Saturday, October 13, 2012

Classic Poetry ~ "Vivien's Song " by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

 Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1809 - 1892

Alfred, Lord Tennyson is considered the greatest poet of Victorian England. He wrote poetry as a child, penning a six-thousand-line epic poem when he was twelve. He was published by age 17. At Cambridge University, which he left before receiving his degree, his early success and moods both intimidated and impressed others. This was, in all likelihood, the time of onset for what many believe was bipolar disorder, the serious mental illness which presented itself in many members of  his family.

Despite a 10-year period during which he did not write, Alfred produced numerous collections before being named Britain's Poet Laureate when he was only 41, succeeding William Wordsworth. A dedicated craftsman who meticulously honored form, diction, rhyme scheme and meter,  he wrote poetry spanning the emotional spectrum,  from uplifting buoyancy to deep despair. In Vivien's Song, he examines unfaithfulness and its effects on relationship, a topic that is lively and pertinent still.

Vivien's Song

‘IN Love, if Love be Love, if Love be ours,

Faith and unfaith can ne’er be equal powers:

Unfaith in aught is want of faith in all.

  ‘It is the little rift within the lute,

That by and by will make the music mute,
And ever widening slowly silence all.

  ‘The little rift within the lover’s lute

Or little pitted speck in garnered fruit,

That rotting inward slowly moulders all.

  ‘It is not worth the keeping: let it go:
But shall it? answer, darling, answer, no.

And trust me not at all or all in all’.


  1. Third stanza, wow. A showpiece of craft and emotion.

  2. What a beautiful poem of Tennyson's you have shared, Kim! Haven't read his work in a long time.

  3. This is lovely, and I had not read it before. I especially love "it is the little rift within the lute that by and by will make the music mute" Thanks for this, Kim. Great pick.

  4. I love the lyrical tone! And the idea of mute, so clever and fun to read~ I have never heard of this one. I will have to go read some more of his admirable work! :D Thanks Kim~

  5. He certainly had wonderful lyrical gifts as well as the ability to think profoundly, and I suppose it is true that he is generally considered the greatest of the Victorians ... yet I love and admire Arnold even more.


This community is not meant to be used in a negative manner. We ask that you be respectful of all the people on this site as each individual writer is entitled to their own opinion, style, and path to creativity.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Blog Archive