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Title: Tennyson's Life and Poetry - And Mistakes Concerning Tennyson
Author: Parsons, Eugene
Language: English
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  Tennyson's Life and
  Poetry: and Mistakes
  Concerning Tennyson



  Printed by THE CRAIG PRESS, Chicago.



  INTRODUCTORY NOTE,                       5

  TENNYSON'S LIFE AND POETRY,              8




There is already an extensive Tennyson literature. Of books relating to
the scenes connected with his life and works, are Walters' _In Tennyson
Land_; Brooks' _Out of Doors with Tennyson_; also Church's _Laureate's
Country_, and Napier's _Homes and Haunts of Lord Tennyson_. There is a
mass of material, both critical and biographical, in Shepherd's
_Tennysoniana_; Wace's _Life and Works of Tennyson_; Tainsh's _Study of
the Works of Tennyson_; Jennings' _Sketch of Lord Tennyson_; and Van
Dyke's _Poetry of Tennyson_. Besides these may be mentioned Brightwell's
_Tennyson Concordance_; Irving's _Tennyson_; Lester's _Lord Tennyson and
the Bible_; also Collins' _Illustrations of Tennyson_.

Valuable help for understanding and appreciating _In Memoriam_ is afforded
by the volumes on that poem written by Robertson, Gatty, Genung, Chapman
and Davidson. Much interesting information is given in Dawson's _Study of
"The Princess"_; Mann's _Tennyson's "Maud" Vindicated_; Elsdale's _Studies
in the Idyls_; and Nutt's _Studies on the Legend of the Holy Grail_. A
collection of Tennyson's songs, set to music by various composers, has
been issued by Stanley Lucas and by Harper & Bros.

Several volumes of selections from Tennyson's writings have appeared as
follows: _Ausgewählte Gedichte_, with notes (in German) by Fischer,
Salzwedel, 1878; _Lyrical Poems of Alfred Tennyson_, with notes (in
Italian) by T. C. Cann, Florence, 1887; _Lyrical Poems of Lord Tennyson_,
annotated by F. T. Palgrave; _Select Poems of Tennyson_, and _Young
People's Tennyson_, both edited by W. J. Rolfe; _Tennyson Selections_,
with notes by F. J. Rowe and W. T. Webb; and _Tennyson for the Young_,
edited by Alfred Ainger.

Among school editions of Tennyson's poems, are _The Princess_, with notes
by Rolfe, also by Wallace; _Enoch Arden_, with notes by Rolfe, by Webb,
and by Blaisdel; _Enoch Arden_, with notes (in German) by Hamann,
Leipzig, 1890; _Enoch Arden_, with notes (in French) by Courtois, Paris,
1891; _Enoch Arden_, with notes (in French) by Beljame, Paris, 1891; _Les
Idylles du roi, Enoch Arden_, with notes (in French) by Baret, Paris,
1886; _Enoch Arden, les Idylles du roi_, with notes (in French) by
Sevrette, Paris, 1887; _Aylmer's Field_, annotated by Webb; _The Two
Voices_ and _A Dream of Fair Women_, by Corson; _The Coming of Arthur_ and
_The Passing of Arthur_, by Rowe; _In Memoriam_ and other poems, by

Innumerable papers on Tennyson and his poetry have been published in
newspapers and periodicals. A large number of these reviews and some
descriptive articles are contained in the following volumes: Horne's
_Spirit of the Age_; Howitt's _Homes and Haunts of British Poets_;
Hamilton's _Poets-Laureate of England_; Robertson's _Lectures_; Kingsley's
_Miscellanies_; Bagehot's _Literary Studies_; Japp's _Three Great
Teachers_; Buchanan's _Master Spirits_; Austin's _Poets of the Period_;
Forman's _Our Living Poets_; Friswell's _Modern Men of Letters_; Haweis'
_Poets in the Pulpit_; McCrie's _Religion of Our Literature_; Devey's
_Comparative Estimate of English Poets_; Gladstone's _Gleanings of Past
Years_; Archer's _English Dramatists of To-Day_; Stedman's _Victorian
Poets_; Cooke's _Poets and Problems_; Fraser's _Chaucer to Longfellow_;
Dawson's _Makers of Modern English_; Egan's _Lectures on English
Literature_; and Ritchie's _Light-Bearers_.

For favorable or unfavorable estimates of Tennyson, the reader is referred
to the lectures of Dowden and Ingram in the _Dublin Afternoon Lectures on
Literature and Art_, and to the collected essays of Brimley, Bayne,
Hadley, Masson, Stirling, Roscoe, Hayward, Hutton, Swinburne, Galton,
Noel, Heywood, Bayard Taylor and others.

Some side-lights are thrown on the Laureate in Ruskin's _Modern Painters_;
Hamerton's _Thoughts on Art_; Masson's _Recent British Philosophy_; and
Arnold's _Lectures on Translating Homer_. Stray glimpses of the man in his
personal relations are found in the _Carlyle and Emerson Correspondence_;
Fanny Kemble's _Records of a Girlhood_; Caroline Fox's _Memories of Old
Friends_; Reid's _Life of Lord Houghton_; and in the _Letters and Literary
Remains of Edward Fitzgerald_.

But with all that has been written concerning Tennyson, no monograph, so
far as I am aware, has hitherto appeared which is at once comprehensive
and accurate. Mrs. Ritchie's beautiful portraiture of the Laureate, with
its touch of hero-worship, lacks a great deal of being a survey of his
literary career. No biography of Alfred Tennyson has been published which
is worthy the name. For many years students and lovers of the poet
encountered difficulty in obtaining full and exact information on the
chief events of his life. I undertook to supply this want in the essay
entitled "Tennyson's Life and Poetry."

In the preparation of this paper, I had occasion to consult various
periodicals and works of reference. With scarcely an exception, I found
the articles on Tennyson in cyclopedias and biographical dictionaries
faulty in many particulars. Even the sketches in recent compilations and
journals are full of misleading and conflicting statements. I became
impressed with the thought that these errors ought to be exposed and
corrected. The result was the critique--"Mistakes concerning Tennyson." I
gathered my materials from a variety of sources, and always aimed to
disengage the truth. I depended largely on Rev. Alfred Gatty, Mrs.
Ritchie, Mr. Gosse, Prof. Palgrave, Prof. Church, Mr. C. J. Caswell, and
Dr. Van Dyke as the most trustworthy authorities.

My thanks are due Dr. W. F. Poole, of the Newberry Library, for placing at
my disposal an immense collection of bibliographies, catalogues and
bulletins of foreign books. I desire also to express my obligations to Dr.
Henry van Dyke, of New York City, for aiding me in my researches.


  3612 Stanton Ave., Chicago,
    _April, 1892_.



Alfred Tennyson was born August 6, 1809, in Somersby, a wooded hamlet of
Lincolnshire, England. "The native village of Tennyson," says Howitt, who
visited it many years ago, "is not situated in the fens, but in a pretty
pastoral district of softly sloping hills and large ash trees. It is not
based on bogs, but on a clean sandstone. There is a little glen in the
neighborhood, called by the old monkish name of Holywell." There he was
brought up amid the lovely idyllic scenes which he has made famous in the
"Ode to Memory" and other poems. The picturesque "Glen," with its tangled
underwood and purling brook, was a favorite haunt of the poet in
childhood. On one of the stones in this ravine he inscribed the
words--BYRON IS DEAD--ere he was fifteen.

Alfred was the fourth son of the Rev. George Clayton Tennyson, LL.D.,
rector of Somersby and other neighboring parishes. His father, the oldest
son of George Tennyson, Esq., of Bayons and Usselby Hall, was a man of
uncommon talents and attainments, who had tried his hand, with fair
success, at architecture, painting, music and poetry. His mother was a
sweet, gentle soul, and exceptionally sensitive. The poet-laureate seems
to have inherited from her his refined, shrinking nature.

