Alfred, Lord Tennyson
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Much of his verse was based on classical mythological themes, although In Memoriam was written to commemorate his best friend Arthur Hallam, a fellow poet and classmate at Trinity College, Cambridge, who was engaged to Tennyson's sister, but died from a cerebral hæmorrhage before they were married. One of Tennyson's most famous works is Idylls of the King (1885), a series of narrative poems based entirely on King Arthur and the Arthurian tales, as thematically suggested by Sir Thomas Malory's earlier tales on the legendary king. The work was dedicated to Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria. During his career, Lord Tennyson attempted drama, but his plays enjoyed little success even in his lifetime.
Tennyson wrote a number of phrases that have become commonplaces of the English language, including: "nature, red in tooth and claw", "better to have loved and lost", "Theirs not to reason why, / Theirs but to do and die", and "My strength is as the strength of ten, / Because my heart is pure". He is the second most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, after Shakespeare.