« PreviousContinue »
HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY
Chicago : 378-388 Wabash Avenue
All rights reserved.
Det ducador Library
The Riverside Press, Cambridge, Mass., U. S. A.
ALFRED TENNYSON was the third of twelve children of the Rev. George Clayton Tennyson, LL.D., rector of the village of Somersby, in Lincolnshire, and was born on August 6, 1809. So apart from the world was Somersby that even the news of Waterloo did not reach it for some time after the great victory was won. The low fen country of England in which the village lies has indeed such a quiet beauty of its own that it seems the very home of peace. Such surroundings were as well adapted as any could have been for the development of a nature like Tennyson's. Thackeray's daughter, Mrs. Ritchie, has given the most suggestive glimpses of the poet's childhood. She tells of him as a sturdy boy of five, opening his arms to the wind, letting himself be blown along by it, and as he went, making his first line of poetry, “I hear a voice that's speaking in the wind.”
Another story of Mrs. Ritchie's must be told, as showing how a family of young people who nearly all were to do something one day in poetry entertained themselves : “ These handsome children had, beyond most children, that wondrous toy at their command which some people call imagination. The boys played great games like Arthur's knights; they were champions and warriors defending a stone heap, or again they would set up opposing camps with a king in the midst of each. . . . When dinner-time came, and they all sat round the table, each in turn put a chapter of