Tennyson

Tennyson

Tennyson

Tennyson

Excerpt

Alfred Tennyson was born in 1809. Maud was published in 1855. And with the enunciation of these two dates perishes the legend that Tennyson -- the poet -- died, like Chatterton, in his marvellous boyhood. In the middle forties, and already Poet Laureate, he was master of his most various, technically perfect and sustained lyric note. Not only that but almost alone of the major poets his definitely singing quality appreciated with the passing years. Tennyson was wiser than the thrush. He not only sang each note twice over, but enriched and embroidered it with repetition.

This is so obvious that it has naturally escaped attention. It is the convenient critical habit to divide Tennyson into his early period as a poet, and his later as an uninspired Seer. The plain truth, however, is that in 1830 he was seeing as conscientiously in Confessions of a Second-rate Sensitive Mind as in Locksley Hall Revisited, and that in 1855 the birds in the high Hall garden sang as clear and as fresh as on the road to 'many-towered Camelot'. We are indeed entitled to claim that Tennyson would have been better able to write The Idylls of the King than Maud when he was twenty-one. His in-

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