IV, st. 6

Locksley Hall (1842)

I remember one that perish'd: sweetly did she speak and move:
Such a one do I remember, whom to look at was to love.
  • Comrades, leave me here a little, while as yet 'tis early morn:
    Leave me here, and when you want me, sound upon the bugle horn.
  • In the Spring a livelier iris changes on the burnish'd dove;
    In the Spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.
  • He will hold thee, when his passion shall have spent its novel force,
    Something better than his dog, a little dearer than his horse.
  • Never, tho' my mortal summers to such length of years should come
    As the many-winter'd crow that leads the clanging rookery home.
  • I remember one that perish'd: sweetly did she speak and move:
    Such a one do I remember, whom to look at was to love.
  • Comfort? comfort scorn'd of devils! this is truth the poet sings,
    That a sorrow's crown of sorrow is remembering happier things.
  • Like a dog, he hunts in dreams, and thou art staring at the wall,
    Where the dying night-lamp flickers, and the shadows rise and fall.
  • O, I see thee old and formal, fitted to thy petty part,
    With a little hoard of maxims preaching down a daughter's heart.
  • What is that which I should turn to, lighting upon days like these?
    Every door is barred with gold, and opens but to golden keys.

    Every gate is thronged with suitors, all the markets overflow.
    I have but an angry fancy: what is that which I should do?

    I had been content to perish, falling on the foeman's ground,
    When the ranks are rolled in vapour, and the winds are laid with sound.

    But the jingling of the guinea helps the hurt that Honour feels,
    And the nations do but murmur, snarling at each other's heels.

For I dipped into the future, far as human eye could see,
Saw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be...
  • Make me feel the wild pulsation that I felt before the strife,
    When I heard my days before me, and the tumult of my life
    ;
    Yearning for the large excitement that the coming years would yield,
    Eager-hearted as a boy when first he leaves his father's field
I doubt not through the ages one increasing purpose runs, And the thoughts of men are widened with the process of the suns.
  • Men, my brothers, men the workers, ever reaping something new:
    That which they have done but earnest of the things that they shall do:

    For I dipped into the future, far as human eye could see,
    Saw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be;

    Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails,
    Pilots of the purple twilight, dropping down with costly bales
    ;

    Heard the heavens fill with shouting, and there rained a ghastly dew
    From the nations' airy navies grappling in the central blue;

    Far along the world-wide whisper of the south-wind rushing warm,
    With the standards of the peoples plunging through the thunderstorm;

    Till the war-drum throbbed no longer, and the battle-flags were furled
    In the Parliament of man, the Federation of the world.

    There the common sense of most shall hold a fretful realm in awe,
    And the kindly earth shall slumber, lapped in universal law.

  • So I triumphed ere my passion sweeping through me left me dry,
    Left with the palsied heart, and left me with the jaundiced eye
    ;

    Eye, to which all order festers, all things here are out of joint:
    Science moves, but slowly slowly, creeping on from point to point:

    Slowly comes a hungry people, as a lion creeping nigher,
    Glares at one that nods and winks behind a slowly-dying fire.

    Yet I doubt not through the ages one increasing purpose runs,
    And the thoughts of men are widened with the process of the suns.

Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers, and I linger on the shore,
And the individual withers, and the world is more and more.
  • Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers, and I linger on the shore,
    And the individual withers, and the world is more and more.
  • Woman is the lesser man, and all thy passions, match'd with mine,
    Are as moonlight unto sunlight, and as water unto wine —
  • There the passions cramp'd no longer shall have scope and breathing-space;
    I will take some savage woman, she shall rear my dusky race.
  • Mated with a squalid savage — what to me were sun or clime?
    I the heir of all the ages, in the foremost files of time —
  • Not in vain the distance beacons. Forward, forward let us range.
    Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change.
  • Thro' the shadow of the globe we sweep into the younger day:
    Better fifty years of Europe than a cycle of Cathay.
  • Comes a vapour from the margin, blackening over heath and holt,
    Cramming all the blast before it, in its breast a thunderbolt.

