Alfred, Lord 1st Tennyson (1809-1892)
Poet, was the fourth son of George Tennyson, Rector of Somersby, Lincolnshire, where he was born. After his early education at home, he went to the Grammar School of Louth and then to Trinity College, Cambridge. At the University he joined a group of highly gifted men, including Trench, Monckton Milnes,and later Lord Houghton, Alford, Lushington, his future brother-in-law, and above all, Arthur Hallam, whose close friendship and early death became the main inspiration of his greatest poem. In 1829 he won the Chancellors medal with a poem on Timbuctoo, and in the following year he brought out his first independent work, Poems, Chiefly Lyrical. Though it wasn't favourably received by the critics, Wilson in Blackwoods Magazine praised him as a new poet. In 1832 he travelled a lot with Hallam, and the same year his Poems were eventually published. When Hallam died, Tennyson began writing In Memoriam and The Two Voices. He also became engaged to Emily Sellwood, his future wife, but various circumstances put off their marriage until 1850. The next few years were spent with his family and he remained silent until 1842, when he published Poems in two volumes, achieving full recognition as a poet. The publication of his later works were almost the only events which marked his life.
The year 1850 was perhaps the most eventful in his life: his marriage took place and, according to what he said, brought the peace of God into my life, his succession to the Laureateship on the death of Wordsworth, and the publication of his greatest poem, In Memoriam. In 1852 appeared his noble Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington; and two years later The Charge of the Light Brigade. Tennyson, who cared little for social life, though he had many intimate and devoted friends, lived in Farringford, Isle of Wight, from 1853-69, where he built a house at Aldworth, near Haslemere. But in 1886 the younger of his two sons died, a heavy blow for him; soon after frequent attacks of illness occured to him, and died on October 6;1892 at the age of 84. he was given a public funeral in Westminster Abbey.
The poetry of Tennyson is marked by a wide outlook, by intense sympathy and aspirations of humanity, a profound realisation of the problems of life and a noble patriotism. In such poems as The Revenge, the Charge of the Light Brigade, and the Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington, there's an exquisite sense of beauty and minute descriptions often achieved with a single felicitous phrase. No poet has ever excelled him in precision and delicacy of language. As a lyrist he has, perhaps, no superiors; taking into consideration his massive poetical output as well as his central influence on that time, he must be ranged among the finest english poets.
From Biographical Dictionary of English Literature - the Everyman Edition of 1910