Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Christina, Patrick, and Kye
Early Beginnings of a Poet
In 1833, Tennyson published another volume of poetry: Poems by Alfred Tennyson, which contained the well known, "The Lady of Shalott." Even thought "The Lady of Shalott" did well, the rest of the poetry was not successful.
In 1836, Tennyson fell in love with Emily Sellwood, and the two were soon engaged. However, due in part to concerns about his finances and his health (Tennyson's family had history of epilepsy) Tennyson ended the engagement in 1840.
In 1842, Tennyson published more poetry in the two-volume Poems. Some of his highlights included a revised "The Lady of Shalott," and also "Locksley Hall," "Morte d'Arthur" and "Ulysses".
Success as a Poet
Later in 1850, Tennyson succeeded Wordsworth as Poet Laureate of England. Tennyson's poetry became more and more widely read, which gave him both an impressive income and an ever-increasing level of fame.
An episode in the Crimean War led to Tennyson penning "The Charge of the Light Brigade" in 1854. This work was also included in Maud, and Other Poems in 1855. Tennyson's first four books Idylls of the King, appeared in 1859. In 1864, Enoch Arden and Other Poems sold 17,000 copies on its first day of publication.
Tennyson and Queen Victoria
Later Years and Legacy
In 1874, Tennyson branched out to poetic dramas, starting with Queen Mary (1875). Some of his dramas would be successfully performed, but they never matched the impact of his poems.
Tennyson and his wife had had two sons, Hallam (b. 1852) and Lionel (b. 1854). Lionel predeceased his parents; he became ill on a visit to India, and died in 1886 onboard a ship heading back to England.
The poet suffered from gout, and experienced a recurrence that grew worse in the late summer of 1892. On October 6, 1892, at the age of 83, Tennyson passed away at his home in Surrey. He was buried in Westminster Abbey's Poets' Corner.
Tennyson was the leading poet of the Victorian age; but as that era ended, his reputation began to fade. Today Tennyson is once more recognized as a gifted poet who delved into eternal human questions, and who offered both solace and inspiration to his audience.