    Let it fall on Locksley Hall, with rain or hail, or fire or snow;
    For the mighty wind arises, roaring seaward, and I go.

Ulysses (1842)

I am become a name; For always roaming with a hungry heart much have I seen and known
  • It little profits that an idle king,
    By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
    Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole
    Unequal laws unto a savage race,
    That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
    • l. 1-5
I am a part of all that I have met; Yet all experience is an arch wherethro' gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades for ever and forever when I move.
  • I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
    Life to the lees
    : all times I have enjoy'd
    Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those
    That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when
    Thro' scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
    Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;
    For always roaming with a hungry heart
    Much have I seen and known; cities of men
    And manners, climates, councils, governments,
    Myself not least, but honour'd of them all
    ;
    And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
    Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
    • 13 -17
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with gods.
  • I am part of all that I have met;
    Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
    Gleams that untravell'd world, whose margin fades
    For ever and for ever when I move.
    • l. 18 - 21
  • How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
    To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use!
    As tho' to breath were life.
    Life piled on life
    Were all too little, and of one to me
    Little remains: but every hour is saved
    From that eternal silence, something more,
    A bringer of new things; and vile it were
    For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
    And this gray spirit yearning in desire
    To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
    Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.
    • l. 22-32
  • Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought with me —
    That ever with a frolic welcome took
    The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
    Free hearts, free foreheads — you and I are old;
    Old age hath yet his honor and his toil.
    Death closes all; but something ere the end,
    Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
    Not unbecoming men that strove with gods.
    • l. 46-53
Though much is taken, much abides; and though we are not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are...
  • The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks;
    The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs; the deep
    Moans round with many voices.
    Come, my friends.
    'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
    Push off, and sitting well in order smite
    The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
    To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
    Of all the western stars, until I die.
    • l. 54-62
  • It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
    It may be that we shall touch the Happy Isles,
    And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
    Though much is taken, much abides; and though
    We are not now that strength which in old days
    Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are —
    One equal temper of heroic hearts,
    Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
    To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
    • l. 63-70

The Day-Dream (1842)

The many fail: the one succeeds.
  • The bodies and the bones of those
    That strove in other days to pass,
    Are wither'd in the thorny close,
    Or scatter'd blanching on the grass.
    He gazes on the silent dead:
    "They perish'd in their daring deeds."
    This proverb flashes thro' his head,
    "The many fail: the one succeeds."
    • The Arrival, st. 2
  • And on her lover's arm she leant,
    And round her waist she felt it fold,
    And far across the hills they went
    In that new world which is the old:
    Across the hills, and far away
    Beyond their utmost purple rim,
    And deep into the dying day
    The happy princess follow'd him.
    • The Departure, st. 1
Oh, to what uses shall we put the wildweed-flower that simply blows? And is there any moral shut within the bosom of the rose?
  • O eyes long laid in happy sleep!
    O happy sleep, that lightly fled!
    O happy kiss, that woke thy sleep!
    O love, thy kiss would wake the dead!
    • The Departure, st. 3
  • And o'er the hills, and far away
    Beyond their utmost purple rim,
    Beyond the night, across the day,
    Thro' all the world she follow'd him.
    • The Departure, st. 4
  • So, Lady Flora, take my lay,
    And if you find no moral there,
    Go, look in any glass and say,
    What moral is in being fair.
    Oh, to what uses shall we put
    The wildweed-flower that simply blows?
    And is there any moral shut
    Within the bosom of the rose?
    • Moral, st. 1

Lady Clare (1842)

Full text online
She clad herself in a russet gown,
She was no longer Lady Clare:
She went by dale, and she went by down,
With a single rose in her hair.
  • It was the time when lilies blow,
    And clouds are highest up in air.
    Lord Ronald brought a lily-white doe
    To give his cousin, Lady Clare.
  • "He does not love me for my birth
    Nor for my lands so broad and fair;
    He loves me for my own true worth,
    And that is well," said Lady Clare.
  • "If I'm a beggar born," she said
    "I will speak out, for I dare not lie,
    Pull off, pull off the brooch of gold,
    And fling the diamond necklace by."

