An Impression of Tennyson

Poet Laureate from 1850, writes Joanna Richardson, Tennyson became an acknowledged interpreter of Victorian morals and politics.

On St. George's Day day, April 23rd, 1850, William Wordsworth died, and the search began for a poet whose character and powers entitled him to be the Poet Laureate - the first poet of England. On November 5th a letter was sent to Tennyson from Windsor, offering him the Laureateship. He took a day or two to consider whether or not he would accept the honour. He said that George Stovin Venables, the barrister and correspondent of The Times, had ensured his answer.

‘In the end’, said Tennyson,

‘I accepted the honour because during dinner Venables told me that if I became Poet Laureate I should always, when I dined out, be offered the liver wing of the chicken.’

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