The Princess

The Princess

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The Princess

The Princess

Read FREE!

Excerpt

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.

Tennyson's career as a poet dates back as far as 1827, in which year, he being then but eighteen years of age, he published anonymously, in connection with his brother Charles (who was only thirteen months his senior, having been born July 4, 1808), a small volume, entitled "Poems by Two Brothers." The Preface, which is dated March, 1827, states that the poems contained in the volume "were written from the ages of fifteen to eighteen, not conjointly but individually; which may account for the difference of style and matter."

In 1828, or early in 1829, these two brothers entered Trinity College, Cambridge, where their eldest brother, Frederick, had already entered. At the Cambridge Commencement in 1829, Alfred took the Chancellor's gold medal, by his poem entitled "Timbuctoo." That appears to have been the first year of his acquaintance, which soon ripened into an ardent friendship, with Arthur Henry Hallam, this friendship, as we learn from the xxii. section of "In Memoriam," having been, at Hallam's death, of "four sweet years'" duration. It is an interesting fact that Hallam was one of Tennyson's rival competitors for the Chancellor's prize. His poem is dated June, 1829. It is contained in his "Literary Remains." Among other of Tennyson's friends at the University . . .

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