    "Nay now, my child," said Alice the nurse,
    "But keep the secret all you can."
    She said, "Not so; but I will know
    If there be any faith in man."

  • She clad herself in a russet gown,
    She was no longer Lady Clare:
    She went by dale, and she went by down,
    With a single rose in her hair.

    The lily-white doe Lord Ronald had brought
    Leapt up from where she lay.
    Dropped her head in the maiden's hand.
    And followed her all the way.

  • "If I come dressed like a village maid,
    I am but as my fortunes are:
    I am a beggar born," she said,
    "And not the Lady Clare."
  • "If you are not the heiress born,
    And I," said he, "the lawful heir,
    We two will wed to-morrow morn,
    And you shall still be Lady Clare."

The Princess (1847)

  • And one said smiling 'Pretty were the sight
    If our old halls could change their sex, and flaunt
    With prudes for proctors, dowagers for deans,
    And sweet girl-graduates in their golden hair.
    • Prologue, stanza 9.
  • A rosebud set with little wilful thorns,
    And sweet as English air could make her, she.
    • Prologue, stanze 10.
  • With prudes for proctors, dowagers for deans,
    And sweet girl-graduates in their golden hair.
    • Prologue. Line 141.
  • As thro' the land at eve we went,
    And pluck'd the ripen'd ears,
    We fell out, my wife and I,
    O we fell out I know not why,
    And kiss'd again with tears.
    • Pt. II, Song: As Through the Land, l. 1-5.
  • And quoted odes, and jewels five-words-long
    That on the stretch'd forefinger of all Time
    Sparkle for ever.
    • Pt. II, l. 355-357.
Our echoes roll from soul to soul,
And grow for ever and for ever...
  • Sweet and low, sweet and low,
    Wind of the western sea,
    Low, low, breathe and blow,
    Wind of the western sea!

    Over the rolling waters go,
    Come from the dying moon, and blow,
    Blow him again to me;
    While my little one, while my pretty one, sleeps.
    • Pt. III, Song: Sweet and Low, st. 1.
  • Blow, bugle, blow! set the wild echoes flying!
    Blow, bugle! answer, echoes! dying, dying, dying.
    • Part III, line 352.
  • The splendour falls on castle walls
    And snowy summits old in story:
    The long light shakes across the lakes,
    And the wild cataract leaps in glory.
    Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
    Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.
    • Pt. IV, Song: The Splendor Falls, st. 1.
  • There sinks the nebulous star we call the sun.
    • Part IV, line 1.
  • O love, they die in yon rich sky,
    They faint on hill or field or river:
    Our echoes roll from soul to soul,
    And grow for ever and for ever.
    • Pt. IV, Song: The Splendor Falls, st. 3.
  • Unto dying eyes
    The casement slowly grows a glimmering square.
    • Part IV, line 33.
  • Dear as remembered kisses after death,
    And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feigned
    On lips that are for others; deep as love,—
    Deep as first love, and wild with all regret.
    Oh death in life, the days that are no more!
    • Part IV, line 36.
  • Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
    Tears from the depth of some divine despair
    Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
    In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,
    And thinking of the days that are no more.
    • Pt. IV, Song: Tears, Idle Tears, st. 1.
  • Dear as remember'd kisses after death,
    And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feign'd
    On lips that are for others; deep as love,
    Deep as first love, and wild with all regret;
    O Death in Life, the days that are no more.
    • Pt. IV, Song: Tears, Idle Tears, st. 4.
  • O Swallow, Swallow, flying, flying South,
    Fly to her, and fall upon her gilded eaves,
    And tell her, tell her, what I tell to thee.
    • Pt. IV, Song: O Swallow, st. 1.
  • Man is the hunter; woman is his game:
    The sleek and shining creatures of the chase,
    We hunt them for the beauty of their skins;
    They love us for it, and we ride them down.
    • Pt. V, l. 147-150.
  • Man for the field and woman for the hearth:
    Man for the sword and for the needle she:
    Man with the head and woman with the heart:
    Man to command and woman to obey;
    All else confusion.
    • Pt. V, l. 427-431.
  • Home they brought her warrior dead:
    She nor swoon'd, nor utter'd cry:
    All her maidens, watching, said,
    "She must weep or she will die."
    • Pt. VI, Song: Home They Brought Her Warrior, st. 1.
  • You wrong yourselves — the woman is so hard
    Upon the woman.
    • Pt. VI, l. 205-206.
  • Ask me no more: thy fate and mine are seal'd:
    I strove against the stream and all in vain:
    Let the great river take me to the main:
    No more, dear love, for at a touch I yield;
    Ask me no more.
    • Pt. VII, Song: Ask Me No More, st. 3.
  • Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white;
    Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk;
    Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font:
    The fire-fly wakens: waken thou with me.
    • Pt. VII, Song: Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal, st. 1.
  • Now lies the Earth all Danaë to the stars,
    And all thy heart lies open unto me.
    • Pt. VII, Song: Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal, st. 3.
  • Sweet is every sound,
    Sweeter thy voice, but every sound is sweet;
    Myriads of rivulets hurrying thro' the lawn,
    The moan of doves in immemorial elms,
    And murmuring of innumerable bees.
    • Pt. VII, l. 203-207.
  • Happy he
    With such a mother! faith in womankind
    Beats with his blood, and trust in all things high
    Comes easy to him
    ; and tho’ he trip and fall,
    He shall not blind his soul with clay.
    • Pt. VII, l. 308-311.
  • God bless the narrow sea which keeps her off,
    And keeps our Britain, whole within herself,
    A nation yet, the rulers and the ruled —
    Some sense of duty, something of a faith,
    Some reverence for the laws ourselves have made.
    Some patient force to change them when we will,
    Some civic manhood firm against the crowd.
    • Conclusion, l. 51-57.

