TENNYSON


Lord Tennyson is the greatest poet of Victorian England. Public taste turns slowly in his favour. He is placed in the first rank. 'The princess' and 'In Memorium' show the growth of his mind and art. He is appointed poet laureate in 1550. After this he gets much popularity. 'Maud', 'Idylls of the king', Enoch Arden', 'Ballads' and 'Tiresias' are his popular poems.
          As a poet Tennyson reflects the spirit of his age. He becomes the voice of his age. His interests are based on his awareness. They are the highest interests of his age. In this specific sense, he is the most representative poet of Victorian England.
          Tennyson revolts against materialism. Like Carlyle, Ruskin and Arnold he turns to the Middle Age and the Renaissance. He is always discontented with the present till it has become the past. Due to this his poems are dominated by reverie, nostalgia, longing and melancholy. These elements show that he shares in the continuation of Romanticism.
          To Tennyson love is a domestic sentiment. He emphasises on women's progress and education. His poetry embodies the political and social opinions of his age also. He believes in slow and orderly development. He believes in a compromise between aristocracy and democracy. He is interested in common people and common things.
          The two voices - science and religion - of the Victorian age are perpetually heard in his poetry. He tries to evolve a compromise between science and religion. He feels that science is both fruitful and important. At the same time he believes that the true religious man is the man of action. This idea is expressed in many of his poems. The same idea has been presented in the last lines of 'Crossing the Bar':
                              "I hope to see my pilot face to face,
                               When I have crossed the bar."
          Thus Tennyson's poetry echoes the original voice of Victorian England. He is a great and gifted poetic craftsman. He forms a poetic style of his own. It is musical, simple and lucid. His poetry is picturesque. In this respect there is a clear affinity with Keats and Shelley.

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