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Creator / Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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Half a league, half a league, half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death rode the six hundred.
"Forward, the Light Brigade! "Charge for the guns!" he said,
Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred.
"The Charge of the Light Brigade"

Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson (6 August 1809 – 6 October 1892) was an English poet and poet laureate from 1852 onwards. Tennyson is perhaps best known for his epic eulogy In Memoriam which was dedicated to his best friend Arthur Hallam who died tragically young at the age of twenty two. Other poems of Tennyson include "Locksley Hall", "The Lady of Shalott", "Ulysses", and "The Charge of the Light Brigade".


Works with their own pages:

Other tropes in Tennyson's work include:

  • Age Without Youth: The title character of "Tithonus" asks for his "gift" of eternal life to be taken away, as it is worthless without also having eternal youth. Alas, "the Gods themselves cannot recall their gifts." The trope namer could just as easily be "cruel immortality."
    Me only cruel immortality
    Consumes. I wither slowly in thine arms.
  • Blue Blood: Dismissed as unimportant in "Lady Clara Vere de Vere"
    Trust me, Clara Vere de Vere,
    From yon blue heavens above us bent
    The gardener Adam and his wife
    Smile at the claims of long descent.
    Howe'er it be, it seems to me,
    'Tis only noble to be good.
    Kind hearts are more than coronets,
    And simple faith than Norman blood.
  • Cycle of Revenge: In "The Voyage of Maeldune", the hero is told to forbear his revenge because
    And his white hair sank to his heels, and his white beard fell to his feet,
    And he spake to me, 'O Maeldune, let be this purpose of thine!
    Remember the words of the Lord when he told us, "Vengeance is mine!"
    His fathers have slain thy fathers in war or in single strife.
    Thy fathers have slain his fathers, each taken a life for a life,
    Thy father had slain his father, how long shall the murder last?
    Go back to the Isle of Finn and suffer the Past to be Past.
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  • Don't Fear the Reaper: The elegy "Crossing the Bar", which is about accepting death, using the metaphor of a ship crossing a sandbar as it puts out to sea. Tennyson requested that it be placed last in collections of his poetry, and it usually has been ever since his death.
    I hope to see my Pilot face to face
    When I have crost the bar.
  • Fictional United Nations: One part of "Locksley Hall" (1842) has the narrator speculating on the future. After correctly predicting aviation, aerial commerce, and aerial combat, the narrator predicts the wars will be ended by "the Parliament of man, the Federation of the world".
  • If I Can't Have You...: This is one of the many ways in which the narrator of "Locksley Hall" is bitter about the course his life has taken, to the point where he says it would be better if he'd killed his lover Amy than for her to be married to a lesser man, though from context it doesn't seem like he actually believes that. He ends up decrying all women as inferior and unintelligent, which reads more as "sour grapes" than anything, especially given Tennyson's progressive views on women in real life, and given that the narrator had complimented her intelligence (among other things) several times while insulting her husband. Moreover, this is his attitude towards everything he thinks he can't have.
  • Kraken and Leviathan: Tennyson's poem "The Kraken," a Trope Maker.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: In "The Charge of the Light Brigade," the unnamed commander comes across as this: "Forward the Light Brigade! Charge for the guns!" he said... "Forward the Light Brigade!" Was there a man dismayed? Not though the soldier knew someone had blundered. Theirs not to make reply. Theirs not to reason why. Theirs but to do and die...
  • Unable to Cry: In the poem "Home They Brought Her Warrior Dead" (inspired by the "First Lay of Gudrun" in the Poetic Edda), a queen does neither weep nor speak when her husband is brought home dead. Her handmaids believe she will die if she does not weep, but their efforts have no effect until an old nurse brings the queen's child to her. The queen weeps, saying she will live on for his and her child.
  • War Is Glorious / War Is Hell: "The Charge of the Light Brigade" plays both tropes simultaneously - lauding the courageous charge while also lamenting how many were killed and injured.note 
  • Wife Husbandry: The legendary King Cophetua had no interest in women until he fell in love with a beggar child and decided to raise her to be his queen. This story is best known through Tennyson's poem "The Beggar Maid."


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