Tears, Idle Tears (1850)

  • Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
    Tears from the depth of some divine despair
    Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
    In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,
    And thinking of the days that are no more.
    • St. 1
  • Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,
    That brings our friends up from the underworld,
    Sad as the last which reddens over one
    That sinks with all we love below the verge;
    So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.
    • St. 2
  • Dear as remembered kisses after death,
    And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feigned
    On lips that are for others; deep as love,
    Deep as first love, and wild with all regret;
    O Death in Life, the days that are no more!
    • St. 4

Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington (1852)

The path of duty was the way to glory.
  • Bury the Great Duke
    With an empire's lamentation
    ;
    Let us bury the Great Duke
    To the noise of the mourning of a mighty nation;
    Mourning when their leaders fall,
    Warriors carry the warrior's pall,
    And sorrow darkens hamlet and hall.
    • St. I
  • Lead out the pageant: sad and slow,
    As fits an universal woe,
    Let the long, long procession go,
    And let the sorrowing crowd about it grow,
    And let the mournful martial music blow;
    The last great Englishman is low.
    • St. III
  • Rich in saving common-sense,
    And, as the greatest only are,
    In his simplicity sublime.

    O good gray head which all men knew,
    O voice from which their omens all men drew,
    O iron nerve to true occasion true,
    O fallen at length that tower of strength
    Which stood four-square to all the winds that blew!
    • St. IV
  • Yea, let all good things await
    Him who cares not to be great
    But as he saves or serves the state.
    Not once or twice in our rough island-story
    The path of duty was the way to glory.

    He that walks it, only thirsting
    For the right, and learns to deaden
    Love of self, before his journey closes,
    He shall find the stubborn thistle bursting
    Into glossy purples, which outredden
    All voluptuous garden-roses.
    • St. VIII
  • Speak no more of his renown,
    Lay your earthly fancies down,
    And in the vast cathedral leave him,
    God accept him, Christ receive him!
    • St. IX

The Charge of the Light Brigade (1854)

Based upon the military confrontation known as The Charge of the Light Brigade during the Battle of Balaclava of the Crimean War
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of death
Rode the six hundred.
  • Half a league half a league
    Half a league onward
    All in the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred:

