Commonplace: Alfred Lord Tennyson, “To Christopher North”

“You did late review my lays,

Crusty Christopher;

You did mingle blame and praise,

Rusty Christopher.


When I learnt from whom it came,

I forgave you all the blame,

Musty Christopher;

I could not forgive the praise,

Fusty Christopher.”

~ Alfred Lord Tennyson, “To Christopher North,” 1832. For those not in the know, Christopher North is the editorial voice for Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine in the 1830s, and it’s the often pseudonym for John Wilson. They, of course, reviewed Tennyson’s early work. I decided when indexing the magazine for the Periodical Poetry Index that when I turn to a life of crime, I’m going by Christopher North for spite. Poetry publication was not done systematically in the early days of Blackwood’s.


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