The great Victorian poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson was born on the 5th August, 1809 in Somersby near Horncastle. He came from a large family and had eight brothers and four sisters. His father, George Clayton Tennyson was the Rector of Somersby and Bag Enderby. Alfred began writing poetry at eight-years-old, and by the age of twelve was in the midst of a 6,000 line epic. His work was first published in a book entitled Poems by Two Brothers which, despite its name, contained work by three of the Tennyson brothers. "The great master of metric as well as of melancholia."
T. S. Elliot on Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
Tennyson attended school for only four years and received the rest of his education at home. In 1827 he entered Trinity College Cambridge. While there he joined a group called The Apostles. They debated all the great issues of the day and several of the members remained close personal friends throughout Tennyson's life. While at Cambridge University
While he was at Cambridge, and with much support and encouragement from The Apostles, Alfred's second book, Poems Chiefly Lyrical was published. In 1831 Tennyson's father died and Alfred returned to Sommersby without completing his degree. In 1833 Tennyson's closest friend Arthur Hallam died. This was a great shock for the poet and he began work on In Memoriam. It was not until 17 years later in 1850 that the work was finally finished and published.
Statue of Tennyson at Lincoln Cathedral
It was also in 1850 that he married Emily Sellwood. They met 14 years before and had been engaged until Emily's father broke the engagement saying that Alfred was too poor. Tennyson would not have any more money worries though as in November 1850 he was appointed Poet Laureate by Queen Victoria. Alfred continued to produce a substantial amount of poetry and in 1883 he received a peerage from Queen Victoria who had publicly commented that she had found great consolation in Tennyson's poetry when Prince Albert had died. On 6th...
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