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Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

Tennyson is often regarded as the chief representative of the Victorian age in poetry. He succeeded Wordsworth as Poet Laureate in 1850.

Alfred Tennyson was born on the 5th August, 1809 in Somersby near Horncastle. He was the fourth of 12 children, born into an old Lincolnshire family, his father was a rector.

Alfred began writing poetry at eight-years-old, and by the age of twelve was in the midst of a 6,000 line epic. His work was first published in a book entitled Poems by Two Brothers which, despite its name, contained work by three of the Tennyson brothers.

Alfred, with two of his brothers, Frederick and Charles, was sent in 1815 to Louth Grammar School, where he was unhappy. He left in 1820, but, although home conditions were difficult, his father managed to give him a wide literary education.

In 1827 he entered Trinity College, Cambridge. While there he joined a group called The Apostles. They debated all the great issues of the day and several of the members remained close personal friends throughout Tennyson's life.

While he was at Cambridge, and with much support and encouragement from The Apostles, Alfred's second book, Poems Chiefly Lyrical was published. In 1831 Tennyson's father died and Alfred returned to Somersby without completing his degree.

In 1833 Tennyson's closest friend Arthur Hallam died. This was a great shock for the poet and he began work on In Memoriam. It was not until 17 years later in 1850 that the work was finally finished and published.

Tennyson continued to produce a substantial amount of poetry and in 1883 he received a peerage from Queen Victoria who had publicly commented that she had found great consolation in Tennyson's poetry when Prince Albert died.

On 6th October, 1892 Tennyson died of gout with his wife and son by his side. He is buried in Poets Corner at Westminster Abbey and is still regarded as one of the greatest British poets.