Alfred Lord Tennyson was born in August of 1809 in Somersby, Lincolnshire, England. His father was a deeply religious man and worked as rector of Somersby,
Benniworth, and Bag Enderby, as well as vicar of Grimsby. He was said to be a wise and well intentioned man who was able to successfully support his family’s solidly middle-class lifestyle. Tennyson was one of twelve children and along with two of his brother, was engaged with poetry from a young age. By the age of twelve, Tennyson had written his first epic poem that consisted of 6,000 lines and by the time he was seventeen he and his brothers had a collection of poetry published.
From 1816 to 1820, Tennyson attended Kind Edward VI Grammar School and then left his home to attend Trinity College, Cambridge in 1827. It was there that he and his brother, Charles, co-published a book of poems titled, Poems by Two Brothers. This book put Tennyson on the radar of other prolific college writers and he made friends with another student, Arthur Hallam. After a brief but intense friendship Hallam died, leaving a bereft Tennyson to devote a number of poems to his memory.
From 1830 to 1833, Tennyson published two more books of poetry. These were not met with outstanding reviews, a fact which greatly disappointment him. His naturally shy disposition would keep him from publishing again for another nine years. Tennyson finally met with some success in 1842 after the publication of this book, Poems in two volumes.
It was in 1850 that Tennyson reached the peak of his career. He published what is considered to be his masterpiece, In Memoriam A.H.H. This piece solidified his reputation and future career and led to his naming as Poet Laureate, following directly behind Williams Wordsworth. He would hold this position until his death.That same year he married Emily Sellwood, with whom he would have two sons.
Tennyson’s popularity and success allowed him to continue writing full time and purchase a home for his family in the country. In 1884 he was named Baron Tennyson, the first person to be raised to a British peerage due to his poetic works. Tennyson continued to write into his 80s and died at the age of 83 in October of 1892. His body was interred at Westminster Abby, and to this day he remains one of the most popular Victorian poets.