Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 8

Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson, FRS (6 August 1809 6 October 1892) was Poet Laureate of Great Britain

n and Ireland during much of Queen Victoria's reign and remains one of the most popular British poets.[2] Tennyson excelled at penning short lyrics, such as "Break, Break, Break", "The Charge of the Light Brigade", "Tears, Idle Tears" and "Crossing the Bar". Much of his verse was based on classical mythological themes, such as Ulysses, although In Memoriam A.H.H. was written to commemorate his best friend Arthur Hallam, a fellow poet and fellow student at Trinity College, Cambridge, who was engaged to Tennyson's sister, but died from a brain haemorrhage before they could marry. Tennyson also wrote some notable blank verse including Idylls of the King, "Ulysses", and "Tithonus". During his career, Tennyson attempted drama, but his plays enjoyed little success. A number of phrases from Tennyson's work have become commonplaces of the English language, including "Nature, red in tooth and claw", "'Tis better to have loved and lost / Than never to have loved at all", "Theirs not to reason why, / Theirs but to do and die", "My strength is as the strength of ten, / Because my heart is pure", "To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield", "Knowledge comes, but Wisdom lingers", and "The old order changeth, yielding place to new". He is the ninth most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations The Lotos-Eaters is a poem by Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson, published in Tennyson's 1832 poetry collection. It was inspired by his trip to Spain with his close friend Arthur Hallam, where they visited the Pyrenees mountains. The poem describes a group of mariners who, upon eating the lotos, are put into an altered state and isolated from the outside world.

Background
In the summer of 1829, Tennyson and Arthur Hallam made a trek into conflict torn northern Spain. The scenery and experience influenced a few of his poems, including Oenone, The Lotus-Eaters and "Mariana in the South".[1] These three poems, and some others, were later revised for Tennyson's 1842 collection.[2] In this revision Tennyson takes the opportunity to rewrite a section of The Lotus Eaters by inserting a new stanza before the final stanza. The new stanza describes how someone may have the feelings of wholeness even when there is great loss. It is alleged by some that the stanza refers to the sense of loss felt by Tennyson upon the death of Hallam in 1833.[3]

Poem
The mariners are put into an altered state when they eat the lotos. During this time, they are isolated from the world:[4]

Branches they bore of that enchanted stem, Laden with flower and fruit, whereof they gave To each, but whoso did receive of them And taste, to him the gushing of the wave Far far away did seem to mourn and rave On alien shores; and if his fellow spake, His voice was thin, as voices from the grave; And deep-asleep he seemd, yet all awake, And music in his ears his beating heart did make. (lines 2836) The mariners explain that they want to leave reality and their worldly cares:[4] Why are we weighd upon with heaviness, And utterly consumed with sharp distress, While all things else have rest from weariness? All things have rest: why should we toil alone, We only toil, who are the first of things, And make perpetual moan, Still from one sorrow to another thrown; Nor ever fold our wings, And cease from wanderings, Nor steep our brows in slumbers holy balm; Nor harken what the inner spirit sings, 'There is no joy but calm!" Why should we only toil, the roof and crown of things? (lines 5769) The mariners demonstrate that they realize what actions they are committing and the potential results that will follow, but they believe that their destruction will bring about peace:[5] Let us alone. Time driveth onward fast, And in a little while our lips are dumb. Let us alone. What is it that will last? All things are taken from us, and become Portions and parcels of the dreadful past. Let us alone. What pleasure can we have To war with evil? Is there any peace In ever climbing up the climbing wave? All things have rest, and ripen toward the grave In silenceripen, fall, and cease: Give us long rest or death, dark death, or dreamful ease. (lines 8898) Although the mariners are isolated from the world, they are connected in that they act in unison. This relationship continues until the very end when the narrator describes their brotherhood as they abandon the world:[6]

