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A Study of Poets: Tennyson & Browning


Name: Kaushal Desai

Department: M.A. English department
Semester: II
Roll No: 14
To be submitted to: The Department of English,
M.K. Bhavnagar University

A Study of Poets:
Tennyson &

Preface :

The period of 1820 to 1900 known as the age of victoria. During this period Queen
Victoria developed the much literary forms. So , this age in English literature known as
the victorian Age. During that period many great writers gave their best contribution to English
age as a gift. , Browning, Dickens, Thackray, Meredith, Carlyle, Macaulay and Ruskin there are
some great stars of the age.Tennyson the prominent poet of the age.So, now lets we discussing
about Tennyson in detailed. Lord Alfred Tennyson was born in 1809.The son of a clergyman he
was born at his fathers living atsomersby in Lincolnshire. After some schooling at Louth, Which
was not agreeable to him. He was taken education from the Cambridge. University, at the
university he was a wholly conventional person.

We can also say about this period that The Victorian era of British history was the period
of Queen Victoria's reign from 1837 until her death in 1901. It was a long period of peace,
prosperity, refined culture, great advancements in technology, and national self-confidence for
Britain. During the Victorian age, Britain was the world's most powerful nation. By the end of
Victoria's reign, the British empire extended over about one-fifth of the earth's surface. Like
Elizabethan England, Victorian England saw great expansion of wealth, power, and culture. But
as Victorian England was a time of great ambition and grandeur, it was also a time of misery,
squalor, and urban ugliness.The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen
Victoria's reign from 1837 until her death in 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity,
refined culture, great advancements in technology, and national self-confidence for Britain.
During the Victorian age, Britain was the world's most powerful nation. By the end of Victoria's
reign, the British empire extended over about one-fifth of the earth's surface. Like Elizabethan
England, Victorian England saw great expansion of wealth, power, and culture. But as Victorian
England was a time of great ambition and grandeur, it was also a time of misery, squalor, and
urban ugliness. But art is never be stop so in this era also we find foremost art. And we are going
to discuss about two major poet who create a kind of influence in this era.

Alfred Lord Tennyson:

He was Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland during much of Queen Victoria's reign
and remains one of the most popular British poets. Tennyson excelled at penning short lyrics,
such as "Break, Break, Break", "The Charge of the Light Brigade", "Tears, Idle Tears" and
"Crossing the Bar". Much of his verse was based on classical mythological themes, such
as Ulysses, although In Memoriam A.H.H. was written to commemorate his best friend Arthur
Hallam, a fellow poet and fellow student at Trinity College, Cambridge, who was engaged to
Tennyson's sister, but died from a brain haemorrhage before they could marry. Tennyson also
wrote some notable blank verse including Idylls of the King, "Ulysses", and "Tithonus".
During his career, Tennyson attempted drama, but his plays enjoyed little success. A
number of phrases from Tennyson's work have become commonplaces of the English language,
including "Nature, red in tooth and claw", "'Tis better to have loved and lost / Than never to have
loved at all", "Theirs not to reason why, / Theirs but to do and die", "My strength is as the
strength of ten, / Because my heart is pure", "To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield",
"Knowledge comes, but Wisdom lingers", and "The old order changeth, yielding place to new".
He is the ninth most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of QuotationsMost of
Tennysons early education under his fathers direction. Even then he spent 4 unhappy years at
the grammar school. His departure in 1827to join his elder brothers at Trinity College
Cambridge. He was extraordinary handsome intelligent, humorous and gifted as charming
personality, he was at the center of an admiring group of young men knows that then he was
interested in poetry and conversation.The only mark he made was to win thechancellors
medal for a poem onTimbuctoo. Then, He left Cambridge without taking a degree.The history of
family is interesting in itself ,but some knowledge of it is also essential for understanding of the
themes of his poetry. Madness, Murder, Miserliness, social climbing there are some
main themes of the work of Tennyson.It was surprisable thing that he began writing poetry long
before he was sent to school; as did most of his talented brothers and sisters. At the early age
of18 his first volume published poems by two brothers (1827). Now lets studies further about
both poets.

He left Cambridge before he was published a volume of mediocre verse. During the
next 20 years he was passed a tranquil existence.During that time he met Arthur Henry
Hallam. This was the beginning of 4years of warm friendship between Tennyson and Hallam.
In 1844 he lost his unlucky speculation, but in nick of the time he received Government
pension .He was appointedpoet Laureate (1850) in owner to Wordsworth married, and removed
to freshwater. Then for the Tennyson Isle of Wight became for the next 20 years.

