What on Earth Did Poor Tennyson Ever Do to Deserve This?

This tweet made me aware of what Mark Francois did to Tennyson:

He'd have been better reading out Lewis Carroll pic.twitter.com/3pd3a451XH

— soreheid (@dirtydingus) April 9, 2019


by Lord Tennyson

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match’d with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy’d
Greatly, have suffer’d greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when
Thro’ scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honour’d of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!
As tho’ to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,—
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro’ soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil’d, and wrought, and thought with me—
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
‘T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

A pathetic Mark Francois abused the last 14½ lines:

Mark Francois getting quite emotional as he quotes Moses and Tennyson to sum up. pic.twitter.com/XO7Hj7svnI

— John Johnston (@johnjohnstonmi) April 9, 2019

A not so real (but funnier) Mark Francois nicely summed up Ulysses like this:

I read out Ulysses by Tennyson earlier. It's about a Greek bloke who has adventures all over Europe. When he goes home he gets restless because after all those years experiencing foreign cultures, he realises he's stuck on a small island for the rest of his life. #brexit https://t.co/brIzvgMRHK

— Mark ne-Francois-pas MP (@MarkFrancois12) April 9, 2019


Mark Francois reading Tennyson, and other reasons to keep politicians away from poetry | Zoe Williams https://t.co/xR0Wj1CzJ8

— The Guardian (@guardian) April 10, 2019


Some politicians make better choices and were reading out Lewis Carroll:

Mark Francois pathetically just read out that entire Tennyson poem. I prefer how Sir Nicholas Soames read a few lines from "The Hunting of the Snark". pic.twitter.com/oQcsCoyLlz

— Goetz Kluge (@Bonnetmaker) April 14, 2019

But the principal failing occurred in the sailing,
 And the Bellman, perplexed and distressed,
Said he had hoped, at least, when the wind blew due East,
 That the ship would not travel due West!


And they make the right comments:


— Nicholas Soames (@NSoames) April 9, 2019

What on earth did poor Tennyson ever do to deserve this?


More from Tennyson (albeit no poetry):

Just think how angry all these people tweeting about Mark Francois reading #Tennyson are going to be when they see what Tennyson told William Allingham at a meeting of the 1851 Brexit Irish border preparedness working group. pic.twitter.com/Tk6J2DYFOq

— david wheatley (@nemoloris) April 9, 2019

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