200 Years - Tennyson

"Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more."

Today is the 200th anniversary of the birth of erstwhile Poet Laureate of England, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, a position to which he succeeded upon the death of William Wordsworth. Tennyson was Poet Laureate nearly as long as Victoria was Queen. One of his most famous poems is The Charge of the Light Brigade, a tribute to the British cavalrymen involved in a charge at the Battle of Balaclava, during the Crimean War (1850s). Here is the last stanza:

"When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered.
Honor the charge they made,
Honor the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred."

Others of his poems drew inspiration from the tales of King Arthur, or from even older sagas, though I believe Tolkien's recreations of Norse poetry are much more stirring.

Here he is at Trinity College, Cambridge (.jpg from Wikipedia):

Finally, here's the entirety of Crossing the Bar:

"Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar."


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