Dr. Tennyson married Miss Elizabeth Fytche, August 6, 1805. Their first
child, George, died in infancy. According to the parish registers, the
Tennyson family consisted of eleven children, viz.: Frederick, Charles,
Alfred, Mary, Emily, Edward, Arthur, Septimus, Matilda, Cecilia and
Horatio. They formed a joyous, lively household--amusements being
agreeably mingled with their daily tasks. They were all handsome and
gifted, with marked mental traits and imaginative temperaments. They were
especially fond of reading and story-telling. At least four of the boys
were addicted to verse-writing--a habit they kept up through life, though
Alfred alone devoted himself to a poetical career as something more than
a pastime. Frederick Tennyson's occasional pieces are characterized by
luxuriant fancy and chaste diction; the sonnets of Charles won high praise
from Coleridge, but the fame of both has been overshadowed by that of
their distinguished brother.[1]

The scholarly clergyman, who was an M. A. of Cambridge, carefully attended
to the education and training of his children. He turned his gifts and
accomplishments to good account in stimulating their mental growth. Alfred
was sent to the Louth Grammar School four years (1816-20). During this
time he presumably learned something, although no flattering reports of
his progress have come down to us. Then private teachers were employed by
Dr. Tennyson to instruct his boys, but he took upon himself for the most
part the burden of fitting them for college. Only a moderate amount of
study was imposed by the rector. A great deal of the time Alfred was out
of doors, rambling through the pastures and woods about Somersby and Bag
Enderby. He was solitary, not caring to mingle with other boys in their
sports. As a child, he exhibited the same peculiarities which
characterized the man. He was shy and reserved, moody and absent-minded.
Alfred and Charles were devotedly attached to each other, and frequently
were together in their walks. The lads were both large and strong for
their age. Charles was a popular boy in Somersby on account of his frank,
genial disposition--which cannot be said of the reticent Alfred.

One incident connected with the poet's education at home is worth
repeating. His father required him to memorize the odes of Horace and to
recite them morning by morning until the four books were gone through. The
Laureate in later years testified to the value of this practice in
cultivating a delicate sense for metrical music. He called Horace his
master. Certainly no other bard has ever excelled Tennyson in the art of
expressing himself in melodious verse.

From his twelfth to his sixteenth year, Alfred was apparently idle much of
the time, yet he was unconsciously preparing for his life-work. He was
gathering material and storing up impressions which were afterwards
utilized. It was with him a formative period. The hours he spent strolling
in lanes and woods were not wasted. The quiet, meditative boy lived in a
realm of the imagination, and his thoughts and fancies took shape in crude

This period of day-dreaming was followed by one of marked intellectual
activity. The thin volume--_Poems by Two Brothers_, printed in 1826,
contained the pieces written by Alfred when he was only sixteen or
seventeen. It shows that these were busy years. The Tennyson youths not
only scribbled a great deal of verse--they ranged far and wide in the
fields of ancient and modern literature. Their father had a good library,
and they appreciated its treasures. In the footnotes of their first book
were many curious bits of information, and quotations from the classics.

The Tennyson children were fortunate in having cultured parents. They were
favored in another respect. Dr. Tennyson was comfortably well off for a
clergyman. His means--which he shrewdly husbanded--enabled the family to
spend the summers at Mablethorpe on the Lincolnshire coast. Thus Alfred's
passion for the sea was early developed. For some time it was the rector's
custom to occupy a dwelling in Louth during the school year. In this way
the seclusion and monotony of Somersby life were broken. The young
Tennysons saw considerable of the world. They were often welcomed in the
home of their grandmother, Mrs. Fytche, in Westgate Place, and
occasionally visited the stately mansion at Bayons. Especially Charles and
Alfred were at times the guests of their great-uncle Samuel Turner, vicar
of Grasby and curate of Caistor, who afterwards left his property and
parish livings to his favorite, Charles Tennyson Turner. Such were the
experiences of the Laureate's youth and childhood, which inevitably
influenced his whole life and entered into his poetry. He illustrates the
truth that a poet is largely what his environment makes him.

Byron exercised a magical spell over him in his teens, and this influence
is apparent in his boyish rhymes which are tinged with Byronic melancholy.
Afterwards Keats gained the ascendency. As a colorist, Tennyson owes much
to this gorgeous word-painter, whom he has equaled, if not surpassed, in
his own field.

Alfred, in his boyhood, gave unmistakable indications of genius. During
his university course at Cambridge, he was generally looked upon as a
superior mortal, of whom great things were expected by his teachers and
fellow-collegians. Dr. Whewell, his tutor, treated him with unusual

While at Trinity college (1828-31) he formed friendships which lasted till
death ended them one by one. It was indeed a company of choice spirits
with whom Tennyson had the good fortune to be associated. Among them were
Thackeray, Helps, Garden, Sterling, Thompson, Kinglake, Maurice, Kemble,
Milnes, Trench, Alford, Brookfield, Merivale, Spedding and others. Besides
these, he numbered among the friends of his early manhood Fitzgerald,
Hare, Hunt, Carlyle, Gladstone, Rogers, Landor, Forster, the Lushingtons
and other famous scholars and men of letters.

In the companionship of such men, he found the stimulus necessary for the
development of his poetical faculty. They all regarded him with feelings
of warmest admiration.[2] The young poet had at least a few appreciative
readers during the ten or twelve years of obscurity when the public cared
little for his writings. He was encouraged by their words of commendation
to pursue the bard's divine calling, to which he was led by an
overmastering instinct. He could afford to wait and smile at his slashing
reviewers. Meanwhile he profited by the suggestions of his critics. In
this respect he presents a striking contrast to Browning. He mercilessly
subjected his productions to the most painstaking revision.[3] He
attempted various styles, and experimented with all sorts of metres. Thus
he served his laborious apprenticeship and acquired a mastery of his art.
His eminent success has confirmed the expectations of his youthful

During his stay at Cambridge, Tennyson met Arthur Henry Hallam, a son of
the historian. Hallam, who was a young man of extraordinary promise,
became the dearest of his friends--more to him than brother. Their
intimate fellowship was strengthened by Arthur's love for the poet's
sister. It was his strongest earthly attachment. In 1830, the two friends
traveled through France together, and stopped a while in the Pyrenees. On
revisiting these mountains long afterward, the Laureate, overcome by
reminiscences of other days, wrote the affecting lines entitled "In the
Valley of Cauteretz":

  All along the valley, stream that flashest white,
  Deepening thy voice with the deepening of the night,
  All along the valley, where thy waters flow,
  I walk'd with one I loved two and thirty years ago.
  For all along the valley, while I walk'd to-day,
  The two and thirty years were a mist that rolls away;
  For all along the valley, down thy rocky bed,
  Thy living voice to me was as the voice of the dead,
  And all along the valley, by rock and cave and tree,
  The voice of the dead was a living voice to me.

In 1833, the sudden death of Hallam, then Emily's betrothed, produced on
Alfred's mind a deep and ineffaceable impression. While brooding over his
sorrow, the idea came to him of expressing his emotions in verse which
might be a fitting tribute to the dead. At different times and amid widely
varying circumstances, were composed the elegiac strains and poetic
musings that make up "In Memoriam," a poem representing many moods and
experiences. It is a work occupying a place apart in literature. Its
merits and defects are peculiar. There is no other elegy like it, and it
may be doubted whether a second In Memoriam will ever be written. Tennyson
erected an appropriate and imperishable monument to the memory of his lost
friend. In conferring immortality upon his beloved Arthur, he gained it
for himself. His best claim on the future is to be known and remembered as
the author of "In Memoriam," his masterpiece.

Equally enduring is the melodious wail--"Break, break, break," one of the
sweetest dirges in all literature. Hallam was buried (Jan. 3, 1834) at
Clevedon by the Severn, near its entrance to the Bristol Channel, within
sound of the melancholy waves. Singularly this exquisite song, which
breathes of the sea, was not composed here, but "in a Lincolnshire lane at
five o'clock in the morning," as the Laureate himself has declared. It was
written within a year after Hallam's death, Sept. 15, 1833.

Not much has been learned of Tennyson's early manhood. No very definite
picture can be formed of his life after he left college. He seldom wrote
letters. Even his most intimate friends could not succeed in carrying on a
correspondence with him. What happened to him is not, however, all a
blank. A few scraps relating to his history are found in the letters of
Carlyle, Fitzgerald, Milnes and others. A number of autobiographical
fragments are sprinkled through the poems which he wrote between 1830 and
1850, but they refer more to his spiritual development than to the outward
events which constitute memoirs.

