The Arthur of the English Poets

By Howard Maynadier | Go to book overview

XXII
TENNYSON

NEARLY seventy years before Mr. Davidson wrote his Last Ballad, he who, more grandly than any since Malory, has pealed "proud Arthur's march from Fairyland," had written what still remains the most exquisite of Arthurian lyrics. Alfred Tennyson was born in 1809 at his father's rectory at Somersby, a place between Horncastle and Spilsby, "in a land of quiet villages, large fields, gray hillsides and noble, tall-towered churches, on the lower slope of a Lincolnshire wold."1 The principal facts of his life are so well known that only the briefest mention of them is necessary. A poet by his own choice, even before he won the Chancellor's Prize for verse at Cambridge; severely criticised after his first two publications, but after the third appreciated and extolled throughout the English world; Laureate in 1850 and Baron in 1884; happily married; a conscientious, conservatively broad-minded gentleman -- that is the whole story. Death came to him at his house at Aldworth on the 6th of October, 1892; an appropriate death for a great romantic poet, for he died just after midnight, with no light in the room but that of the full moon streaming through the oriel window, and in

____________________
1
Lord Hallam Tennyson, Alfred Lord Tennyson, A Memoir, London, 1897, vol. i, p. 2.

-410-

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The Arthur of the English Poets
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • The Arthur of English Poets I the Vigor of the Arthurian Legends 1
  • Iii the Arthur of Popular Story 32
  • Iv the Chronicles and the Lais 50
  • Vi Merlin 79
  • Vii Lancelot 84
  • Viii the Holy Grail 106
  • Ix the Grail and the Swan-Knight 143
  • X Tristram and Iseult 153
  • Xi the Moulding of the Legends 175
  • Xiii Sir Thomas Malory 197
  • Xiv Caxton and the Transition 247
  • Xvi from Spenser to Milton 278
  • Xvii the Age of Prose and Reason 295
  • Xviii the Later Eighteenth Century 314
  • Xix the Early Nineteenth Century 335
  • Xx the High Tide of Mediævalism 344
  • Xxi the Newer Spirit 378
  • Xxii Tennyson 410
  • Index 439
  • Index 441
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