‘Alfred, Lawn Tennyson’ - Tennyson’s Love for his Lawn

 If you have visited Farringford House you will have seen that the lawns at the front of the house which are as extensive now

James Joyce’s famous joke about Tennyson’s gentlemanlike and repressed poetry, in Ulysses, nicknaming him ‘Alfred, Lawn Tennyson’, becomes even more humorous if you have visited Farringford. The lawns at the front of the house are as extensive now as they were during Tennyson’s time here, and are inevitably on my mind whenever I picture the house.

Reading about Tennyson later the joke becomes more piquant as I learn that he was obsessed with his lawn at Farringford, even covering it in seaweed to fertilise it. Michael Thorne narrates in his biography Tennyson:

‘The lawns at Farringford became something of an obsession. He spent hours rolling them, picking up leaves, and even digging them up. When he went away he left instructions about which activities were, and which were not, permitted on the grass’.

Yet although there is something very amusing about the relationship between Tennyson and his lawn the setting of the lawn around Farringford is very idyllic. The association between the lawn and a holiday feeling which was present for Tennyson at Farringford is prefigured in In Memoriam A.H.H.

‘By night we linger'd on the lawn,

         For underfoot the herb was dry;

         And genial warmth; and o'er the sky

The silvery haze of summer drawn;’

Recent Posts

Translating the Iliad

Tennyson never completely translated the Iliad; however, he did try his hand at a couple of passages...…

Read More
Translating the IliadPosted: 27 Jun 2022

Short Talks

We are most likely to associate Tennyson with long poems, like ‘In Memoriam’ and his short poems are all too often squeezed out by these longer works…

Read More
Short TalksPosted: 16 Mar 2022

War Poetry

When the First World War began, it was Tennyson’s register of language that people, soldiers and the government turned to.…

Read More
War PoetryPosted: 20 Oct 2021

Cricket

Lionel Tennyson, grandson of Alfred, was a famous cricketer who captained Hampshire and England in the 1920s…

Read More
CricketPosted: 14 Jun 2021
© 2022 Farringford