Excerpt from The Laureate's Country: A Description of Places Connected With the Life of Alfred Lord Tennyson
Fifty years hence people will make pilgrimages to this place. These words were spoken by one young man to another some sixty years ago. The place was what was then the Rectory-house of Somersby parish in Lincolnshire; the speaker was Arthur Hallam; the person to whom he spoke was Alfred Tennyson. This prediction showed a peculiarly keen literary insight. That Alfred Tennyson was a poet any critic not wholly obtuse and incompetent could have seen even in those early days but that he should be one of the famous few whose birthplaces are objects Of pilgrimage, it was scarcely given to any one but his friend to see. Just now, however, I am not concerned with the truth of the prophecy, or the insight of the prophet I would rather see in it an apology for all who are concerned in the production of this book, publisher, draughtsman and writer. Sixty years ago the profession of the interviewer had not been invented the passion of the public for seeing famous men, and some who are famous with a difference, had not come into being, at least had not a whole literature designed to satisfy it. But there has always been a desire, which, duly controlled, is a lawful desire, to know something of the surroundings among which great writers have grown up. This desire is especially strong where the great writer is a poet; and can then best justify its existence.
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