    'Forward the Light Brigade
    Charge for the guns' he said
    Into the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.
    • St. 1
  • "Forward, the Light Brigade!"
    Was there a man dismay'd?
    Not tho' the soldier knew
    Some one had blunder'd:
    Theirs not to make reply,
    Theirs not to reason why,
    Theirs but to do and die:
    Into the valley of death
    Rode the six hundred.
    • St. 2
  • Cannon to right of them,
    Cannon to left of them,
    Cannon in front of them
    Volley'd and thunder'd;
    Storm'd at with shot and shell,
    Boldly they rode and well,
    Into the jaws of Death,
    Into the mouth of Hell
    Rode the six hundred.
    • St. 3
  • Storm'd at with shot and shell,
    While horse and hero fell,
    They that had fought so well
    Came thro' the jaws of Death
    Back from the mouth of Hell,
    All that was left of them,
    Left of six hundred.
    • St. 5

Maud; A Monodrama (1855)

All night have the roses heard the flute, violin, bassoon...
  • Perfectly beautiful: let it be granted her: where is the fault?
    All that I saw (for her eyes were downcast, not to be seen)
    Faultily faultless, icily regular, splendidly null,
    Dead perfection, no more.
    • Part I, section ii.
  • That jewelled mass of millinery,
    That oiled and curled Assyrian Bull.
    • Part I, section vi, stanza 6.
  • One still strong man in a blatant land.
    • Part I, section x, stanza 5.
  • And ah for a man to arise in me,
    That the man I am may cease to be!
    • Part I, section x, stanza 6.
  • Who shall call me ungentle, unfair,
    I long'd so heartily then and there
    To give him the grasp of fellowship;
    But while I past he was humming an air,
    Stopt, and then with a riding whip,
    Leisurely tapping a glossy boot,
    And curving a contumelious lip,
    Gorgonised me from head to foot
    With a stony British stare.
    • Part I, section xiii, stanza 2.
  • Come into the garden, Maud,
    For the black bat, night, has flown,
    Come into the garden, Maud,
    I am here at the gate alone;
    And the woodbine spices are wafted abroad,
    And the musk of the rose is blown.
    • Part I, section xxii, stanza 1.
  • For a breeze of morning moves,
    And the planet of Love is on high,
    Beginning to faint in the light that she loves
    On a bed of daffodil sky,
    To faint in the light of the sun she loves,
    To faint in his light, and to die.
    • Part I, section xxii, stanza 2.
  • All night have the roses heard
    The flute, violin, bassoon;
    All night has the casement jessamine stirr'd
    To the dancers dancing in tune;
    Till a silence fell with the waking bird,
    And a hush with the setting moon.
    • Part I, section xxii, stanza 3.
  • Queen rose of the rosebud garden of girls,
    Come hither, the dances are done,
    In gloss of satin and glimmer of pearls,
    Queen lily and rose in one;
    Shine out, little head, sunning over with curls,
    To the flowers, and be their sun.
    • Part I, section xxii, stanza 9.
  • There has fallen a splendid tear
    From the passion-flower at the gate.
    She is coming, my dove, my dear;
    She is coming, my life, my fate;
    The red rose cries, "She is near, she is near;"
    And the white rose weeps, "She is late;"
    The larkspur listens, "I hear, I hear;"
    And the lily whispers, "I wait."
    • Part I, section xxii, stanza 10.
  • She is coming, my own, my sweet;
    Were it ever so airy a tread,
    My heart would hear her and beat,
    Were it earth in an earthy bed;
    My dust would hear her and beat,
    Had I lain for a century dead;
    Would start and tremble under her feet,
    And blossom in purple and red.
    • Part I, section xxii, stanza 11.
  • A shadow flits before me,
    Not thou, but like to thee:
    Ah Christ, that it were possible
    For one short hour to see
    The souls we loved, that they might tell us
    What and where they be.
    • Part II, section iv, stanza 3.

