Thursday, 6 August 2009

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

It was Mrs. B. who was charged with teaching some English Literature to 3A.  We weren't very fond of Mrs. B., not even when our class teacher assured us she was really quite fun, had once had too many glasses of sherry, fallen asleep and woken to find her toes were "all curled up like little rosebuds". 

So, poor Mrs. B. had an uphill struggle to teach us to appreciate poetry. All the same, she must have done something right because I still remember where Tennyson went to school (in Louth, in the same county as our school - give or take 200 years) and this passage from the Lotus Eaters:

There is sweet music here that softer falls
Than petals from blown roses on the grass,
Or night-dews on still waters between walls
Of shadowy granite, in a gleaming pass;
Music that gentlier on the spirit lies,
Than tir'd eyelids upon tir'd eyes;
Music that brings sweet sleep down from the blissful skies.
Here are cool mosses deep,
And thro' the moss the ivies creep,
And in the stream the long-leaved flowers weep,
And from the craggy ledge the poppy hangs in sleep.

I read today that 6 August 2009 is the 200th anniversary of Tennyson's birth, and all at once all these snippets of information came popping back into my mind.  But I have to tell you, Mrs. B., while the phrase does linger in the mind, describing toes as rosebuds just doesn't work.


  1. That's beautiful. So is the picture.

    So he was born on the same day Marilyn Monroe died. Give or take 200 years and a day.

    Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.

    I really, really liked this post.

  2. Toes-buds?

    Tell us about the river. Even I can tell it isn't the usual one.

  3. toes as rosebuds... nay not a chance with my feet lol. I love Tennyson despite not being taught him at school I came to love him and in particular his Charge of the Light Brigade a poignant set of verses on the futility of war but the importance of following orders.

    My copy of Tennyson is 1897, and I paid £20 to have it rebound in 1987 as the cover was falling apart.. it is safely packed awaiting transport to Cornwall.

  4. The perfect photo for that poem. I love Tennyson.

  5. Agree with all previous comments, BUT one would have to be seriously besotted to liken toes to rosebuds, n'est-ce pas?

  6. Tennyson was one of the greats and to hear the music he wrote with words is genius.

  7. It's the first time I hear of Tennyson. I'm going to check him out.
    Happy weekend!

  8. @Max, thank you Max. I didn't know about Marilyn Monroe's death being so near. In a way, it is the same river I usually show, but it's the channel that comes from the mill. I would call it a mill chase. Somewhere I have a very old picture of it when there were almost no trees at all.

    @Sage, I love the Charge of the Light Brigade too, but I had no illustration. That must be a beautiful book you have.

    @Janet, thanks. I had another photo in mind for Lady of Shalott, but couldn't find it.

    @j, even as a 13 year-old, I thought it seemed a very strange image.

    @Shutterbug, yes, one of the greats.

    @ECL, do check him out, you may find you enjoy his work. Happy weekend to you too!

  9. Beautiful poem, the toes as rosebuds do not bother me. August 6th? My son's birthday, he turned 35. God I am old. :)

  10. @ettarose, you clearly have nice feet in your family. :) My son isn't so very far behind yours.


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