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Tennyson: Selected Poems

4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,894 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
Treasury of verse by the great Victorian poet includes the famous long narrative poem, Enoch Arden, plus "The Lady of Shalott," "The Charge of the Light Brigade," "Break, break, break," "Flower in the crannied Wall" and more. Also included are excerpts from three longer works: The Princess, "Maud" and "The Brook."
Paperback, 400 pages
Published April 7th 1992 by Penguin Classics (first published 1870)
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Do I like Tennyson? I wasn't sure. Like many, perhaps, I had an image in my mind of a brooding, bearded patriarch:

and a hazy memory of poems read at school such as "Locksley Hall", but no lines actually sprang to mind. So in a way I went into reading him "blind". I was surprised.

Poem after poem seemed to be about women - beautiful, passive women - and full of the poet's melancholy, and feelings of aching desolation. Perhaps these were his early poems, I wondered. My selection was taken from Ten

For even and morn
Ever will be
Thro' eternity.
Nothing was born;
Nothing will die;
All things will change.

- Nothing Will Die

Lord Alfred Tennyson was a poet of the highest calibre, a man who almost made the myths of poets being descended from the gods a reality. His poetry, as it stands, is both in a class of its own and part of the grand literature of his era (the mid 1800s). It is radiant, moral, mythological and artistic poetry. T.S. Eliot certainly gets it correct when he states that the three
Jan 08, 2009 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
This book is an old friend; I've been reading it since before I understood half the things he was saying. It's not too often you find verses by one of the grand old masters that inspire similar feelings to those called up by a mug of hot chocolate and a huggable teddy bear.
Marriage Morning

Light, so low upon earth,
You send a flash to the sun.
Here is the golden close of love,
All my wooing is done.
Oh, the woods and the meadows,
Woods where we hid from the wet,
Stiles where we stay'd to be kind,
Meadows in which we met!

Light, so low in the vale
You flash and lighten afar,
For this is the golden morning of love,
And you are his morning start.
Flash, I am coming, I come,
By meadow and stile and wood,
Oh, lighten into my eyes and heart,
Into my heart and my blood!

Heart, are you g
Aug 26, 2008 Heather rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite collection of poetry. Tennyson just speaks to me, for some reason. My first taste of Tennyson was "The Lotus Eaters" which I studied in High School in connection with "The Odyssey." I get warm fuzzies just thinking about Tennyson and Homer.
lauren kellie
Jun 22, 2016 lauren kellie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, own, nonfiction, poetry
This truth within thy mind rehearse,
That in a boundless universe
Is boundless better, boundless worse.
J. Alfred
Jul 14, 2009 J. Alfred rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is a certain way my professor used to say he liked something: he used to say it in a way that is sort of an attack on any opposite opinion, as if if someone did not like that particular thing, they had some 'splanin to do. Try and picture that sort of expression used in the following statement: I LIKE TENNYSON. I like him a lot. I love the way he takes periphrial characters, like Mariana or Oenone, and creates beautiful laments for them. I like the way he embraces the Romantic, yet stays s ...more
D Hendrix
Mar 26, 2011 D Hendrix rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"... and tho' we are not that strength which in old days
moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak in time and fate, but strong in will
to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield."

It is a testament to the poetry of this Lord Tennyson that I know those lines by heart. Truly, my favorite poets are of Irish extraction but I hold a special place in my heart for the words of Tennyson.
Mar 09, 2012 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
19th Century poetry is beautiful. Tennyson's works are pure bliss. When I read his poems, I just go off into a distant land in my head, and everything else just fades away. It's so freaky, but I love it, and I love Tennyson. I can't wait to start on his novels. Ahh.
Melanie Kulbaba
Mar 20, 2013 Melanie Kulbaba rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep moans round with many voices.
Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world. "

Love it!
Dec 11, 2014 Timothy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, own
Tears, Idle Tears

Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.

Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,
That brings our friends up from the underworld,
Sad as the last which reddens over one
That sinks with all we love below the verge;
So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.

Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns
The earli
Oct 14, 2008 Bruce rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had never before concentrated on reading a large selection of Tennyson’s poetry at one time, having previously read only popular snippets in high school and college English classes, so this collection was an opportunity and a treat, and I came away from it with a number of impressions. Tennyson’s work is filled with Classical allusions – the very titles of many poems are revelatory: “The Lotus Eaters,” “Ulysses,” “Tithonus,” “Tiresias” – and such allusions are rich and wonderful if one has kno ...more
Jun 06, 2012 Amalie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good edition easy to use in the classroom and affordable. The editorial note is brief but covers up important facts such as a Chronology of important dates and events concerning Tennyson's life. This however does not include an introduction so for new-readers might find it to be an obstacle but a trip to a library will solve that, I guess.

