Handwritten Lines from "The Brook"
Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson, (1809 – 1892), was named British Poet Laureate after Wordsworth’s death in 1850 and served until 1892, making his tenure in the position the longest of any Poet Laureate before or since. His poetry is among the world’s most famous, and includes poems such as “Break, Break, Break,” “Ulysses,” “the Charge of the Light Brigade,” and of course the poem regarded as his masterwork, “In Memoriam.”
An Explanation of the Document
The manuscript in the Frellsen Fletcher Smith Collection contains the fourth, fifth, and sixth stanzas of Tennyson’s poem “The Brook.” “The Brook” was originally published in Maud and Other Poems in 1855, making it Tennyson’s first published collection of poetry after he was named Poet Laureate. This manuscript, written in Tennyson’s hand, is dated 26 years later, March 26, 1881, but it was not an uncommon practice for Tennyson to write out previously published verse to present to friends and admirers.
For more information about this poem, see it on display in the Frellsen Fletcher Smith Collection on the 4th floor of the Prescott Memorial Library.
- Dr. Rick Simmons, Department of English, Louisiana Tech University