Dramatic Poem

a poem which employs a dramatic form or some element or elements of dramatic techniques as a means of achieving poetic ends. The dramatic monologue is an example.

Alfred Lord Tennyson

Where Claribel low-lieth
The breezes pause and die,
Letting the rose-leaves fall:
But the solemn oak-tree sigheth,
Thick-leaved, ambrosial,
With an ancient melody
Of an inward agony,
Where Claribel low-lieth.

At eve the beetle boometh
Athwart the thicket lone:
At noon the wild bee hummeth
About the moss’d headstone:
At midnight the moon cometh,
And looketh down alone.
Her song the lintwhite swelleth,
The clear-voiced mavis dwelleth,
The callow throstle lispeth,
The slumbrous wave outwelleth,
The babbling runnel crispeth,
The hollow grot replieth
Where Claribel low-lieth.

“Claribel”, by Alfred Lord Tennyson, is an exceptional example of dramatic poetry. Tennyson creates a scenario and accentuates it by using dramatic language. The second stanza is emphasized by using the same ending sound for each word that ends a line within the stanza, “boometh…hummeth…cometh.” By using the dramatic language, Tennyson is able to produce an implausible dramatic poem.

Link: Traumatic Dome

"All experience is an arch wherethrough gleams that untravelled world whose margin fades for ever and for ever when I move."

~Alfred Lord Tennyson

Alfred Lord Tennyson

         Alfred Tennyson was born 5 August 1809, third surviving child of the Rev. George Clayton Tennyson and Elizabeth Fytche Tennyson. Although George was an elder son, his younger brother Charles was made sole heir after a disagreement between George and his father, and George was forced to earn his living as a clergyman, which he hated, but there were eleven little Tennysons he had to support by 1819. Alfred himself started writing poetry at age eight and had written most of a blank verse play by age fourteen. The year he entered Cambridge, 1827, his first published poetry appeared in Poems by Two Brothers

        Charles was an opium addict, and though he eventually straightened out, by then Louisa had worked herself into a nervous collapse trying to help him. So Alfred and Emily suffered the pangs of separation, which showed pretty strongly in Alfred's poetry of the time. He threw himself into traveling and studying, and he eventually became proficient in several languages, including Persian and Hebrew. By 1842, Alfred found himself well and truly famous with the publication of his Poems. Unfortunately, he had decided that his health was bad and let his doctors talk him into not writing or even really reading for almost two years.  By then, Wordsworth had died and the Court was looking for a new Poet Laureate. The job was first offered to the 87-year-old Samuel Rogers, who turned it down. Alfred's name was submitted with two others, but Prince Albert had read In Memorium, so Alfred was in. He loved being Poet Laureate, though he never quite got used to all the attention from complete strangers. His home life was what was important to him. On 11 August 1852, Hallam Tennyson was born, followed by Lionel Tennyson on 16 March 1854. Alfred was a doting father and spoiled the boys a little.

         His eyesight had gotten very bad, though fortunately he'd always composed his poems in his head, and he had Emily to act as secretary, a job which Hallam took over in 1874 due to his mother's failing health. But Alfred was afraid to take on another major work that he might not live to finish. His brother Charles died in 1879, Edward FitzGerald died in 1883, and Alfred was starting to feel lonely and old. The real blow came in 1886, when his son Lionel died of fever while at sea.

         In November 1889, Hallam's son Lionel was born, followed by Alfred, Jr. in April 1891. Alfred himself had been ill for some months, but was still working hard to prepare one last volume of poems for publication. It was published two weeks after his death, on 6 October 1892. He died peacefully, apparently of gout, with his wife and son by his side. He'd outlived most of the great writers of his time, but there were some literary luminaries at the funeral like Thomas Hardy and Arthur Conan Doyle. At Alfred's request, his poem "Crossing the Bar," an epitaph of sorts, is always printed last in any collection of his works.