Mrs. Tennyson and her family continued to live at the Rectory after her
husband died, March 16, 1831. In the autumn of 1835, she removed to High
Beach, Epping Forest, ("In Memoriam," CII., CIV., CV.), and about 1840 to
Well Walk, Hampstead. Here she made her home the rest of her life with her
sister, Mary Ann Fytche--nearly all of her sons and daughters having
married and scattered. She died February 21, 1865, at the age of

Alfred's university career was cut short by his father's death. For some
years he remained at home--a diligent student of books and a close
observer of nature. He roamed back and forth between Somersby and London,
alternately in solitude and with his friends.[4] Fitzgerald tells of his
visiting with Tennyson at the Cumberland home of James Spedding in 1835.

Here Alfred would spend hour after hour reading aloud "Morte d'Arthur" and
other unpublished poems, which his scholarly friend criticized. In 1838,
he was a welcome member of the Anonymous Club in London, and for several
years he had rooms in this city at various intervals.[5] It was his custom
to make long incursions through the country on foot, studying the
landscapes of England and Wales and pondering many a lay unsung. Thus he
became familiar with the natural features of the places illustrated in his
poems with such pictorial fidelity and vividness, though not with
photographic accuracy.

Through this long period he was unknown to the great world. He lived
modestly, though not in actual want. His books brought him no substantial
returns till long after 1842. There was but little left of his patrimony,
if any, when he was granted a pension of £200 in 1845. This timely aid was
obtained for him by Sir Robert Peel, chiefly through the influence of
Carlyle and Milnes.

Henceforth fortune graciously smiled upon him and made amends for past
neglect. His reputation was becoming well established, and new editions of
his poems were being called for. The Queen chanced to pick up one of his
earlier volumes, and was charmed with the simple story of "The Miller's
Daughter." She procured a copy of the book for the Princess Alice; this
incident, it is related, brought him into favor with the aristocracy and
gave a tremendous impetus to his popularity. After the death of Wordsworth
in 1850, Tennyson was appointed Poet Laureate. Since then he has been
highly esteemed by the royal family, and has produced in their honor some
spirited odes and stately dedications.

The poet married (June 13, 1850) Miss Emily Sellwood, of Horncastle, whom
he had known from childhood. Her mother was a sister of Sir John Franklin,
and her youngest sister was the wife of Charles Tennyson Turner. Two or
three years they lived at Twickenham, where Hallam Tennyson was born in
1852. Together they visited Italy in 1851, and vivid memories of their
travels are recalled in "The Daisy," addressed to his wife. This
interesting poem, written at Edinburgh, was suggested by the finding of a
daisy in a book--the flower having been plucked on the Splugen and placed
by Mrs. Tennyson between the leaves of a little volume as a memento of
their Italian journey. The poet's fancy was stirred and revived the
delicious hours--

  In lands of palm and southern pine;
    In lands of palm, of orange blossom,
  Of olive, aloe, and maize and vine.

Those who are familiar with Tennyson's poems know how exalted is his ideal
of woman as wife and mother. Lady Tennyson seems to have met the poet's
exacting requirements almost perfectly. What sort of helpmeet she has been
he lovingly portrayed in the "Dedication,"--a tender tribute that was
fully deserved. "His most lady-like, gentle wife," Fitzgerald called her.
Of superior education and talent, she was a worthy companion for an
author. A number of her husband's songs she has set to music. She has
never sought public recognition. Content with the round of duties in a
domestic sphere, she has lived for husband and children. Their married
life has been exceptionally harmonious.[6]

In 1852, the Laureate's largely increasing income enabled him to purchase
an estate of more than four hundred acres near Freshwater, Isle of Wight.
In the lines, "To the Rev. F. D. Maurice," dated January,[7] 1854, the
poet depicts his pleasant life in this delightful retreat:

  Where, far from noise and smoke of town,
  I watch the twilight falling brown
    All round a careless-order'd garden
  Close to the ridge of a noble down.

  You'll have no scandal while you dine,
  But honest talk and wholesome wine,
    And only hear the magpie gossip
  Garrulous under a roof of pine:

  For groves of pine on either hand,
  To break the blast of winter, stand;
    And further on, the hoary Channel
  Tumbles a breaker on chalk and sand.

In 1855, Tennyson received the honorary degree of D. C. L. from
Oxford.[8] His prosperity continued--there being considerable profits from
judicious investments and immense sales of his books. In 1867, he bought
an estate near Haslemere, Surrey, "for the purpose of enjoying inland air
and scenery." Here he built a fine Gothic mansion, which is an ideal
residence for a poet. Aldworth House is situated far up on Blackdown
Heath, and overlooks a lovely valley. It is near the northern border of
Sussex. "The prospect from the terrace of the house," says Church, "is one
of the finest in the south of England." The poet thus pictures the place
which has been his summer home for more than twenty years:

  Our birches yellowing and from each
    The light leaf falling fast,
  While squirrels from our fiery beech
    Were bearing off the mast,
  You came, and look'd, and loved the view
    Long-known and loved by me,
  Green Sussex fading into blue
    With one gray glimpse of sea.

In 1883, the Laureate had amassed property estimated to be worth £200,000.
He was offered and accepted a peerage during the latter part of this year,
and became Baron of Aldworth and Farringford, January 24, 1884. He took
his seat in the House of Lords March 11. In 1865, he declined a baronetcy
offered by the Queen as a reward for his loyal devotion to the Crown.
Whatever distinction may attach to the honorable name of Lord Tennyson,
the majority of his numerous readers prefer to call him plain Alfred

It may not be widely known that Baron Tennyson has a splendid lineage, of
which he has modestly kept silent, unlike Byron. According to a writer in
the _St. James' Gazette_, who traced his ancestry back to Norman times,
Tennyson is descended from an illustrious house of "princes, soldiers, and
statesmen, famous in British or European history." Some of his remote
relatives were crowned heads--one being the celebrated Malcolm III. of
Scotland. In Tennyson's descent "two lines are blended," says Church, "the
middle class line of the Tennysons, and the noble and even royal line of
the D'Eyncourts."[9]

Alfred's uncle, the Right Hon. Charles Tennyson-D'Eyncourt of Bayons Manor
in Lincolnshire, was a man of marked ability and culture, who held
various public offices, and represented several boroughs in parliament
from 1818 to 1852. Since his death, in 1861, the family estate has
successively passed to his three sons--George Hildyard, Admiral Edwin
Clayton, C. B. (1871), and Louis Charles (1890), the present inheritor of
the D'Eyncourt seat and dignity.

The poet's last years have been clouded by the bereavement of many old
friends and relatives. Septimus, Charles,[10] Mary,[11] Emily,[12] and
Edward are dead. He suffered a severe blow in the death of his second son
Lionel, while on the homeward voyage from India.[13] He mourns his loss in
the touching stanzas--"To the Marquis of Dufferin and Ava."

Lord Tennyson was the recipient of many congratulations on the occasion of
his eightieth birthday, August 6, 1889. The same year was marked by the
publication of a new volume of poems, which attest that his intellectual
vigor is unimpaired by age or bodily weakness. A dainty little poem of
his--"To Sleep"--was published in the _New Review_ for March, 1891, and it
is not improbable that others will see the light in the near future.

Tennyson's health, though quite robust for an octogenarian, has been
broken of late. In the spring of 1890, he was troubled with a grievous
illness, the result of exposure to cold--he having persisted in taking his
"daily two hours' walk along the cliff" in all kinds of weather. It was
expected that the poet would spend the following winter in the South to
avoid the rigorous climate of the Isle of Wight, but he recovered
sufficient strength to remain at Farringford House amid the scenes he
loves so well.

Tennyson has always shunned publicity, living in a world apart--removed
from the gaze of the profane crowd. He rarely goes into society,
preferring rural retirement to social converse. As poet and man, he has
gained by this voluntary seclusion. His delight is to mingle with the
world of nature. The woods and skies, the streams and billows have been
his comrades. How much they have contributed to his poetic greatness
cannot be estimated. He is, however, a recluse with his eyes open. He has
watched the progress of mankind and observed the trend of the times.
Realizing the needs of the age, he grandly rose to the occasion--either to
lift up his voice in protest against its faults, or to sing its

For many years no strangers have been admitted to Farringford Park.
Visitors, while welcome at Aldworth in the afternoon, have not been
allowed to interrupt the accustomed occupations of the master of the
house, who is very methodical in his habits. It has long been his custom
to rise early and spend the morning hours in his study--writing and
dreaming in an atmosphere laden with smoke and the odor of tobacco. He now
uses the pen but little, owing to failing eyesight. The Honorable Hallam
Tennyson is his secretary and constant companion.

