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Happy Birthday Alfred Lord Tennyson!

08.07.09 Posted in Birthdays, today's words by

August 6, 1809, Alfred Lord Tennyson was born! He was a Victorian poet,
the longest-appointed Poet Laureate in the UK, and the first writer
given a British title. He is known as a master of meter, and his poetry
is fluid and musical. One of his finest works was written over a
17-year period and it was about the death of his dearest friend (who
was engaged to Tennyson’s sister at the time of his cerebral hemorrhage
and consequent demise). The poem,
In Memoriam A.H.H., was
reported to be a favorite of Queen Victoria. It is broken into 133
cantos and covers topics from philosophy to religion to science, all
within the broader context of abiding grief and the enduring aspect of
mourning. Canto 27, “I envy not in any moods,” is one of the most often
quoted of Tennyson’s much-quoted poems. Read it aloud and then say
Happy 200th Birthday Alfred Lord Tennyson!
Canto 27, “I envy not in any moods”
By Alfred Lord Tennyson
(In Memoriam A.H.H., first published in 1850, later included in Poems, Macmillan, 1908)

I envy not in any moods
The captive void of noble rage,
The linnet born within the cage,
That never knew the summer woods:

I envy not the beast that takes
His license in the field of time,
Unfetter’d by the sense of crime,
To whom a conscience never wakes;

Nor, what may count itself as blest,
The heart that never plighted troth
But stagnates in the weeds of sloth;
Nor any want-begotten rest.

I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

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