The Victorian poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson was born in Lincolnshire, England on 6th August 1809. He was the fourth of twelve children and grew up in an isolated rectory in Lincolnshire. He was unhappy at school and his father was an alcoholic, so young Alfred took refuge from his unhappiness in writing.
He went on to Cambridge, where he began to make a name for himself as a poet. While he was there, he published his first book of poetry, Poems, Chiefly Lyrical (1830). His closest friend was a young man named Arthur Hallam.
Hallam’s sudden death in 1832 sent Tennyson into a depression, out of which came some of his most famous works, including Morte d’Arthur and In Memoriam (1850).
In Memoriam became hugely popular, and led Queen Victoria to appoint Tennyson the Poet Laureate. His later works include The Idylls of the King (1859), The Holy Grail and Other Poems (1870) and Tiresias and Other Poems. (1885).
Among his most famous individual poems are ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ (1854) and ‘Crossing the Bar’ (1889), which Tennyson requested be placed at the end of all editions of his poems.
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 crost the bar.