"The Idylls of the King" is a collection of poems published between 1859 and 1885. There are twelve narrative poems written by Alfred, Lord Tennyson while he was the Poet Laureate to Queen Victoria. He meant them as a tribute to her deceased husband, Prince Albert. The poems cover the life of King Arthur from the … [Read more...] about Idylls of the King
Alfred Lord Tennyson
Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson was born in 1809 in Lincolnshire, England. His family was middle class, his father a rector and vicar. George Clayton Tennyson was a fair hand at architecture, painting, and music.
He spent a lot of time on the education of his children and Alfred and his two elder brothers began writing poetry in their teens. He and his brothers had a book of poetry published when Alfred was seventeen. When he was twenty, Alfred was given the Chancellor's Gold Medal for one of his poems while at Cambridge.
After his father had died Alfred left Cambridge with a degree and moved to the rectory to take care of his mother and family for the next six years. Afterward they moved to High Beach, Essex. After an unwise investment that led to the loss of much of the family fortune, Alfred moved to London.
In London, he continued to write and publish poetry. Soon he was appointed Poet Laureate and married Emily Sellwood, a childhood friend. They had two sons. From 1850 to 1892 Alfred held the position of Poet Laureate. He held the position longer than anyone before or since.
During this time he wrote good and bad poetry. He wrote "The Charge of the Light Brigade, the " but he also wrote a terrible poem of greeting princess Alexandra of Denmark when she came to Britain to marry the future King Edward the VII.
In 1884 he was made Baron Tennyson, of Alworth in the County of Sussex and of Freshwater in the Isle of Wight by Queen Victoria. He was the first person to be raised to the British peerage just for his writing. He was actually not comfortable as a peer and only took the position to benefit his son.
Tennyson was still writing up into his eighties. He died at the age of eighty three and was buried in Westminter Abbey. His last words were, "Oh that press will have me now."
Tennyson was a favorite poet of Prince Albert and Queen Victoria appointed him for that reason. She only met him twice. The first time she thought he was odd and the second a genius.
Tennyson wrote "Idylls of the King" as a memorial gift for Prince Albert after his death since he was a great fan of the King Arthur tales. Some of his other works include, "The Kraken", "The Lady of Shalott", "Ulysses", "Godiva", "In Memoriam A.H.H.", "Maud", "The Brook", "Montenegro", and "Kapiolani" that was published by his son, Hallam after his death.
Hallam also wrote an authorized biography in 1897. There is a memorial statue to Lord Tennyson in the chapel of Trinity College, Cambridge University. He is the ninth most frequently quoted writer, including, "Theirs is not to reason why, / Theirs is but to do and die." "Tis better to have loved and lost / Than never to have loved at all." "Knowledge comes, but Wisdom lingers." and "The old order changeth, yielding place to new," from "The Idylls of the King".