Let us swear an oath, and keep it with an equal mind, In the hollow Lotos-land to live and lie reclined On the hills like Gods together, careless of mankind. For they lie beside their nectar, and the bolts are hurld Far below them in the valleys, and the clouds are lightly curld Round their golden houses, girdled with the gleaming world; Where they smile in secret, looking over wasted lands, Blight and famine, plague and earthquake, roaring deeps and fiery sands, Clanging fights, and flaming towns, and sinking ships, and praying hands. But they smile, they find a music centred in a doleful song Steaming up, a lamentation and an ancient tale of wrong, Like a tale of little meaning tho the words are strong; Chanted from an ill-used race of men that cleave the soil, Sow the seed, and reap the harvest with enduring toil, Storing yearly little dues of wheat, and wine and oil; Till they perish and they suffersome, tis whisperddown in hell Suffer endless anguish, others in Elysian valleys dwell, Resting weary limbs at last on beds of asphodel. Surely, surely, slumber is more sweet than toil, the shore Than labor in the deep mid-ocean, wind and wave and oar; O, rest ye, brother mariners, we will not wander more. (lines 154173)

Themes
The form of the poem contains a dramatic monologue, which connects it to "Ulysses", St. Simeon Stylites, and Rizpah. However, Tennyson changes the monologue format to allow for ironies to be revealed.[7] The story of The Lotos-Eaters comes from Homer's The Odyssey. However, the story of the mariners in Homer's work has an opposite theme than Tennyson's since the latter's mariners are able to recognize morality. Their arguments are also connected to the words spoken by Despair in Edumund Spenser's The Faerie Queene, Book One. With the connection to Spenser, Tennyson's story depicts the mariners as going against Christianity. However, the reader is the one who is in the true dilemma, as literary critic James Kincaid argues, "The final irony is that both the courageous Ulysses and the mariners who eat the lotos have an easier time of it than the reader; they, at least, can make choices and dissolve the tension."[5] Tennyson ironically invokes "The Lover's Tale" line 118, "A portion of the pleasant yesterday", in line 92 of The Lotos-Eaters: "Portions and parcels of the dreadful past". In the reversal, the idea of time as a protector of an individual is reversed to depict time as the destroyer of the individual. There is also a twist of the traditionally comic use of repetition within the refrain "Let us alone", which is instead used in a desperate and negative manner. The use of irony within The Lotos-Eaters is different from Tennyson's "The Lady of Shalott" since "the Lady" lacks control over her life. The mariners within The Lotos-Eaters are able to make an argument, and they argue that death is a completion of life. With this argument, they push for a release of tension that serves only to create more tension. Thus, the mariners are appealing yet unappealing at the same time.[8]

In structure, The Lotos-Eaters is somewhere between the form of Oenone and The Hesperides. In terms of story, The Lotos-Eaters is not obscure like The Hesperides nor as all-encompassing as Oenone but it still relies on a frame like the other two. The frame is like The Hesperides as it connects two different types of reality, one of separation and one of being connected to the world. Like Oenone, the frame outlines the song within the poem, and it allows the existence of two different perspectives that can be mixed at various points within the poem. The perspective of the mariners is connected to the perspective of the reader in a similar way found in The Hesperides, and the reader is called to follow that point of view in order to enjoy the poem. As such, the reader is a participant within the work but they are not guided by Tennyson to a specific answer. As James Kincaid argues, "in this poem the reader takes over the role of voyager the mariners renounce, using sympathy for a sail and judgment for a rudder. And if, as many have argued, the poem is 'about' the conflict between isolation and communality, this meaning emerges in the process of reading."[9] The poem discusses the tension between isolation and being a member of a community, which also involves the reader of the poem. In the song, there are many images that are supposed to appeal to the reader. This allows for a sympathy with the mariners. When the mariners ask why everything else besides them are allowed peace, it is uncertain as to whether they are asking about humanity in general or only about their own state of being. The reader is disconnected at that moment from the mariner, especially when the reader is not able to escape into the world of bliss that comes from eating lotos. As such, the questioning is transformed into an expression of self-pity. The reader is able to return to being sympathetic with the mariners when they seek to be united with the world. They describe a system of completion, life unto death, similar to Keats's "To Autumn", but then they reject the system altogether. Instead, they merely want death without having to have the growth and completion before death.