The Revenge (1878)

  • At Flores in the Azores Sir Richard Grenville lay,
    And a pinnace, like a fluttered bird, came flying from far away:
    "Spanish ships of war at sea! we have sighted fifty-three!"
    Then sware Lord Thomas Howard: "'Fore God I am no coward;
    But I cannot meet them here, for my ships are out of gear,
    And the half my men are sick. I must fly, but follow quick.
    We are six ships of the line; can we fight with fifty-three?"
    • St. 1
  • Then spake Sir Richard Grenville: "I know you are no coward;
    You fly them for a moment to fight with them again.
    But I've ninety men and more that are lying sick ashore.
    I should count myself the coward if I left them, my Lord Howard,
    To these Inquisition dogs and the devildoms of Spain."
    • St. 2
  • "Shall we fight or shall we fly?
    Good Sir Richard, tell us now,
    For to fight is but to die!
    There'll be little of us left by the time this sun be set."
    And Sir Richard said again: "We be all good English men.
    Let us bang these dogs of Seville, the children of the devil,
    For I never turn'd my back upon Don or devil yet."
    • St. 4
  • Sir Richard spoke and he laughed, and we roared a hurrah, and so
    The little Revenge ran on sheer into the heart of the foe,
    With her hundred fighters on deck, and her ninety sick below;
    For half of their fleet to the right and half to the left were seen,
    And the little Revenge ran on through the long sea-lane between.
    • St. 5

Crossing the Bar (1889)

Though from out our bourne of Time and Place the flood may bear me far, I hope to see my Pilot face to face when I have crossed the bar.
  • Sunset and evening star,
    And one clear call for me!
    And may there be no moaning of the bar,
    When I put out to sea.
    • St. 1
  • But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
    Too full for sound and foam,
    When that which drew from out the boundless deep
    Turns again home.
    • St. 2
  • Twilight and evening bell,
    And after that the dark!
    And may there be no sadness of farewell,
    When I embark.
    • St. 3
  • For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
    The flood may bear me far,
    I hope to see my Pilot face to face
    When I have crossed the bar.
    • St. 4

The Foresters, Robin Hood and Maid Marion (1892)

  • Friends,
    I am only merry for an hour or two
    Upon a birthday: if this life of ours
    Be a good glad thing, why should we make us merry
    Because a year of it is gone? but Hope
    Smiles from the threshold of the year to come
    Whispering 'It will be happier;' and old faces
    Press round us, and warm hands close with warm hands,
    And thro' the blood the wine leaps to the brain
    Like April sap to the topmost tree, that shoots
    New buds to heaven, whereon the throstle rock'd
    Sings a new song to the new year — and you,
    Strike up a song, my friends, and then to bed.
    • Act I, Scene III

Misattributed

  • The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions.
    • Quoted in A Dictionary of Quotations, in Most Frequent Use by D.E. Macdonnel (1809) translated from French:
      • Le bonheur de l'homme en cette vi ne consiste pas á être sans passions: il consiste à en être le maître.

About Alfred Tennyson

  • The news came to the village — the dire news which spread across the land, filling men's hearts with consternation — that Byron was dead. Tennyson was then about a boy of fifteen.

    "Byron was dead! I thought the whole world was at an end," he once said, speaking of those bygone days. "I thought everything was over and finished for everyone — that nothing else mattered. I remembered I walked out alone, and carved 'Byron is dead' into the sandstone."

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Simple English

Alfred Tennyson
File:Alfred Lord Tennyson
1869 Carbon print by Julia Margaret Cameron
Born 6 August 1809(1809-08-06)
Somersby, Lincolnshire, England, UK
Died October 6, 1892 (aged 83)
Haslemere, Surrey, England
Occupation Poet laureate

Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson, FRS (6 August 1809 – 6 October 1892) was Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom in the Victorian era. He remains one of the most popular poets in the English language.

Tennyson was excellent at writing short lyrics like In the valley of Cauteretz, Break, break, break, The Charge of the Light Brigade, Tears, idle tears and Crossing the Bar. Much of his verse was based on classical mythological themes, although In Memoriam A.H.H. was written to commemorate (remember) his best friend Arthur Hallam, a fellow poet and classmate at Trinity College, Cambridge, who was engaged to Tennyson's sister, but died from a cerebral hemorrhage before they were married. Tennyson also wrote some notable blank verse including Idylls of the King, Ulysses, and Tithonus. During his career, Tennyson attempted drama, but his plays were not very successful.

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