Revolutionary Poet of the Week – Alfred Lord Tennyson

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The Revolutionary Poet of the Week is Alfred Lord Tennyson.

alfred lord tennysonAlfred Lord Tennyson was a poet laureate of the United Kingdom during the reign of Queen Victoria and also one of the most known poets in English Literature. He continued and refined the traditions of Romantic Movement left to him by his predecessors, Wordsworth, Byron and Keats. His poetry was considered remarkable for its metrical variety, rich descriptive imagery and exquisite verbal melodies. His subject matter ranged from medieval legends to classical myths and from domestic situations to observations of nature. He had excelled the art of writing short lyrics which can be evident from his poems like, “In the valley of Cauteretz”, “Break, Break, Break”, “The Charge of the Light Brigade”, “Tears, Idle Tears” and “Crossing the Bar”. One of his noted works include “In Memoriam A.H.H.”, which he wrote to commemorate his best friend Arthur Hallam. His other significant works include “Idylls of the King”, “Ulysses”, and “Tithonus”. Also, many of his phrases have become commonplaces of English Literature today. Some of his most frequently used phrases include “Nature, red in tooth and claw”, “T’is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”, “Knowledge comes, but Wisdom lingers”, “The old order changeth, yielding place to new” and so on. After Shakespeare, Tennyson is the second most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations.

Career and Later Life
While living in London, Tennyson published two volumes of “Poems”. While the first collection had the already published poems, the second collection comprised of entirely new poems. This poem collection included famous poems like, “Locksley Hall”, “Tithonus”, and “Ulysses”. 1850 came as the golden year for Tennyson. He was on the top of his literary career and finally published his dedication to Arthur Hallam, “In Memoriam A.H.H.”. The same year he was appointed as the Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom, succeeding William Wordsworth. He remained on the post of Laureate till his death in 1892. While on the post of Poet Laureate, Tennyson produced various appropriate verses which included, “The Charge of the Light Brigade”, “Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington” and “Ode Sung at the Opening of the International Exhibition”.
Queen Victoria was a fervent admirer of Tennyson’s writings and made him the Baron Tennyson of Aldworth in the County of Sussex and of Freshwater in the Isle of Wight in 1884. He was offered baronetcy earlier as well, in the year 1865 and 1868, but on both occasion, he refused to accept the offer, finally accepting it in the year 1883, at Gladstone’s earnest solicitation. He took his seat in the House of Lords on March 11, 1884. During the last years of his life, Tennyson wrote about his religious beliefs and revealed how he dared convention and also about his leaning towards agnosticism and pandeism. His few famous religious comments include, “There lives more faith in honest doubt, believe me, than in half the creeds” which he wrote in “In Memoriam” and “The churches have killed their Christ” which he wrote in “Maud”, 1855.
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