Quotations by Tennyson, Alfred, Lord


I stretch lame hands of faith, and grope,
And gather dust and chaff, and call
To what I feel is Lord of all,
And faintly trust the larger hope.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
“In Memoriam A. H. H.” [Arthur Henry Hallam], part 55, st. 2-5 (1849)
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Flower in the crannied wall,
I pluck you out of the crannies,
I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
Little flower — but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, and all in all,
I should know what God and man is.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
“Flower in the Crannied Wall” (1869)

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Added on 8-Jul-10 | Last updated 8-Jul-10
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I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
“In Memoriam A. H. H.” , Part 27, st. 4 (1849)

Arthur Henry Hallam was the fiancé of Tennyson's sister Emily. Hallam died suddenly in September 1833.
Added on 18-Dec-07 | Last updated 24-Nov-15
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Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow;
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
“In Memoriam A. H. H.” [Arthur Henry Hallam], part 106 (1849)
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Behold, we know not anything;
I can but trust that good shall fall
At last — far off — at last, to all,
And every winter change to spring.
So runs my dream; but what am I?
An infant crying in the night;
An infant crying for the light,
And with no language but a cry.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
“In Memoriam A. H. H.” [Arthur Henry Hallam], part 54, st. 5 (1849)
Added on 23-Dec-10 | Last updated 24-Dec-10
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That loss is common would not make
My own less bitter, rather more:
Too common! Never morning wore
To evening, but some heart did break.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
“In Memoriam A. H. H.” [Arthur Henry Hallam], Part 6, st. 1-2 (1849)
Added on 11-Nov-10 | Last updated 11-Nov-10
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There lives more faith in honest doubt,
Believe me, than in half the creeds.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
“In Memoriam A. H. H.” [Arthur Henry Hallam], XCVI, st. 3 (1849)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 4-Jun-10
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O, yet we trust that somehow good
Will be the final goal of ill,
To pangs of nature, sins of will,
Defects of doubt, and taints of blood;
That nothing walks with aimless feet;
That not one life shall be destroyed,
Or cast as rubbish to the void,
When God hath made the pile complete.
That not a worm is cloven in vain;
That not a moth with vain desire
Is shriveled in a fruitless fire,
Or but subserves another’s gain.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
“In Memoriam A. H. H.” [Arthur Henry Hallam],” Part 54, st. 1-3 (1849)
Added on 16-Dec-10 | Last updated 16-Dec-10
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Trust me, Clara Vere de Vere,
From yon blue heavens above us bent
The gardener Adam and his wife
Smile at the claims of long descent.
Howe’er it be, it seems to me,
‘Tis only noble to be good.
Kind hearts are more than coronets,
And simple faith than Norman blood.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
“Lady Clara Vere de Vere,” st. 7 (1832)
Added on 15-Jul-10 | Last updated 15-Jul-10
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We cannot be kind to each other here for an hour;
We whisper, and hint, and chuckle, and grin at a brother’s shame;
However we brave it out, we men are a little breed.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
“Maud; A Monodra” (1856)
Added on 23-May-13 | Last updated 23-May-13
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My good blade carves the casques of men,
My tough lance thrusteth sure,
My strength is as the strength of ten,
Because my heart is pure.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
“Sir Galahad”, st. 1 (1842)
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For nothing worthy proving can be proven,
Nor yet disproven: wherefore thou be wise,
Cleave ever to the sunnier side of doubt,
And cling to Faith beyond the forms of Faith!

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
“The Ancient Sage”, l. 66-69 (1885)
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Half a league half a league
Half a league onward
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred:
‘Forward the Light Brigade
Charge for the guns’ he said
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
“The Charge of the Light Brigade,” st. 1 (1854)
Added on 16-Sep-10 | Last updated 16-Sep-10
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“Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismay’d?
Not tho’ the soldier knew
Some one had blunder’d:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of death
Rode the six hundred.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
“The Charge of the Light Brigade,” st. 2 (1854)

Popularly, "Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do or die."

Added on 30-Sep-10 | Last updated 30-Sep-10
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Hope
Smiles from the threshold of the year to come
Whispering ‘it will be happier’.

Tennyson - hope - wist_info quote

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
“The Foresters or, Robin Hood and Maid Marian”, Act 1, sc. 3 (1892)
Added on 31-Dec-15 | Last updated 31-Dec-15
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She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces through the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She looked down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror cracked from side to side;
“The curse is come upon me,” cried
The Lady of Shalott.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
“The Lady of Shalott,” Part 3, st. 5 (1832)
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A still small voice spake unto me,
“Thou art so full of misery,
Were it not better not to be?”
Then to the still small voice I said;
‘Let me not cast in endless shade
What is so wonderfully made.’

