TENNYSON, ALFRED Lord (1809-1892, poet)
Lot 232
TENNYSON, ALFRED Lord (1809-1892, poet)
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TENNYSON, ALFRED Lord (1809-1892, poet)
UNPUBLISHED AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED ('Ever yours - in great haste to save post - ATennyson'), ABOUT QUEEN VICTORIA, to Lady Augusta [Bruce, sister of Lord Elgin, a Woman of the Bedchamber of the Queen and soon to be the wife of A.P. Stanley, Dean of Westminster], on the occasion of the marriage of the Prince of Wales, containing a remarkable statement about the Queen's selflessness and stoicism in the face of her 'lifelong sorrow', the death of Prince Albert ('...I trust that the Queen bears this joy as she bears her lifelong sorrow. One feels that man (or woman) is lifted to a divine height who can so bury his own sorrow far in the sacred depths of the heart that joyless himself he mars no joy but makes that of his own. This loyal fury of love & devotion is a glorious thing. Great must be the comfort to the Queen that He - tho missed of all - shares so much of it as he evidently does...'); Tennyson also asks Lady Augusta to present to the Queen 'this little song of welcome' [his A Welcome, 1863] if she thinks the Queen would like it and to obtain permission to have it presented to Princess Alexandra on her marriage to the future Edward VII, and trusts that the princess will prove all to the Queen and the nation that he believes she will, 2 pages, octavo, no place, 6 March 1863


  • The devoted, mutually sympathetic friendship between Tennyson and Victoria, caught so charmingly in Max Beerbohm's caricature of him reading to her, is well known, and is clearly reflected in the present letter. Shortly after Prince Albert's death, Tennyson had made his first visit to the Queen and In Memoriam was to be 'the only book, besides religious books, to which Her Majesty turns for comfort' and like theIdylls of the King with its 'glorious' tribute to Albert, 'soothed her aching bleeding heart.' At the time of John Brown's death, Victoria read In Memoriam again and Tennyson wrote the two lines for the pedestal of the bronze statue of Brown. Tennyson was delighted 'with the breadth and freedom and penetration of her mind'; she was 'struck by the greatness and largeness of his.' Emily Tennyson noted that 'The Queen's manner towards him is child-like and charming, and they both express their opinions freely.' It has been said that 'in a sense, and in part, Tennyson during his last phase, filled Brown's place' (Charles Tennyson, Dear and Honoured Lady). On his death, Victoria wrote of her grief 'that the great poet and kind friend has left this world...[he] was always very kind and sympathising to me, quite remarkably so.' Tennyson was a pall-bearer at the funeral of Lady Augusta who had married Dean Stanley in December 1863.
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