In Memoriam A.H.H. is a poem by the English poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson, completed in 1849. It is a requiem for the poet's Cambridge friend Arthur Henry Hallam, who died suddenly of a cerebral haemorrhage in Vienna in 1833. Because it was written over a period of 17 years, its meditation on the search for hope after great loss touches upon many of the most important and deeply felt concerns of Victorian society. It contains some of Tennyson's most accomplished lyrical work, and is an unusually sustained exercise in lyric verse. It is widely considered to be one of the great poems of the 19th century.[1] The original title of the poem was "The Way of the Soul", and this might give an idea of how the poem is an account of all Tennyson's thoughts and feelings as he copes with his grief over such a long period - including wrestling with the big philosophico-scientific questions of his day. It is perhaps because of this that the poem is still popular with and of interest to modern readers. Owing to its length and its arguable breadth of focus, the poem might not be thought an elegy or a dirge in the strictest formal sense

Form
The poem is not arranged exactly in the order in which it was written. The prologue, for example, is thought to have been one of the last things written. The earliest material is thought to be that which begins "Fair ship, that from the Italian shore | Saileth the placid ocean-plains" and imagines the return of Hallam's body from Italy. Critics believe, however, that the poem as a whole is meant to be chronological in terms of the progression of Tennyson's grief. The passage of time is marked by the three descriptions of Christmas at different points in the poem, and the poem ends with a description of the marriage of Tennyson's sister. "In Memoriam" is written in four-line ABBA stanzas of iambic tetrameter, and such stanzas are now called In Memoriam Stanzas. Though not metrically unusual, given the length of the work, the meter creates a tonal effect which often divides readers - is it the natural sound of mourning and grief, or merely monotonous? The poem is divided into 133 cantos (including the prologue and epilogue), and in contrast to its constant and regulated metrical form, encompasses many different subjects: profound spiritual experiences, nostalgic reminiscence, philosophical speculation, Romantic fantasizing and even occasional verse. The death of Hallam, and Tennyson's attempts to cope with this, remain the strand that ties all these together.

Quotation
The most frequently quoted lines in the poem are perhaps 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. This stanza is to be found in Canto 27. The last two lines are usually taken as offering a meditation on the dissolution of a romantic relationship. However the lines originally referred to the death of the poet's beloved friend. Another much-quoted phrase from the poem is "nature, red in tooth and claw," found in Canto 56, referring to humanity: Who trusted God was love indeed And love Creation's final law Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw With ravine, shriek'd against his creed Also, the following are found in Canto 54 So runs my dream, but what am I? An infant crying in the night An infant crying for the light

And with no language but a cry. "The Lady of Shalott" is a Victorian ballad by the English poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson (18091892). Like his other early poems "Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere" and "Galahad" the poem recasts Arthurian subject matter loosely based on medieval sources. Tennyson wrote two versions of the poem, one published in 1833, of twenty stanzas, the other in 1842 of nineteen stanzas. It was loosely based on the Arthurian legend of Elaine of Astolat, as recounted in a thirteenth-century Italian novella titled Donna di Scalotta (No. LXXXII in the collection Cento Novelle Antiche), with the earlier version being closer to the source material than the later.[1] Tennyson focused on the Lady's "isolation in the tower and her decision to participate in the living world, two subjects not even mentioned in Donna di Scalotta."[2]

Synopsis
The first four stanzas describe a pastoral setting. The Lady of Shalott lives in an island castle in a river which flows to Camelot, but little is known about her by the local farmers. And by the moon the reaper weary, Piling sheaves in uplands airy, Listening, whispers, " 'Tis the fairy Lady of Shalott." Stanzas five to eight describe the lady's life. She suffers from a mysterious curse, and must continually weave images on her loom without ever looking directly out at the world. Instead, she looks into a mirror which reflects the busy road and the people of Camelot which pass by her island. She knows not what the curse may be, And so she weaveth steadily, And little other care hath she, The Lady of Shalott. The reflected images are described as "shadows of the world", a metaphor that makes clear that they are a poor substitute for seeing directly ("I am half-sick of shadows".) Stanzas nine to twelve describe "bold Sir Lancelot" as he rides by, and is seen by the lady. All in the blue unclouded weather Thick-jewell'd shone the saddle-leather, The helmet and the helmet-feather