Personally, his lordship is a man who would attract attention anywhere,
with his stalwart form slightly stooping, his noble face, his long flowing
hair and bushy beard. He dresses carelessly, and when out of doors wears a
shocking bad hat; with his cloak and walking-stick, he makes a picturesque
figure. He is a confirmed pedestrian. "Every morning," says a newspaper
correspondent, "in hail, rain or snow, the poet dons his frouzy cap and
his frouzier slouch hat, and promenades for an hour or so, none daring to
disturb him."

Tennyson is taciturn and brusque before strangers, whose presence annoys
him, but he is delightfully easy and spontaneous with friends. Edward
Fitzgerald, in his letters to Frederick Tennyson and others, alludes again
and again, in terms of enthusiastic appreciation, to Alfred's wise and
pointed conversation. One of his original "sayings, which strike the nail
on the head," was about Dante. It is well worth quoting in Fitzgerald's
concise language, taken from a letter written in 1876:

"What Mr. Lowell says of him recalled to me what Tennyson said to me some
thirty-five or forty years ago. We were stopping before a shop in Regent
street where were two figures of Dante and Goethe. I (I suppose) said,
'What is there in old Dante's face that is missing in Goethe's?' And
Tennyson (whose profile then had certainly a remarkable likeness to
Dante's) said: 'The divine.'"

From first to last Alfred Tennyson has recognized that the mission of the
poet is that of an æsthetic teacher. Much has he done to educate
English-speaking people in the appreciation of beauty. But he is
emphatically more than this. A man of stainless reputation, his deeds and
words have almost invariably been on the side of righteousness. His career
has been free from the excesses which disgraced the lives of Marlowe and
Shelley, of Byron and Poe. He is rather to be ranged with the Spensers and
Miltons, the Wordsworths and Brownings, as a defender of truth and
religion. In the main he has steadfastly kept in mind the austere ideal--

                        Of those who, far aloof
  From envy, hate and pity, and spite and scorn,
  Live the great life which all our greatest fain
  Would follow, center'd in eternal calm.


The current of Tennyson's genius is like a rivulet placidly flowing
through meadows and groves, occasionally rippling and swirling over
stones, then pursuing its even course--gradually widening and deepening;
not like a mighty river proudly sweeping in a resistless flood through a
wilderness, or tumbling down rocky chasms. All that he has given the world
during sixty years of literary activity is contained in less than a dozen
volumes of verse. Only a rapid survey of his poetical career is attempted

Passing by without comment _Poems by two Brothers_ (1826), "The Lover's
Tale" (composed about 1828), and "Timbuctoo" (1829), we come to Tennyson's
first bid for fame in _Poems, chiefly Lyrical_ (1830). This slender volume
included (along with much rubbish) a few pieces which are perennial
favorites with lovers of Tennyson, viz.: "Mariana," "Recollections of the
Arabian Nights," "The Dying Swan," "A Dirge," "Love and Death," and
"Circumstance." Among the poems suppressed in later editions is one in an
unusual vein--"Nero to Leander"--which Emerson inserted in his

His second book of _Poems_ (1833) was a more ambitious venture. Its
contents, though marred by faults of crude taste, possessed in a marked
degree, the characteristic qualities of the Laureate's poetry. Nearly all
of the lyrics in it have been found worthy of a permanent place in the
collected editions of his poems, but most of them underwent countless
changes before they were republished in 1842--being corrected and polished
till they were well-nigh perfect from a critical standpoint.

The two volumes of _Poems_ (1842) revealed Tennyson at his best--a mature
singer whose dignified, harmonious verse compares favorably with the most
splendid contributions to British poetry. "The Princess" (1847), "In
Memoriam" (1850), and "Maud" (1855) made his position secure as the
greatest of living poets.

Not satisfied to rest content as a lyrist, Tennyson essayed extended
narrative in _Idyls of the King_ (1859) and "Enoch Arden" (1864). Gaining
courage from the enthusiastic reception of the four Arthurian idyls, he
undertook to carry out a long cherished design--which Milton and Dryden
had conceived--of writing a national epic on King Arthur. He had already
made several attempts at versifying incidents from the _Mabinogion_ and
Malory's old romance _Morte d' Arthur_, but they were isolated fragments.
From time to time he added others, making the series of tales called the
Round Table a complete cycle as follows:

The Coming of Arthur, 1869; Gareth and Lynette, 1872; Geraint and Enid,
1859; Balin and Balan, 1885; Merlin and Vivien, 1859; Lancelot and Elaine,
1859; The Holy Grail, 1869; Pelleas and Ettarre, 1869; The Last
Tournament, 1871; Guinevere, 1859; The Passing of Arthur, 1842, 1869.

Then boldly entering the dangerous field of historical drama, Tennyson
became a rival of Shakspeare himself in "Queen Mary"[14] (1875), "Harold"
(1876), and "Becket" (1884). Besides these, he brought forth three shorter
plays or dramatic sketches--"The Cup"[15] (1884), "The Falcon"[16] (1884),
"The Promise of May"[17] (1886), and a lengthy idyllic drama called "The
Foresters"[18] (1892).

As if to prove that his fertility was not exhausted in the province of the
lyric, he made fresh incursions into fields of song long familiar to him.
These winnowings of the last two decades are gathered into the following

_Ballads, and Other Poems_ (1880); _Tiresias, and Other Poems_ (1885);
_Locksley Hall Sixty Years After, etc._ (1886); _Demeter, and Other Poems_

Enough books have been named to give at least half a dozen minstrels a
firm footing on Parnassus. The number of Tennyson's meritorious
performances is simply astonishing. But few poets have wrought with such
unwearying patience. Not many can present as imposing a catalogue of works
that are confessedly of such a high order of excellence. Browning has
written more, but Browning has not taken the trouble to perfect himself in
form--in short, he is not a finished artist. In literary workmanship,
Tennyson stands supreme. It is universally admitted that none of his
contemporaries ranks so high as man of letters. He is the brightest
ornament of the Victorian reign.

Without doubt the Laureate deserves his hard-won glory. In his hale old
age, he has disarmed the critics of years ago who sneered at his empty
lays and feminine ways. The question--_Cui bono?_ could be asked as to
many of Tennyson's earlier efforts, such as "Oriana," "The Lady of
Shalott," "Audley Court," "Edwin Morris," "Amphion," "Lady Clare," "The
Lord of Burleigh," "The Beggar Maid" and others. These lyrics and idyls
are made up of ornate commonplaces which show the artistic instinct rather
than the poetic. They abound with the ephemeral conceits of drawing-room
poetry. They contain nothing that resembles vivacity or sublimity. They
have not the interest which is general and universal as distinguished from
the private or the unusual. They are not representative of human nature,
but of individual peculiarities. They are ideal pictures, not transcripts
from experience.

With a few exceptions, the minor poems published in 1855 and 1864 are of
similar character; and it may be said that "The Princess," "Maud," "Enoch
Arden," and most of the Arthurian stories are in much the same vein. None
of these works, when viewed as an organic whole, can be called great. In
all of them, manliness is at a discount, and there is withal a dearth of
ideas. Sentiment and ornament are overdone, and there is not enough of
life. They can be described as a chaos of pretty fancies and idle
reveries. Such are not the strains that shape a nation's destiny and are
treasured in its heart. In the centuries agone, such a songster would have
been a first-class troubadour, much sought and praised in princely

But former estimates of Tennyson must be revised. The slurs at the
euphonious jingler and effeminate Alfred are in place no more. He has
abandoned the domain of the legendary and the fantastic. Romance has given
way to history, and dreams to reality. Sensuous effects are now
subordinate. His verse no longer cloys with sweetness. It is simple,
natural, impassioned.

