By Dr Oliver Tearle (Loughborough University)
The Victorians often liked their poems much the way they liked their novels: the bigger the better. And yet, just as there are some great Victorian short stories (they helped to pioneer the ghost story and the detective story, for instance), so there are some short poetic gems to be found among Victorian poetry anthologies.
Robert Browning gave us the vast The Ring and the Book but he also gave us the two-line poem included below; Tennyson devoted several thousand lines to his Idylls of the King but also penned the six-line classic ‘The Eagle’. The ten Victorian poems that follow are all no longer than ten lines, and one is only two words long.