‘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 as they were during Tennyson’s time here.

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

‘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 as they were during Tennyson’s time here.…

Read More
‘Alfred, Lawn Tennyson’ - Tennyson’s Love for his LawnPosted: 21 Dec 2018

Dinosaur Isle - The Primrose Walk and Tennyson’s Fossil Collection

Scientific and poetic discoveries moved hand in hand at Farringford where both Tennyson and Darwin took steps in the same direction, mentally and literally, walking the 'Primrose Path' towards innovation. …

Read More
Dinosaur Isle - The Primrose Walk and Tennyson’s Fossil CollectionPosted: 20 Nov 2018

It’s All Nonsense: Tennyson, Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear

When I found out about Tennyson’s friendships with Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear through my visit to Farringford, it surprised but didn’t shock me.…

Read More
It’s All Nonsense: Tennyson, Lewis Carroll and Edward LearPosted: 26 Oct 2018

Crossing the Bar

"Crossing the Bar" is one of Tennyson's most famous poems. It is often read at funerals and memoria…

Read More
Crossing the BarPosted: 22 Jul 2017
© 2019 Farringford