Alfred Tennyson

Alfred Tennyson

Alfred Tennyson on prophecy and wisdom in “Locksley Hall”

For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see,
Saw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be;

Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails,
Pilots of the purple twilight, dropping down with costly bales;

Heard the heavens fill with shouting, and there rain’d a ghastly dew
From the nations’ airy navies grappling in the central blue;

Far along the world-wide whisper of the south-wind rushing warm,
With the standards of the peoples plunging thro’ the thunder-storm;

Till the war-drum throbb’d no longer, and the battle-flags were furl’d
In the Parliament of man, the Federation of the world.

There the common sense of most shall hold a fretful realm in awe,
And the kindly earth shall slumber, lapt in universal law.

So I triumph’d, ere my passion sweeping thro’ me left me dry,
Left me with the palsied heart, and left me with the jaundiced eye;

Eye, to which all order festers, all things here are out of joint,
Science moves, but slowly slowly, creeping on from point to point:

Slowly comes a hungry people, as a lion, creeping nigher,
Glares at one that nods and winks behind a slowly-dying fire.

Yet I doubt not thro’ the ages one increasing purpose runs,
And the thoughts of men are widen’d with the process of the suns.

What is that to him that reaps not harvest of his youthful joys,
Tho’ the deep heart of existence beat forever like a boy’s?

Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers, and I linger on the shore,
And the individual withers, and the world is more and more.

Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers, and he bears a laden breast,
Full of sad experience, moving toward the stillness of his rest.
Alfred Tennyson in his poem “Locksley Hall” in Poems, Volume 2, (London: E. Moxon; Boston, Massachusetts: William D. Ticknor, 1842), p. 104. Cited in part by Lee Graves in private email (August 9, 2010).

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"For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see"

Alfred Tennyson on duty and glory

Not once or twice in our rough island-story,
The path of duty was the way to glory:
He that walks it, only thirsting
For the right, and learns to deaden
Love of self, before his journey closes,
He shall find the stubborn thistle bursting
Into glossy purples, which outredden
All voluptuous garden-roses.
Not once or twice in our fair island-story,
The path of duty was the way to glory:
He, that ever following her commands,
On with toil of heart and knees and hands,
Thro’ the long gorge to the far light has won
His path upward, and prevail’d,
Shall find the toppling crags of Duty scaled
Are close upon the shining table-lands
To which our God Himself is moon and sun.
Alfred Tennyson in “Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington“, (1852).
Available in The Poetical Works of Alfred Tennyson, (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1881), p. 161.

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"Not once or twice in our rough island-story"

Alfred Tennyson on the guides of force in nature

I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
Gleams that untravell’d world, whose margin fades
Forever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!
As tho’ to breathe were life. Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains : but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things ; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge, like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.
Alfred Tennyson in his poem Ulysses available in The poetical works of Alfred Tennyson, (1883), p. 88.

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"I am a part of all that I have met"

“Ulysses: A Poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson” posted by 1rgibson

The best I can tell, this video is an introduction to the “Ulysses” multimedia CD-ROM produced by IBM Educational Systems in late 1991 and early 1992. Here’s an informative review of a review, in the venerable Current Cites newsletter:

Flanders, Bruce “Multimedia Programs to Reach an MTV Generation”
American Libraries 23(2) (February 1992):135-137. An article directed towards the general library audience conveys the author’s impressions of two IBM multimedia products: Columbus: Encounter, Discovery and Beyond and the, perhaps mis-named, Illuminated Books and Manuscripts. IBM’s Educational Systems will certainly make a splash with these products (expected in June 1992) which need OS/2 (or DOS 4.0) and Micro Channel Architecture support provided by a new workstation. High-end hardware requirements aside, IBM seems determined to catch Apple in the multimedia arena, although the $2,000 price tag on each title may cause some to balk. The titles in Illuminated Books include Tennyson’s Ulysses, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, The Declaration of Independence, Dr. King’s Letters From Birmingham Jail and John Neihardt’s Black Elk Speaks. Flanders presents a more in-depth view of the products in “IBM’s Impressive Multimedia Educational Programs” CD-ROM Librarian 7(1) (January 1992):32-36. — MT

— Mark Takaro in Current Cites, Volume 3, Number 3, March 1992.
Library Technology Watch Program, University of California, Berkeley
Edited by David F.W. Robison, ISSN: 1060-2356.


  • Added initial background material about video [ gf 12.27.2009 early am @ Shoal Creek, ATX ].

Thank You’s

I was inspired to find this poem after encountering this tweet by @jezzzer.