"Queen Mary" and "Becket" certainly rank foremost among the few powerful
plays that have appeared since Shelley wrote "The Cenci." There are some
Bulwer-Lyttonish passages in "Becket," but they are more than redeemed by
the imperial magnificence of other passages in the same tragedy. The
ballads and other lyrics published within the last dozen years display a
rugged virility that was quite foreign to the labored "Idyls of the King."
"Rizpah" and "The Revenge" have the ring of genuine metal. There is no
hollow sound in the manly tributes to E. Fitzgerald and to his ancient
Mantuan master. The introspective poet of "The Two Voices" has grown to
fuller intellectual stature in "The Ancient Sage." The music and majesty
of "Tiresias" and "Demeter" are unsurpassed in "Ulysses" and "Tithonus."
"Romney's Remorse" excels "Sea Dreams" in portraying the better instincts
of humanity on the domestic side, and its tender lullaby--"Beat upon mine,
little heart!"--almost equals the incomparable "Sweet and low." While
"Vastness" and "Crossing the Bar" repeat the lyrical triumphs of his
palmiest days.

Time has dealt gently with the venerable harper, whose hands sweep the
strings with surer touch and greater compass than before. Age has brought
more forceful speech and clearer vision. Some of his senile efforts betray
less of conscious effort, as though long practice in using metrical
language as a vehicle of thought and imagery had made it a pure mirror of
the poet's mind. His worn-out mannerisms appear occasionally, also his
subtleties of expression and feeling. There is the same imaginative
sorcery as of old, and the same consummate style, but the studied elegance
and artful devices of earlier productions are less noticeable. There is
less of minute finish in form and more of epic grandeur in tone and
spirit. A healthier inspiration has visited him in the evening of life.
His genius has gradually ripened. The full cup of advanced years was
needed to bring out what was best in him, to effect his complete

Since the hysterical explosion of "Locksley Hall Sixty Years After," the
Laureate seems to have attained the calmness of soul which belongs to the
true poetical spirit. He is no longer the fretful author of "The New
Timon," "The Spiteful Letter," and "Literary Squabbles," who lacked the
restraint of entire self-possession. A more serious tone pervades the
personal poems--"To Ulysses," "To Mary Boyle" and others in his 1889
volume. A wiser man wrote the stately measures of "Happy" and "By an
Evolutionist," one who looked down upon past follies from spiritual
heights never before reached. There is a touch of Miltonic loftiness in
his "Parnassus," and the philosophic resignation of Goethe in "The
Progress of Spring." His is the tranquil, fruitful old age that crowns a
well ordered career.



"Alfred Tennyson was born August 5, 1809, at Somersby, a hamlet in
Lincolnshire, England, of which, and of a neighboring parish, his father,
Dr. George Clayton Tennyson, was rector. The poet's mother was Elizabeth,
daughter of the Rev. Stephen Fytche, vicar of Louth. Alfred was the third
of seven sons--Frederick, Charles, Alfred, Edward, Horatio, Arthur, and
Septimus. A daughter, Cecilia, became the wife of Edmund Law Lushington,
long professor of Greek in Glasgow University. Whether there were other
daughters, the biographies of the poet do not mention."

This is the opening paragraph of the Introduction to a school edition of
"The Two Voices" and "A Dream of Fair Women," by Dr. Hiram Corson. Here
are several inaccuracies as to the Tennyson family and the poet's
birthday, and the same mistakes and others are found in nearly all the
sketches of the Laureate in periodicals and works of reference.

It is generally supposed that cyclopedia articles are prepared by
specialists who know what they are writing about. This is the popular
conception, but this is evidently not the case in regard to Tennyson, who
has fared sadly at the hands of his biographers. The brief accounts of his
life given in Appleton's, the Americanized Britannica, and other
cyclopedias fairly bristle with blunders and objectionable features. As
they stand, most of these articles are utterly untrustworthy. Their
assertions are often misleading, or so vague as to be practically
valueless. As a result, most people are more or less at sea in regard to
Tennyson chronology.


A multitude of errors have been perpetrated about Dr. Tennyson and family.
We are told that Bayons Manor was his native place,[19] and that he was
"rector of Somersby and vicar of Bennington and Grimsby."[20] One writer
uncritically imagines him a doctor of divinity.[21] According to some
questionable authorities, he died "about 1830;"[22] "in 1830;"[23] "about
1831;"[24] "on the 18th of March, 1831;"[25] and in 1832.[26] Mrs.
Tennyson is said to have died "in her eighty-first year;"[27] also "in her
eighty-fourth year."[28]

The number of sons and daughters in the Tennyson household is rarely given
correctly. Alfred is called, in a hit-or-miss fashion, one of three, four,
six, seven and eight brothers. His sisters are variously reckoned as one,
three, four and five.

The Rev. George Clayton Tennyson was born at Market Rasen, December 10,
1778. He graduated at St. John's College, Cambridge, in 1801; he received
the degree of M. A. in 1805, and of LL.D. in 1813. He married (August 6,
1805) Miss Elizabeth Fytche of Louth. He moved to Somersby in 1808, where
he was rector till his death. If the inscription on his tomb is to be
trusted, Dr. Tennyson was rector of two neighboring parishes--Benniworth
and Bag Enderby--and was vicar of Great Grimsby;[29] and died March 16,
1831. The poet's mother died February 21, 1865, in her eighty-fifth year.

Alfred Tennyson was the fourth of eight sons--George (who died in
infancy), Frederick, Charles, Alfred, Edward, Arthur, Septimus, and
Horatio. The sisters were Mary, Emily, Matilda, and Cecilia. Excepting
George and Frederick, all of the children were born at Somersby.


The discussion as to the poet's birthday is now practically at rest--his
lordship himself having authoritatively settled the matter. Would that he
would enlighten us on some other perplexing points in his history! Mrs.
Tennyson kept August 6 as Alfred's birthday. Tourists who have hastily
examined the parish registers of Somersby have mistaken the figure 6 for a
5, owing to the fading of the ink "at the back, or left, of the loop."[30]
But careless hackwriters, depending upon the compilations published
decades ago, continue to assert that the Laureate was born August 5;[31]
April 9,[32] or April 6.[33]


In Welsh's _English Literature_ is a "biography" of Tennyson which says,
amid various other slips, that he was born in 1810. Allibone's _Dictionary
of Authors_ (p. 2371) is a year out of the way. When this ponderous work
was first published, not much was definitely known of the poet, but
Alden's _Cyclopedia of Literature_ (1890), and other unreliable
authorities put 1810 or 1811 as the year of his birth.

In the parish registers of Somersby, Dr. Tennyson's handwriting records
Alfred's birth and baptism among the entries of 1809. Here is an instance
where one can put to flight a host--for the names of those who assign 1810
as the year of the poet's birth are legion.[34]


There is a want of precision in many of the statements that have been made
by Tennyson's biographers concerning his school days. In the _Encyclopedia
Americana_ (1889), vol. iv., p. 660, Dr. C. E. Washburn says Alfred
"attended for a time Cadney's village school, and for a brief period the
grammar-school at Louth,"--which is partly true, but curiously
misrepresents the matter. He was a pupil in Louth Grammar School four
years (1816-20)--not a very "brief period." Howitt and others make the
length of time "two or three years," and some have the mistaken impression
that he passed some time in Cadney's school before he went to Louth.
Cadney came to Somersby about 1820, and, in the autumn of the next year,
he instructed the Tennyson boys in arithmetic at the rectory. Cook
erroneously supposes that Charles and Alfred were at Louth in 1827.[35]

There has been considerable guessing as to the time when Tennyson went to
Cambridge. He is said to have entered Trinity College in 1826;[36] in
1827;[37] about 1827;[38] in 1829;[39] and "early in 1829."[40] There is
no occasion for such indefiniteness. To be exact, Alfred became a student
of Trinity in October, 1828.[41] He left college without graduating, at
the time of his father's death. His brothers, Frederick and Charles,
finished the course in 1832.


The cyclopedias also present numerous examples of coincidences as well as
variations--some of the incorrect details being repeated almost verbatim,
as though successive compilers had copied over and over the mistakes of
their superficial predecessors. This ought not to go on forever.

The sketches of Tennyson in Lippincott's _Biographical Dictionary_ (1885)
and in the _Americanized Britannica_ (1890) may be taken as samples. In
the following sentence from Lippincott's the writer manages to make five
or six misstatements:

"In 1851 he succeeded Wordsworth as poet-laureate, and about the same time
he married, and retired to Faringford, in the Isle of Wight, where he
resided until 1869, when he removed to Petersfield, Hampshire."