Burn'd like one burning flame together, As he rode down to Camelot. The remaining seven stanzas describe the effect on the lady of seeing Lancelot; she stops weaving and looks out of her window toward Camelot, bringing about the curse. Out flew the web and floated wideThe mirror crack'd from side to side; "The curse is come upon me," cried The Lady of Shalott. She leaves her tower, finds a boat upon which she writes her name, and floats down the river to Camelot. She dies before arriving at the palace. Among the knights and ladies who see her is Lancelot, who thinks she is lovely. "Who is this? And what is here?" And in the lighted palace near Died the sound of royal cheer; And they crossed themselves for fear, All the Knights at Camelot; But Lancelot mused a little space He said, "She has a lovely face; God in his mercy lend her grace, The Lady of Shalott."

Themes
According to scholar Anne Zanzucchi, "[i]n a more general sense, it is fair to say that the pre-Raphaelite fascination with Arthuriana is traceable to Tennyson's work".[2] Tennyson's biographer Leone Ormonde finds the Arthurian material is "Introduced as a valid setting for the study of the artist and the dangers of personal isolation". Modern critics[citation needed] consider "The Lady of Shalott" to be representative of the dilemma that faces artists, writers, and musicians: to create work about and celebrate the world, or to enjoy the world by simply living in it. Feminist critics [citation needed] see the poem as concerned with issues of women's sexuality and their place in the Victorian world. The fact that the poem works through such complex and polyvalent symbolism indicates an important difference between Tennyson's work and his Arthurian source material.[original research?] While Tennyson's sources tended to work through allegory, Tennyson himself did not. Critics such as Hatfield[citation needed] have suggested that The Lady of Shalott is a representation of how Tennyson viewed society; the distance at which other people are in the lady's eyes is symbolic of the distance he feels from society. The fact that she only sees them through a window pane is significant of the way in which Shalott and

Tennyson see the worldin a filtered sense. This distance is therefore linked to the artistic licence Tennyson often wrote about.

Illustrations of the poem


The poem was particularly popular amongst artists of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, who shared Tennyson's interest in Arthuriana; several of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood made paintings based on episodes from the poem. The 1857 Moxon's edition of Tennyson's works was illustrated by William Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Hunt depicted the moment when the Lady turns to see Lancelot. Rossetti depicted Lancelot's contemplation of her 'lovely face'. Neither illustration pleased Tennyson, who took Hunt to task for depicting the Lady caught in the threads of her tapestry, something which is not described in the poem. Hunt explained that he wanted to sum up the whole poem in a single image, and that the entrapment by the threads suggested her "weird fate". The scene fascinated Hunt, who returned to the composition at points throughout his life, finally painting a large scale version shortly before his death. He required assistants, as he was too frail to complete it himself. This deeply conceived evocation of the Lady, ensnared within the perfect rounds of her woven reality, is an apt illustration of the mythology of the weaving arts. This work is now in the collection of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut. John William Waterhouse painted three episodes from the poem. In 1888, he painted the Lady setting out for Camelot in her boat; this work is now in the Tate Gallery. In 1894, Waterhouse painted the Lady at the climactic moment when she turns to look at Lancelot in the window; this work is now in the City Art Gallery in Leeds. In 1915, Waterhouse painted "I Am Half-Sick of Shadows," Said the Lady of Shalott, as she sits wistfully before her loom; this work is now in the Art Gallery of Ontario. Because of the similarity in the stories, paintings of Elaine of Astolat tend to be very similar to paintings of the Lady of Shalott. The presence of a servant rowing the boat is one aspect that distinguishes them.