Tennyson to Frederick Locker, 1 Feb. 1858
Richard Doyle to Tom Taylor, 10 July 1855
Description and Transcriptions:
by Nicholas Krause
In the first letter, Tennyson responds to the poet Frederick Locker (1821-1895) after Locker submitted a collection of his poems (probably London Lyrics) for Tennyson’s review. Though now generally forgotten as a poet, Locker was a very active member of the literary class at the time. His London Lyrics, one of the few collections of poems he published, found success especially in America. In addition to Tennyson, he became intimately acquainted with Trollope, Dickens, Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, George Eliot, and others. Locker’s wife, Lady Charlotte Christian Bruce, was also a friend of Queen Victoria’s. In the letter to Locker, Tennyson comments on the magnitude of the poetry he has received for review as poet laureate, and concludes his response with the line “in the 8th year of my persecution” in cramped hand next to his signature, referring to his then eight years serving as laureate. That the poet laureateship can be felt as a kind of persecution was recently remarked upon, in reference to this letter, by the former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion.
Transcription: Tennyson to Frederick Locker
In the second letter, the illustrator and cartoonist Richard Doyle (1824-1883) writes to Tom Taylor (1817-1880), the popular playwright, comic writer, and frequent contributor to Punch magazine. Doyle speaks of his intent to deliver to Taylor a drawing he had done of “the view from Tennyson’s window” during a visit Doyle and Taylor had made to Tennyson’s residence in March of 1856. Taylor and Doyle visited Tennyson at his home, the Farringford House, in Freshwater, Isle of Wight. Farringford, to which the Tennysons moved in the third year of their marriage, was the first home Alfred and Emily purchased. Included at the bottom of the letter is a drawing of Tennyson and three other persons, most likely portraying one of the group’s walks down to the seaside during this visit.
Transcription: Richard Doyle to Tom Taylor
For further reading on Tennyson’s correspondence during his laureateship, see Drake Osborn’s analysis of Tennyson’s letters to Roden Noel: https://blogs.baylor.edu/19crs/2016/06/30/correspondence-from-tennyson-to-roden-noel/
See also Mackenzie Sarna’s review of Tennyson’s letters to Noel and Sir Edwin Arnold: https://blogs.baylor.edu/19crs/2015/11/05/transcribed-letters-tennyson-to-roden-noel-13-feb-1887-to-sir-edwin-arnold-25-march-1891/