In the biographical supplement of the _Americanized Britannica_, this
becomes two or three sentences, viz.:

"He was made poet-laureate in 1851. It was about this time, too, that
Tennyson married, returning to Faringford, in the Isle of Wight, where he
lived until 1869.... It was in this year the poet moved from the Isle of
Wight and took up his residence in Petersfield, Hampshire."

There are similar passages in Appleton's and Johnson's cyclopedias. It is
perfectly plain that there was not much independent investigation in these
unscholarly performances.


Mistake No. 1: Tennyson received the Laureateship in 1850, the year of
Wordsworth's death. Mistake No. 2: he was married June 13, 1850. Mistake
No. 3: Farringford is misspelled. Mistake No. 4: Tennyson lived at
Twickenham three years after his marriage. Mistake No. 5: in 1853, he
first took possession of Farringford, which is still his winter residence.
Mistake No. 6: in 1867, the poet built a house near Haslemere in
Surrey--not at Petersfield, Hampshire--where he spends the summer months.
According to Prof. Church, the Laureate bought the Aldworth estate in
1872. The latter date is manifestly wrong.[42]

The story of Tennyson's Petersfield establishment may be classed as a
myth, though supported by several monuments of research called

Nothing is said of a Hampshire home in Jennings' _Life of Tennyson_, in
Church's _Laureate's Country_, or in Van Dyke's admirable book on the
_Poetry of Tennyson_; no reference to it is found in the essays on
Tennyson by Mr. Edmund Gosse and Mrs. Anne Thackeray Ritchie. Nor is Lord
Tennyson's name found in the list of land owners of Hampshire, in
Walford's _County Families of the United Kingdom_. One is puzzled to
understand how such a report started.


It is rather surprising to read in the _People's Cyclopedia_, Johnson's,
Lippincott's and elsewhere, that Tennyson was raised to the peerage in
1883 as "Baron d'Eyncourt," etc. This he cannot properly be called,
though a descendant from the ancient house of D'Eyncourt--which long ago
ceased to be a barony. The pedigree of Alfred's grandfather, who belonged
to the Lincolnshire gentry, is traced through ten generations to Edmund,
Duke of Somerset, and two centuries further back to Edward III.'s fourth
son, John of Gaunt. Dr. Tennyson died in the lifetime of his father, and
the D'Eyncourt seat and dignity passed to his younger brother Charles. The
poet's cousin Louis Charles is the present possessor of the family estate
at Bayons. England's noble Laureate (according to Burke's _Peerage_, ed.
of 1888, p. 1361) was created a peer of the realm Jan. 24, 1884, with the
new title--Baron of Aldworth, Surrey, and of Farringford, Isle of Wight.
He took his seat in the House of Lords, Mar. 11, 1884.[44]


A common mistake is that of locating Aldworth in Sussex. Mr. Frederick
Dolman, in the _Ladies' Home Journal_ (August, 1891), carelessly speaks of
"the poet's residences in the fair Isle and sunny Sussex." According to
Murray's _Handbook for Surrey_ (ed. of 1888, p. 182), and other excellent
authorities,[45] Aldworth is in the county of Surrey--not far from the
northern borders of Sussex. In Walford's _County Families of the United
Kingdom_, p. 1203, Lord Tennyson's name occurs among the land owners of
Surrey--not with those of Sussex.

Somersby and Somerby have been mixed by many people who are not familiar
with English geography. The latter village is in the western part of
Lincolnshire, near Grantham--a considerable distance from Alfred
Tennyson's birthplace. Duyckinck, in his _Eminent Men and Women_,
recklessly says he was born at "Somerby, a small parish in

If Europeans are guilty of crass ignorance of the United States, Americans
too are open to criticism for their hazy notions of foreign places. An
inexcusable blunder is that in Phillips' _Popular Manual of English
Literature_, vol. II., p. 497, where Blackdown is loosely referred to as
"a hill in the vicinity of Petersfield, Hampshire." Another writer is
remiss in accepting statements implicitly and without question. A footnote
in Kellogg's school edition of "In Memoriam," p. 23, says "Hallam was
buried in Cleveland Church on the Severn, which empties into British
Channel." If he had looked up the town for himself on the map of England,
he would have discovered that Clevedon, the birthplace of Hallam, is
situated on the bank of the Severn near its entrance to the Bristol


It is not my purpose to enumerate all the errors that I have come across
in my reading relating to Tennyson and his works. For the sake of brevity,
I merely correct a few of them without giving full particulars in every
case. Tennyson first visited the Pyrenees in 1830--not in 1831; the second
visit was in 1862. He received the degree of D. C. L. in 1855--not in
1859. His son Hallam was born at Twickenham, Aug. 11, 1852; Lionel, at
Freshwater, Mar. 16, 1854.

Tennyson did not write "Break, break, break" at Clevedon or Freshwater.
The intercalary lyrics of "The Princess" were first published in the third
edition--not in the second. The plot of "The Cup" is taken from Plutarch's
treatise _De Mulierum Virtutibus_; this work has been confused by Archer
and Jennings with Boccaccio's _De Claris Mulieribus_.

Many unpardonable mistakes have been made in dating Tennyson's published
writings, also in wording and punctuating their titles. It has been said
that "The Princess" first appeared in print in 1846 and 1849; "In
Memoriam," in 1849 and 1851; "Idyls of the King," in 1855, 1858, and 1861;
"Enoch Arden," in 1865; "The Holy Grail, and Other Poems," in 1867 and
1870; "Harold," in 1877; "Becket," in 1879 and 1885; "Tiresias, and Other
Poems," in 1886; and "Demeter, and Other Poems," in 1890. In Hart's
_Manual of English Literature_, one of Tennyson's poems is named "The
Vision of Art," and a recent German cyclopedia makes him the author of
"Tristam and Iseult." A newspaper account of the sale of Tennysoniana in
London contains the queer bit of misinformation that _Poems by Two
Brothers_ "was published by Louth in 1826." These slips could have been
easily avoided. The mystery hanging about the Laureate's life does not
involve his works.

It is believed that the following list, which has been carefully
verified, is correct both as to the titles and the dates of first
publication of all of Tennyson's books, viz:

  Poems by Two Brothers         1826 (dated 1827)
  Poems, chiefly Lyrical                     1830
  Poems                         1832 (dated 1833)
  Poems, 2 vols.                             1842
  The Princess                               1847
  In Memoriam                                1850
  Maud, and Other Poems                      1855
  Idyls of the King                          1859
  Enoch Arden, etc.                          1864
  The Holy Grail, and Other Poems            1869
  Gareth and Lynette, etc.                   1872
  Queen Mary                                 1875
  Harold                                     1876
  The Lover's Tale                           1879
  Ballads, and Other Poems                   1880
  The Cup and The Falcon                     1884
  Becket                                     1884
  Tiresias, and Other Poems                  1885
  Locksley Hall Sixty Years After, etc.      1886
  Demeter, and Other Poems                   1889
  The Foresters                              1892



_Gedichte_: üb. von W. Hertzberg. Dessau, 1853. Dresden, 1868.

_Ausgewählte Dichtungen_: üb. von A. Strodtmann (Bibliothek Klassiker in
deutscher Uebertragung. Leipzig, 1865-70).

_Ausgewählte Dichtungen_: üb. von H. A. Feldmann. Hamburg, 1870. (Bib.
ausl. Klassiker).

_Ausgewählte Gedichte_: üb. von M. Rugard. Elbing, 1872.

_In Memoriam_: Aus dem Engl. nach der 5. Aufl. Braunschweig, 1854.

_Freundes-Klage._ Nach "In Memoriam," frei übertragen von R.
Waldmüller-Duboc. Hamburg, 1870.

_In Memoriam_: üb. von Agnes von Bohlen. Berlin, 1874.

_Maud_: üb. von F. W. Weber. Paderborn, 1891.

_Königsidyllen_: üb. von W. Scholz. Berlin, 1867.

_Königsidyllen_: üb. von H. A. Feldmann. Hamburg, 1872.

