On this day in 1809, according to Frewin's Book of Days, Alfred, Lord Tennyson was born. However, other sources disagree and say it happened on August 6. In spite of that, I will continue with this blog.
Tennyson was made Poet Laureate in 1850. He was popular with the general public, and Frances Rolleston in particular, who stated in 1851 that he would certainly found a school of poetry. She called herself an Anglo-Saxon enthusiast and loved ballads and epic poetry based on legends of ancient heroes. As to that, Tennyson's Idylls of the King, a series of twelve poems telling the story of King Arthur certainly gave her joy. He published the first four in 1859 (the remaining ones not until after Frances had passed away.)
While reading Tennyson's Idylls in late December 1859, Frances was suddenly struck by the idea that "Canticles" (The "Song of Solomon" in the Bible) was the true idyll of the true king. She had recently been engaged in putting poetic parts of the Bible into metrical form and now felt she must do so with "Canticles." The idea was so strong that she immediately began working, continuing even on a Sunday. She normally would not have broken the Sabbath with such work, but "quieted my conscience with the idea that was God's word that had got hold of me."
Although the English Bible read poetically, Frances decided that the poetry in it could only be truly represented in poetry. She spent many happy hours rendering the Psalms, Canticles and other parts of the Hebrew Bible into metrical poetry. Metrical Versions of Early Hebrew Poetry was published before 1867.