Now let see the poetic career of the Tennyson. At the early age of 18 he collaborated with his
elder brother Charles in poems by Two Brothers got the prize.

1). Timbuctoo (1829)

2). poems, chiefly Lyricall (1830)

Isabel and Madeline the pictorial work by Tennyson. His volume of poems (1833), which is
often referred to as poems (1832).In this collection there are some great poems-

1).The Lady of shallot

2). Enone
3).The Lotus-Eaters
4).The palace of Art
This collection through Tennyson got the renowned as a perfect poet. Then in1842 he
produced two another volume of poetry that set him once and for all among the greater poets of
his day. Its open with Morted Arthur
And contains Ulysses, Locksleyhall.And several other poems through he became star of the
age. Later he wrote very long poem. Like-

1).The princess (1847)

2). In Memoriam (1850)
3). Maud and other poems (1855)
4). Idylls of the king (1859-89)
5).Enoch Arden (1864)

Some major features of his poetic work.1830 to 1842 works lyric and legendry narrative
type. And 1842volume based on ethical interest. His content of the works mirror of feelings and
aspirations of his time.

As a pictorial poet, he follows the example of Keats. His all poem most probably based
on imagery of nature and other natural elements. His description of each line built our-selves to
see the magic of his art and surprisable deep and beautiful scene of the picture of the poem.
Through his all poem he proved himself as a best poet of the age. Hislyrical quality is also best-
one. Famous example are-

1). The splendor Falls

2). Break, break, break
3). crossing the Bar etc

Through his lyrics he touches the heart of the reader. Let see one example of his great work

Break, break, break,

On thy cold gray stones, o sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter
The thoughts that arise in me.

~Break, break,breakby Tennyson

Even he used Lyrical monologue, repetition, imagery, Alliteration there are some great
elements of the work of Tennyson. He himself known as-

The clamour of the cry.

In 1884 he was created a baron, sat in the House of Lords, for a time took himself rather
seriously as a politician. Then he died at Aldworth near Haslemere in surrey and was buried in
Westminster Abbey.

Really, through the study of poet we can say that he was star poet of the age. He was
known as demigod of the age.His greatness and richness of his poems in very early age showed
theintellectuality and scholarality in him. Hishigh place in the temple of fame in assured.
Tennyson was not only the great poet of the victorian Age. But,today also he known as in the
category of the best homogenized poet.

Robert Browning

Robert Browning (1812 1889) was an English poet and playwright whose mastery

of dramatic verse, especially dramatic monologues, made him one of the

foremost Victorian poets. Browning was famous for his dramatic monologues and commentary
on social institutions.He was married to Victorian poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning. He truly
observer of Renaissance period and he admire for it. The Renaissance saw a major shift in
theories of art. As Fra Lippo Lippi discusses, a new realism, based on observation and detail,
was coming to be valued, while traditional, more abstract and more didactic forms of art were
losing favor. This shifting in priorities is analogous to the shifting views on art and morality in
Brownings time. The Renaissance, like the Victorian era, was also a time of increasing
secularism (see The Bishop Orders His Tomb) and concentration of wealth and power (My
Last Duchess. All of these aspects make the Renaissance and the Victorian era rather similar. By
talking about the Renaissance, Browning can make his cultural criticism somewhat less biting.
He also gains access to a wealth of sensuous detail and historical reference, which he can then
use to add vibrancy to his verse. The historical connection, furthermore, lets him talk about his
place in the literary tradition: if we still appreciate Renaissance art, hopefully future generations
will still appreciate Brownings poetry.
I also want to say that Browning aspires to redefine the aesthetic. The rough language of
his poems often matches the personalities of his speakers. Browning uses colloquialisms,
inarticulate sounds (like Grr), and rough meter to portray inner conflict and to show characters
living in the real world. In his earlier poems this kind of speech often accompanies patterned
rhyme schemes; My Last Duchess, for example, uses rhymed couplets. The disjunction
between form and content or form and language suggests some of the conflict being described in
the poems, whether the conflict is between two moral contentions or is a conflict between
aesthetics and ethics as systems. Brownings rough meters and unpoetic language test a new
range for the aesthetic.