_Königsidyllen_: üb. von C. Weiser (vols. 1817, 1818 Universal-Bibliothek,
Leipzig, 1883-6).

_Enoch Arden_: üb. von R. Schellwien. Quedlinburg, 1867.

_Enoch Arden_: üb. von R. Waldmüller-Duboc. Hamburg, 1868-70.

_Enoch Arden_: üb. von F. W. Weber. Leipzig, 1869.

_Enoch Arden_ und _Godiva_: üb. von H. A. Feldmann. Hamburg, 1870.

_Enoch Arden_: üb. von C. Hessel. Leipzig, 1874. (490 in

_Enoch Arden_: üb. von A. Strodtmann. Berlin, 1876.

_Enoch Arden_: üb. von C. Eichholz. Hamburg, 1881.

_Enoch Arden_: üb. von H. Griebenow. Halle, 1889. (Bib. der

_Enoch Arden_: frei bearbeitet für die Jugend. Leipzig, 1888.

_Aylmers Feld_: üb. von F. W. Weber. Leipzig, 1869.

_Aylmers Feld_: üb. von H. A. Feldmann. Ebend, 1870.

_Harald_: üb. von Albr. Graf Wickenburg. Hamburg, 1879.

_Locksley Hall_: üb. von F. Freiligrath--_Locksley Hall sechzig Jahre
später_: üb. von J. Feis. Hamburg, 1888.

_Locksley Hall sechzig Jahre später_: üb von K. B. Esmarch. Gotha, 1888.


_The Miller's Daughter._ Freely tr. by A. J. de Bull. Utrecht, 1859.

_Vier Idyllen van Konig Arthur._ Amsterdam, 1883.

_Enoch Arden._ Tr. by S. J. van den Bergh. Rotterdam, 1869.

_Enoch Arden._ Tr. by J. L. Wertheim. Amsterdam, 1882.


_The May Queen._ Tr. by L. Falck. Christiania, 1855.

_Anna og Locksley Slot._ Oversat af A. Hansen. 1872.

_Idyller om Kong Arthur._ Ov. af A. Munch. 1876.

_Enoch Arden._ Tr. by A. Munch. Copenhagen, 1866.

_Sea Dreams_ and _Aylmer's Field_. Tr. by F. L. Mynster. 1877.


_Konung Arthur och hans riddare._ Romantish diktcykel. Upsala, 1876.

_Elaine._ Endikt. Tr. by A. Hjelmstjerna. 1877.


_Les Idylles du Roi._ Enide, Viviane, Elaine, Genievre. Trad. par F.
Michel. 1869.

_Enoch Arden._ Trad. par M. de La Rive. 1870.

_Enoch Arden._ Trad. par X. Marmier. 1887.

_Enoch Arden._ Trad. par M. l'abbé R. Courtois. 2e edition. 1890.

_Enoch Arden._ Trad. par E. Duglin. 1890.

_Idylles et Poèmes_: _Enoch Arden_: _Locksley Hall_. Traduits en vers
français par A. Buisson du Berger. 1888.


_Enid_ and _Elaine_. Tr. by L. Gisbert. 1875.

_Poemes de Alfredo Tennyson_--_Enoch Arden_, _Gareth y Lynette_, _Merlin y
Bibiana_, etc. Tr. by D. Vicente de Arana. Barcelona, 1883.


_Idilli, Liriche, Mite e Leggende, Enoc Arden._ Tr. by C. Faccioli.
Verona, 1876.

_Tommaso Crammero e Maria e Filippo._[47] Tr. by C. Faccioli. Verona,

_Il Primo Diverbio._[48] Tr. by E. Castelnuovo. Venice, 1886.

_La Prima Lite._[48] Tr. by P. T. Pavolini. Bologna, 1888.


_In Memoriam._ Tr. into Elegiac verse by O. A. Smith. 1866.

_Enoch Arden_: Poema Tennysonianum Latine Redditum W. Selwyn. London,

_Horæ Tennysonianæ_: sive Eclogæ e Tennysono Latine Redditæ A. J. Church.
London and Cambridge, 1870.


[1] Three volumes of verse by Frederick Tennyson have appeared, viz.:
_Days and Hours_ (1854); _Isles of Greece; Sappho and Alcæus_ (1890);
_Daphne, and Other Poems_ (1801). The published works of Charles Turner
are as follows: _Sonnets and Fugitive Pieces_ (1830); _Sonnets_ (1864);
_Small Tableaux_ (1868); _Sonnets, Lyrics and Translations_ (1873);
_Collected Sonnets, Old and New_ (1880). Edward Tennyson (1813-1890)
achieved something of a reputation as a versifier; he contributed a sonnet
to the _Yorkshire Annual_ for 1832.

[2] Edward Fitzgerald, in a letter written in 1835, says: "I will say no
more of Tennyson than that the more I have seen of him, the more cause I
have to think him great. His little humours and grumpinesses were so
droll, that I was always laughing.... I felt what Charles Lamb describes,
a sense of depression at times from the overshadowing of a so much more
lofty intellect than my own."--_Letters and Literary Remains_, vol. i.

[3] "Tennyson has been in town for some time: he has been making fresh
poems, which are finer, they say, than any he has done. But I believe he
is chiefly meditating on the purging and subliming of what he has already
done: and repents that he has published at all yet. It is fine to see how
in each succeeding poem the smaller ornaments and fancies drop away, and
leave the grand ideas single."--_Letters of Edward Fitzgerald_, vol. i.,
p. 21.

Extract from a letter dated October 23, 1833.

[4] "Alfred Tennyson dined with us. I am always a little disappointed with
the exterior of our poet when I look at him, in spite of his eyes, which
are very fine; but his head and face, striking and dignified as they are,
are almost too ponderous and massive for beauty in so young a man; and
every now and then there is a slightly sarcastic expression about his
mouth that almost frightens me, in spite of his shy manner and habitual
silence."--Fanny Kemble's _Records of a Girlhood_, pp. 519-20.

This entry in Fanny Kemble's journal is dated June 16, 1832.

[5] Fitzgerald, in a letter written in London (April, 1838) says: "We have
had Alfred Tennyson here; very droll, and very wayward: and much sitting
up of nights till two and three in the morning with pipes in our mouths:
at which good hour we would get Alfred to give us some of his magic music,
which he does between growling and smoking."--_Letters and Literary
Remains_, vol. i., pp. 42, 43.

[6] Milnes, in a letter dated July 20, 1856, gives this glimpse of the
Laureate's domestic life: "He is himself much happier than he used to be,
and devoted to his children, who are beautiful."--_Reid's Life of Lord
Houghton_, Vol. I.

[7] The time of Tennyson's removal from Twickenham to Farringford can be
fixed with tolerable definiteness. Fitzgerald writes (Oct. 25, 1853): "I
am going to see the last of the Tennysons at Twickenham;" and again (in
December, 1853): "I hear from Mrs. Alfred they are got to their new abode
in the Isle of Wight."--_Letters and Literary Remains_, vol. i., pp.

[8] In 1865, Alfred Tennyson was elected a member of the Royal Society; in
1869, an honorary fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge; and, in 1884,
president of the Incorporated Society of Authors. He is also president of
the London Library.

[9] "An interesting fact relating to the poet's descent may here be
mentioned. His mother's mother (Mrs. Fytche) was a granddaughter of a
certain Mons. Fauvelle, a French Huguenot, who was related to Madame de
Maintenon."--Church's _Laureate's Country_, p. 10.

[10] Edward Fitzgerald, in a letter written soon after Charles Turner's
death (April 25, 1879), says: "Tennyson's elder, not eldest, brother is
dead; and I was writing only yesterday to persuade Spedding to insist on
Macmillan publishing a complete edition of Charles' Sonnets: graceful,
tender, beautiful, and quite original little things."--_Letters and
Literary Remains_, vol. i., p. 437.

[11] Mary Tennyson (1810-1884) married the Hon. Alan Ker, Puisine Judge of
the Supreme Court of Jamaica.

[12] Emily Tennyson (1811-1887), who was betrothed to Arthur Hallam about
1830, became the wife of Capt. Richard Jesse, R. N.

