Born on August 6 1809, Lord Alfred Tennyson was the poet laureate for two nations – Great Britain and Ireland. Compared to any of his contemporaries, Tennyson seemed the embodiment of his age.
Tennyson first published his compositions as a student in Cambridge. His first publication comprised a collection of boyish rhymes about himself and his brother. However, the major breakthrough in his works came only by 1830, upon the publication of his solo collection titled – Poems Chiefly Lyrical.
Since then, there had been no looking back. By 1842 he had already published two volumes of poems and was living in London. The success of his work Poems made him popular like never before; and eight years down the line in 1850, he was appointed as the Poet Laureate.
A master craftsman in his own right, Tennyson made use of mythological references in most of his works. Subject matters in his works ranged from medieval legends to classical myths – from domestic situations to even nature in its extreme forms. The influence early romantic poets such as John Keats and William Blake is often reflected in the works of this master. An excellent user of rhythm, Tennyson’s use of musical qualities exudes in his lyrical compositions. Use of figures of speech like metaphor, onomatopoeia, assonance and alliteration is prevalent in his works.
Tennyson is considered as one of the great poets of not only the early Victorian Era but also one of the great English Poets, almost at par with likes of Wordsworth or Keats and definitely above many of his Victorian contemporaries.