The collection covers 56 of Tennyson's most memorable poems. Also included here are extracts from "The Princess", "Maud" "Idylls of the King", poems
Richard Smith
Sep 14, 2015 Richard Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Few poets bewitch like Tennyson. Ulysses I read again and again, and I wonder about Crossing the Bar for my funeral. His obsession with death chimes with me, and it was grief that made him a great poet. It can have its upside.
Nov 27, 2007 Nathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i bought this book when i was working on 'i am a camera.' i had no money at the time and this book was twice as expensive as all the other tennyson books, but it was also much more beautiful than the other ones. i stood in the aisle of biography books and picked it up and put it down and picked it up again, all the while concocting ways i could save money in other areas and have the better book. i decided for the next few weeks i would just eat my dinner out of cans, clutched the book to me and ...more
Jun 06, 2015 Neil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

"Ours not to reason why,
ours but to do and die."

Often wondered where this line came from. Now i know. The Charge of the Light Brigade.

Great poetry.
Mar 25, 2013 Ariel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Hateful is the dark-blue sky,
Vaulted o'er the dark-blue sea.
Death is the end of life; ah, why
Should life all labour be?
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 silence; ripen, fa
Sep 19, 2012 Derek rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dark house, by which once more I stand
Here in the long unlovely street,
Doors, where my heart was used to beat
So quickly, waiting for a hand,

A hand that can be clasp'd no more—
Behold me, for I cannot sleep,
And like a guilty thing I creep
At earliest morning to the door.

He is not here; but far away
The noise of life begins again,
And ghastly thro' the drizzling rain
On the bald street breaks the blank day.
Owen Lucas
Jan 30, 2016 Owen Lucas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, literature
Q: Who is the greatest poet writing in English after Wordsworth's time and before Eliot's?
A: Tennyson.

Thanks to my friend Larry for his oft-repeated request that I read "In Memoriam A.H.H." as soon as practically possible. His insistence turned out to be entirely justified!
Nov 26, 2012 Sebastian rated it really liked it
Poetry that seems to flow from a deep hollow within Tennyson's soul. The only qualm I have with this book is it's lack of the complete Idylls of the King, but one can't have everything.

It little profits that an idle king1,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Matched with an agèd wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
No wonder Tennyson is my favorite poet. His poems can be as somber as death and then turn around and the next one be light and airy. And he can do that in the same poem. Oh! I wish I could write like him!
Apr 20, 2013 Kuniko rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-buy
I love Victorian poets and Tennyson is probably my favorite. "Maud" is my favorite poem; it's so dark and twisted. I wish poets still wrote things like this today.
Jan 27, 2013 Maisie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
I love Tennyson, I have had to read his poems in English atm and I surprisingly like his works. Tithonus is my favourite, I think, along with The Lotus Eaters
Susie Spizzirro
Jan 13, 2014 Susie Spizzirro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is almost impossible to say anything about Tennyson, One of our greatest. I could sit with his poems for hours, reading over and over.
Li Seagull
Liked some of his poems but not all. My favorites include stuff like Locksley Hall and of course Ulysses.
Dec 23, 2014 Monica rated it it was ok
Shelves: trivia
I tried... really, I did. But it felt like I was at one of those theater college parties where half of the people were drunk and singing along to a guitar player and the other half were having a deep philosophical discussion about the meaning of life and love and history and using words I didn't understand. And I was somewhere in the middle of these two groups, not fitting into either one of them. I tried to fit in, I tried to understand where they were coming from, but I didn't... and I didn't ...more
Jonathan Hutchins
Three months to read Christopher Ricks's Tennyson selection, a volume of only 384 pages including notes, plus Introduction. In a physiotherapist's reception area, while waiting in the car to pick my partner up from work, and finally in a burst of sustained attention, at home in the last couple of days. This says more about my rustiness in reading poetry and my ambivalent feelings than about the quality and interest of the poetry itself. It is 'full of quotations', of course, and the sonorous bla ...more
Jul 27, 2009 Barry is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I have known Tennyson's poems for a long time without knowing I did; "The Lady of Shalott" is beautifully put to music by Celtic singer Loreena McKennitt, about a lost time of chivalry, knights, and damsels in distress, as well as mirrors cracking. "Tithonus" is a hauntingly written poem about a man granted immortality but not the gift of staying young. Other poems that I have read so far are written in such a potently lyrical, saddened, sharp style as to be wholly original and startling. Tennys ...more
Apr 18, 2016 Morgane rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ehh. His poems can certainly be beautiful (and some were absolutely spectacular), but it's just not my thing.
Lauren Davis
May 23, 2016 Lauren Davis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps the perfect Victorian poet--lyric, brooding, macabre, romantic, religious--as English as tea and scones in the shaded garden next to the church graveyard.
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Alfred Tennyson was born in Somersby, Lincolnshire, the fourth of the twelve children of George Tennyson, clergyman, and his wife, Elizabeth. In 1816 Tennyson was sent to Louth Grammar School, which he disliked so intensely that from 1820 he was educated at home until at the age of 18 he joined his two brothers at Trinity College, Cambridge and with his brother Charles published his first book, Po ...more
More about Alfred Tennyson...

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“Willows whiten, aspens quiver, little breezes dusk and shiver, thro' the wave that runs forever by the island in the river, flowing down to Camelot. Four gray walls and four gray towers, overlook a space of flowers, and the silent isle imbowers, the Lady of Shalott.” 63 likes
“that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
More quotes…