[13] The Hon. Lionel Tennyson was attacked by jungle fever during a visit
to India, and died on board the Chusan, near Aden, April 20, 1886, aged
thirty-two. He was a profound student of dramatic poetry, and would have
won a name for himself in literature. For several years he was connected
with the India office, and prepared a masterly report on "The Moral and
Material Condition of India," for 1881-82. In 1878, he married the
accomplished daughter of Frederick Locker. The eldest of their three sons
is the "golden-haired Ally" who inspired the well-known verses of his

[14] "Queen Mary" was produced at the Lyceum Theatre, London, in April,
1876--Miss Bateman as Mary and Irving as Philip.

[15] "The Cup" was played at the Lyceum in January, 1881--Irving taking
the part of Synorix and Miss Terry that of Camma.

[16] "The Falcon" was presented at St. James' Theatre, London, in
December, 1879--Mr. Kendal playing the rôle of Count Federigo and Mrs.
Kendal that of Lady Giovanna.

[17] "The Promise of May" was performed at the Globe Theatre, London,
(Nov. 11-Dec. 16, 1882), with Mrs. Bernard-Beere as Dora, Miss Emmeline
Ormsby as Eva, Mr. Hermann Vezin as Edgar and Mr. Charles Kelly as Dobson.

[18] "The Foresters" was produced at Daly's Theatre, New York, (Mar.
17-April 22, 1892),--Mr. John Drew in the rôle of Robin Hood and Miss Ada
Rehan as Maid Marian.

[19] Walter's _In Tennyson Land_, p. 62.

[20] Appleton's _Cyclopedia_, vol. xv., p. 651.

[21] Johnson's _Cyclopedia_, vol. vii., p. 755.

[22] _Ibid._

[23] J. H. Ward, in _Atlantic Monthly_, Sept., 1879.

[24] _Encyclopedia Americana_, vol. iv., p. 660.

[25] J. A. Graham, in _Art Journal_, Feb., 1891.

[26] Lodge's _Peerage_ (1888), p. 597.

[27] _Art Journal_, Feb., 1891.

[28] _Atlantic Monthly_, Sept., 1879.

[29] A full transcript of the inscription on the rector's tomb is given in
Church's _Laureate's Country_ (p. 27), a work that is simply invaluable to
students of Tennyson.

"Somersby and Bag Enderby are hamlets about one quarter of a mile apart,"
says Gatty, "and are held by one Rector, who now resides at the latter
place."--_Key to "In Memoriam."_ Preface.

"Not far from the south-eastern extremity of this Wold country is the
little village of Somersby. The nearest town to it is Horncastle, which is
six miles to the south-east.... Somersby is something less than fifteen
miles from the sea."--Church's _Laureate's Country_.

[30] C. J. Caswell, in _Notes and Queries_, March 14, 1891. Van Dyke's
_Poetry of Tennyson_, p. 323.

[31] Dawson's _Makers of Modern English_, p. 169.

[32] _The Graphic_, (Chicago), Nov. 14, 1891.

[33] _The Tribune_, (Chicago), March 26, 1892, p. 14.

[34] Jenkins' _Handbook of British and American Literature_, p. 400.
Emerson's _Parnassus_, p. xxxiii. Friswell's _Modern Men of Letters_, p.
152. Collier's _History of English Literature_, p. 472. Angus' _Handbook
of English Literature_, p. 274. Fogh's _Nordish Con.-Lex._, vol. v., p.
665. Hoefer's _Nouvelle Biog. Gen._, vol. 44. Lorenz _Cat. Lib. Fran._,
vol. vi., p. 607. Bleibtreu's _Geschichte Eng. Lit._, p. 364. Fischer's
_Ausgewählte Gedichte v. A Tennyson_, p. 1. Waldmüller Duboc's
_Freundes-Klage_, p. 6. Faccioli's _A. Tennyson--Idilli Liriche_, etc., p.

[35] _Poets and Problems_, p. 73.

I am indebted to Mr. C. J. Caswell for his thorough investigations of
Tennyson's boyhood. See _Pall Mall Gazette_, June 19, 1890.

[36] Brockhaus' _Conversations-Lex._, vol. xv., p. 559.

[37] _Lives of English Authors_ (1890), p. 308.

[38] Johnson's _Cyclopedia_, vol. vii., p. 755.

[39] Cook's _Poets and Problems_, p. 73.

[40] Cassell's _Lib. Eng. Lit._, Shorter Poems, p. 465.

[41] Church's _Laureate's Country_, p. 74. Van Dyke's _Poetry of
Tennyson_, p. 323.

Frederick Tennyson (a co-heir of the Earls of Scarsdale) was born June 5,
1807. He was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he
distinguished himself by writing Greek verse--winning the prize for a
Sapphic ode on "Egypt." He married an Italian lady, Maria Guiliotta, now
dead, by whom he had two sons--Julius and Alfred,--and three
daughters--Elise, Emily, Matilda. For many years he lived at Tenby in
South Wales; at present he resides in Jersey, and devotes himself to his
favorite Hellenic studies and to poetry.

Charles Tennyson Turner (born July 4, 1808, died April 25, 1879) attended
Louth Grammar School (1815-21), and then was fitted for college at home.
At Trinity, he did admirable work in the classics--obtaining a Bell
scholarship. In 1836, he became vicar of Grasby, where he passed the
greater part of his life, well-known for his good works. In 1838, he
acquired property left him by his great-uncle, Rev. S. Turner, and assumed
the name of Turner by royal license. He married Louisa Sellwood, youngest
sister of Lady Tennyson; he died at Cheltenham.

[42] "In 1872, Mr. Tennyson purchased a small estate on the top of

_Laureate's Country_, ch. XVI. On the other hand, _Every Saturday_, for
Jan. 1, 1870, says:

"Mr. Tennyson has recently built himself a second residence, in a
picturesque valley in Surrey." "In 1867," says Jennings in his _Lord
Tennyson_ (p. 190), "it was announced that Tennyson had purchased the
Greenhill estate on the borders of Sussex."

This statement is corroborated by a letter of Milnes, dated July 30, 1867:

"Our expedition to Tennyson's was a moral success, but a physical
failure.... The bard was very agreeable, and his wife and son delightful.
He has built himself a very handsome and commanding home in a most
inaccessible site, with every comfort he can require, and every discomfort
to all who approach him. What can be more poetical?"

Reid's _Life of Lord Houghton_, Vol. II, p. 176

Here the circumstances point to only one conclusion--that Tennyson was
living at Aldworth in the summer of 1867. It is a satisfaction to get down
to a solid substratum of truth.


  Johnson's _Cyclopedia_, Vol. VII., p. 755.
  Appleton's _Cyclopedia_, Vol. XV., p. 652.
  Meyer's _Kon-Lex._, vol. XV., p. 589.
  Hart's _Manual of English Literature_, p. 509.
  Jenkins' _Handbook of British and American Literature_, p. 401.

[44] _London Times_, March 12, 1884. An item in the _Chicago Herald_,
April 5, 1892, refers to Tennyson as "Baron d'Eyncourt." Thus he is called
in _Lives of English Authors_ (1890). His title is given as "baron
Tennyson d'Eyncourt d'Aldworth," by Larousse (_Dictionnaire Universel_,
2d. Supplement, p. 1914); and as "Baron Tennyson von Altworth," by
Brockhaus (_Con-Lex._, vol. xv., p. 559), and by Meyer (_Kon-Lex._, vol.
xv., p. 589). The _Illustrirtes Kon-Lex._ says he was offered a Baronetcy
in 1875. The _International Cyclopedia_ says he was made a baron in 1883,
as does Alden's _Cyc. of Univ. Lit._ and other compilations. From this
showing it would appear that French and German erudition is about on a par
with English and American.

[45] Mrs. Ritchie on "Alfred Tennyson," in _Harper's Magazine_ (Dec.,
1883), and Alice Maude Fenn on "The Borderlands of Surrey," in _The
Century_ (Aug., 1882).

[46] Of the numerous works of reference which give Somerby as the poet's
birthplace, are the following: Vapereau. _Dictionnaire des Contemporains_;
Larousse. _Dictionnaire Universel du XIXe Siècle_, 2e. Supplement; Schem.
_Conversations-Lexicon_; Meyer. _Conversations-Lexicon._ Brockhaus, etc.

[47] Selections from Tennyson's "Queen Mary."

[48] "The First Quarrel."

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