Here one more remarkable point is that Women, particularly for the Victorians, symbolize
the home the repository of traditional values. Their violent death can stand in for the death of
society. The women in Brownings poetry in particular are often depicted as sexually open: this
may show that society has transformed so radically that even the domestic, the traditional, has
been altered and corrupted. This violence also suggests the struggle between aesthetics and
morals in Victorian art: while women typically serve as symbols of values (the moral education
offered by the mother, the purity of one who stays within the confines of the home and remains
untainted by the outside world), they also represent traditional foci for the aesthetic (in the form
of sensual physical beauty); the conflict between the two is potentially explosive. Controlling
and even destroying women is a way to try to prevent such explosions, to preserve a society that
has already changed beyond recognition.

Actually he more known to be mark of seasons as his writing influenced with the part of
stability and now talking about his work so first look on In March 1833, Pauline, a fragment of a
confession was published anonymously by Saunders and Otley at the expense of the author, the
costs of printing having been borne by an aunt, Mrs Silverthorne. It is a long poem composed in
homage to Shelley and somewhat in his style. Originally Browning considered Pauline as the
first of a series written by different aspects of himself, but he soon abandoned this idea. The
press noticed the publication. W.J. Fox writing in the The Monthly Repository of April 1833
discerned merit in the work. Allan Cunningham praised it in The Athenaeum. However, it sold
no copies. Some years later, probably in 1850, Dante Gabriel Rossetti came across it in the
Reading Room of the British Museum and wrote to Browning, then in Florence to ask if he was
the author. John Stuart Mill, however, wrote that the author suffered from an "intense and morbid
self-consciousness". Later Browning was rather embarrassed by the work, and only included it in
his collected poems of 1868 after making substantial changes and adding a preface in which he
asked for indulgence for a boyish work.
His major works:
Pauline: A Fragment of a Confession (1833)
Paracelsus (1835)
Strafford (play) (1837)
Sordello (1840)
Bells and Pomegranates No. I: Pippa Passes (play) (1841)
Bells and Pomegranates No. II: King Victor and King Charles (play) (1842)
Bells and Pomegranates No. III: Dramatic Lyrics (1842)
"Porphyria's Lover"
"Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister"
"My Last Duchess"
"The Pied Piper of Hamelin"
"Count Gismond"
"Johannes Agricola in Meditation"

Here I want to put few lines of his work,

One who never turned his back, but marched breast forward,
Never doubted clouds would break,
Never dreamed, tho right were worsted, wrong would triumph,
Held we fall to rise, are buffled to fight better,
Sleep to wake.
~ Epilogue, Browning

In 1834 he accompanied the Chevalier George de Benkhausen, the Russian consul-

general, on a brief visit to St Petersburg and began Paracelsus, which was published in 1835. The
subject of the 16th century savant and alchemist was probably suggested to him by the Comte
Amde de Ripart-Monclar, to whom it was dedicated. The publication had some commercial
and critical success, being noticed by Wordsworth, Dickens, Landor, J.S. Mill and others,
including Tennyson (already famous). It is a monodrama without action, dealing with the
problems confronting an intellectual trying to find his role in society. It gained him access to the
London literary world.
As a result of his new contacts he met Macready, who invited him to write a
play. Strafford was performed five times. Browning then wrote two other plays, one of which
was not performed, while the other failed, Browning having fallen out with Macready. In 1838
he visited Italy, looking for background for Sordello, a long poem in heroic couplets, presented
as the imaginary biography of the Mantuan bard spoken of by Dante in the Divine Comedy,
canto 6 of Purgatory, set against a background of hate and conflict during the Guelph-Ghibelline
wars. This was published in 1840 and met with widespread derision, gaining him the reputation
of wanton carelessness and obscurity. Tennyson commented that he only understood the first and
last lines and Carlyle claimed that his wife had read the poem through and could not tell whether
Sordello was a man, a city or a book.
Browning's reputation began to make a partial recovery with the publication, 18411846,
of Bells and Pomegranates, a series of eight pamphlets, originally intended just to include his
plays. Fortunately his publisher, Moxon, persuaded him to include some "dramatic lyrics", some
of which had already appeared in periodicals.

winding up:

At last I just want to say that Victorian period is also a promoted through the English
development and its connect their roots with Renaissance time. Tennyson & Browning both are
distinguish poet that given their much promoted writing in this era.


Long, Wiiliam J. English Literature. Books way, 2009.

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