“Words, like nature, half reveal and half conceal the soul within.”
“Singing in her song she died, The Lady of Shalott.”
“’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
“Theirs not to make reply, Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die.”
These are just a few of the many great quotes bequeathed to the world by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, but as their tones suggest, they were products of a difficult and often tragic life. Born to a father plagued by bouts of drinking and depression, and surrounded by siblings with similar ailments, Tennyson grew up believing that he must be a victim of hereditary illness, to the point that he believed he must never marry or father children less he perpetuate the suffering on future generations. With these thoughts always in his head, he turned his mind towards a near worship of romantic love, while at the same time repeatedly painting a tragic ending for his most cherished characters, many of whom seemed to die of a broken heart or some illness or accident related to it.
While in college, Tennyson made new friends, young men who might have shown him the lighter side of life, but he became extremely close to one, only to see his friend die a sudden and tragic death much too young. Out of this suffering came the work that would bring Tennyson the most fame and fortune during his lifetime, but it also brought years of grappling with misery as he attempted to carve out some sense of reason in a world devoid of his close companion.