Alfred, Lord Tennyson: From Poverty to Great Wealth – to a Forgotten Poet

Curiosity sends me on journeys like this and it’s not really about poetry or history – so please keep reading. (Photo above is courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)

A friend emails often, and has for years to make me smile, think, and laugh. This time he sent a perfectly written, and very beautiful poem, without an author.

Deep within something said – Someone wrote that work of art, and it shouldn’t be emailed without being properly referenced.

It appears to have been plagiarized, but curiosity and this discovery blows that disgrace out of the water.

Somewhere I mentioned poetry had never been in my radar, and my interests aren’t so much in poetry as they are in biographies. My fascinations have always been with understanding people and listening to their stories – not vain glory, or manipulation. That’s why I’ve liked the older generation. They seek someone who will sit down and actually listen.

Anyway, the beautiful poem on appreciation and being blessed lead me on a short trail – landing me on an exquisitely written biography on the poetic life of Alfred, Lord Tennyson. It’s called the Poetry Foundation.

While reading, the composer of the biography left me totally awestruck on so many dimensions.  Initially it was confusing, because it happened so long ago – or at least I thought so.  Somehow, I overlooked that part and it may have been a good thingNot being a natural fan of history, I’m slowly making my way to it.

My first knee-jerk reaction – NOT response was – This guy’s a nut!

That is precisely WHY – I kept reading, because the mind and life intrigue me. We’re all a bit nuts with our quirks and stuff.  If you deny it, then there’s something a bit nutty about little ole you too!

My goal is to observe, learn behaviors, and various patterns.

Tennyson appears to have been a persistent man on perfecting and pursuing his dreams of being a poet. His life and mind were turbulent, and yet brilliantly expressed – then seemingly suddenly, finally noticed. He was lonely, isolated, received accolades and like most, Tennyson sought fame.

Many enjoyed his work which were a clear reflection of his emotions. Tennyson’s life came virtually out of obscurity. Human behavior doesn’t change, and he experienced a flip-side to life.  Under public scrutiny he encountered more “critics”.

It’s almost as if he nor they, knew anything about Tennyson the man, named Alfred – due to it being the Victorian era (1809-1892).

Honestly, there’s nothing to add as you can obviously read. All gleaned will stay with me and used in a more utilitarian or practical way.

Here’s a quote from the Poetry Foundation the most endearing about this once poverty-stricken man:

The queen treated Tennyson with what was great informality by her reserved standards, so that the relationship between monarch and laureate was probably more intimate than it has ever been before or since. She had an untutored and naive love of poetry, and he felt deep veneration for the throne; above all, each was a simple and unassuming person beneath a carapace of apparent arrogance, and each recognized the true simplicity of the other. It was almost certainly the queen’s feeling for Tennyson that lay behind the unprecedented offer of a baronetcy four times beginning in 1865; Tennyson each time turned it down for himself while asking that if possible it be given to Hallam, his elder son, after his own death.

It’s most important to know who the original Hallam is, though.

Here is where the wealthy man-made a mistake.

His hope of becoming “the people’s poet” was triumphantly realized; the volume had the largest sales of any during his lifetime. More than 40,000 copies were sold immediately after publication, and in the first year he made more than £8,000 from it, a sum equal to the income of many of the richest men in England.

His hope in riches then, is rampant today via technology on the internet, but more idealistic in users seeking faux fame and other things.

One rapid difference though.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote everything meticulously on paper. Perhaps with a pen, and ink well like this.  Given his ultimate position and wealth, maybe he had something better. While struggling in poverty it may have been a pen of wood with a silver nib.



We thought pencil lead was messy.

Now people complain that internet speed isn’t fast enough, some people obsess to get followers, scams, phishing, not fishing or going outdoors anymore.

Tennyson was almost mortified being recognized publicly. Today people can’t grasp the concept of their ignorance of internet exposure.

Some of us can, but can’t quite put the lid on it. Everything has a clear explanation, because it was all recorded for personal safety reasons. THINK!

Remember: Your personal safety ALWAYS comes FIRST! 

Lessons from an email.

Matthew 25: 33-36 KJV


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