Tuesday, August 6, 2013

August 6 - Alfred Tennyson

“To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.” … English poet Alfred Tennyson was born on August 6, 1809, in Lincolnshire, northeast of London. His collection Poems Chiefly Lyrical (1830) became popular and gained him the attention of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and others. His Poems of 1842, containing works such as the dramatic monologue “Ulysses” (later called “a perfect poem” by T.S. Eliot), increased his fame, and in 1850 he was named Britain’s Poet Laureate on the death of William Wordsworth. He held that position until his death in 1892, the longest tenure of any laureate before or since. Many lines of Tennyson’s poetry have entered common parlance in English, including: “‘Tis better to have loved and lost/ Than never to have loved at all,” and "Nature, red in tooth and claw"(both from “In Memoriam A.H.H.”); and "Theirs not to reason why,/ Theirs but to do and die" (from “The Charge of the Light Brigade”). Extreme near-sightedness made reading and writing difficult for Tennyson. As a result, he composed entire poems in his head.

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