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
“The Two Voices,” st. 1-2 (1842)
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This truth within thy mind rehearse,
That in a boundless universe
Is boundless better, boundless worse.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
“The Two Voices,” st. 11 (1842)
Added on 13-Jan-11 | Last updated 13-Jan-11
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Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,—
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
“Ulysses,” l.65–70 (1842)
Added on 10-Sep-07 | Last updated 10-Sep-07
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The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
(Spurious)

Frequently attributed to Tennyson, but found as early as in D. E. Macdonnel, A Dictionary of Quotations, in Most Frequent Use, (1809) translated from French: "Le bonheur de l'homme en cette vi ne consiste pas á être sans passions: il consiste à en être le maître."
Added on 12-Dec-11 | Last updated 12-Dec-11
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Love is the only gold.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
Becket, Act 4, sc. 1, l. 44 (1884)
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Added on 14-Feb-14 | Last updated 14-Feb-14
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My doom is, I love thee still.
Let no man dream but that I love thee still.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
Idylls of the King, “Guinevere” (1859-1885)

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Added on 9-Dec-10 | Last updated 9-Dec-10
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He makes no friend who never made a foe.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
Idylls of the King, “Lancelot and Elaine,” l.1082 (1859-85)
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A rose, but one, none other rose had I,
A rose, one rose, and this was wondrous fair,
One rose, a rose that gladdened earth and sky,
One rose, my rose, that sweetened all mine air —
I cared not for the thorns; the thorns were there.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
Idylls of the King, “Pelleas and Ettarre” (1859-1885)
Added on 18-Nov-10 | Last updated 18-Nov-10
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There likewise I beheld Excalibur
Before him at his crowning borne, the sword
That rose from out the bosom of the lake,
And Arthur rowed across and took it — rich
With jewels, elfin Urim, on the hilt,
Bewildering heart and eye — the blade so bright
That men are blinded by it — on one side,
Graven in the oldest tongue of all this world,
“Take me,” but turn the blade and ye shall see,
And written in the speech ye speak yourself,
“Cast me away!” And sad was Arthur’s face
Taking it, but old Merlin counselled him,
“Take thou and strike! the time to cast away
Is yet far-off.” So this great brand the king
Took, and by this will beat his foemen down.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
Idylls of the King, “The Coming of Arthur” (1859-1885)

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Added on 23-Sep-10 | Last updated 23-Sep-10
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In our great hall there stood a vacant chair,
Fashioned by Merlin ere he past away,
And carven with strange figures; and in and out
The figures, like a serpent, ran a scroll
Of letters in a tongue no man could read.
And Merlin called it “The Siege perilous,”
Perilous for good and ill; “for there,” he said,
“No man could sit but he should lose himself …”

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
Idylls of the King, “The Holy Grail” (1859-1885)

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Added on 14-Oct-10 | Last updated 14-Oct-10
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Thou hast not true humility,
The highest virtue, mother of them all.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
Idylls of the King, “The Holy Grail” (1859-1885)

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Added on 21-Oct-10 | Last updated 21-Oct-10
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The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
And God fulfills Himself in many ways,
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
Idylls of the King, “The Passing of Arthur” (1859-1885)
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Added on 7-Oct-10 | Last updated 14-Jul-15
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For friend and foe were shadows in the mist,
And friend slew friend not knowing whom he slew;
And some had visions out of golden youth,
And some beheld the faces of old ghosts
Look in upon the battle; and in the mist
Was many a noble deed, many a base,
And chance and craft and strength in single fights,
And ever and anon with host to host
Shocks, and the splintering spear, the hard mail hewn,
Shield-breakings, and the clash of brands, the crash
Of battleaxes on shattered helms, and shrieks
After the Christ, of those who falling down
Looked up for heaven, and only saw the mist;
And shouts of heathen and the traitor knights,
Oaths, insults, filth, and monstrous blasphemies,
Sweat, writhings, anguish, labouring of the lungs
In that close mist, and cryings for the light,
Moans of the dying, and voices of the dead.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
Idylls of the King, “The Passing of Arthur” (1859-1885)

Full text.

Added on 4-Nov-10 | Last updated 4-Nov-10
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Nature, red in tooth and claw.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
In Memorium A. H. H., 56 (1850)
Added on 19-Jan-12 | Last updated 19-Jan-12
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I heard a saying in Egypt, that ambition
Is like the sea wave, which the more you drink
The more you thirst — yea — drink too much, as men
Have done on rafts of wreck — it drives you mad.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
The Cup, Act 1, sc. 3 [Synorix] (1884)
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Added on 1-Nov-17 | Last updated 1-Nov-17
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Who is this? And what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they crossed themselves for fear,
All the Knights at Camelot;
But Lancelot mused a little space
He said, “She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
The Lady of Shalott.”

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
The Lady of Shalott, Part 4, st. 6 (1832)
Added on 2-Sep-10 | Last updated 2-Sep-10
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It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match’d with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
Ulysses, l. 1-5 (1842)
Added on 26-Aug-10 | Last updated 26-Aug-10
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The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks;
The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs; the deep
Moans round with many voices.
Come, my friends.
‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
Ulysses, l. 54-62 (1842)
Added on 9-Sep-10 | Last updated 9-Sep-10
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