HAPPY BIRTHDAY – Alfred, Lord Tennyson, born 6 August 1809
“I am a part of all that I have met.”
Crossing the Bar
Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.
I am deeply in love with Tennyson’s poems. The Lady of Shalott is one of my most loved poems, and it has been gorgeously illustrated by many artists such as John William Waterhouse, Arthur Hughes, and John Atkinson Grimshaw. Have a look at In Memoriam, The Charge of the Light Brigade, Maud and Crossing the Bar (the poem which Tennyson wished to have placed last in any volume of his poems that was published – it was his epitaph).
I have visited Tennyson’s birthplace in Lincolnshire (in private hands) and seen the fabulous statue of him by Lincoln Cathedral and looked round his home on the Isle of Wight (now a hotel, but currently undergoing renovation, I believe). Tennyson grew up in Lincolnshire and wrote some intriguing dialect poems, which are worth looking into.
There is a very old recording of Tennyson reading from his own The Charge of the Light Brigade. It was one of the first voice recordings ever made, and of course is far from clear, but it is wonderful to listen to it and to know that you are hearing the voice of a great Victorian poet.
You may enjoy an excellent book about Tennyson’s wife, Emily – Emily Tennyson: The Poet’s Wife by Ann Thwaite.
Do you have a favourite Tennyson? Tell me in the comment area below.
Listen to this gorgeous reading of The Lady of Shalott, by the mysterious ‘Tom O’Bedlam’.
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