Needlessly Misquoted Tennyson

Posted in History, Life at 7:49 am by

Twice within the span of a few days, I’ve heard Tennyson’s famous lines from In Memoriam A.H.H. misquoted on TV, both times with the same error, the second infinitive split by “never.” One of the occasions specifically identified the quotation as Tennyson; surely if you know your character is supposed to be quoting Tennyson, you can make sure you put the correct wording of the quote into the script? It seems not. (Or perhaps the actor flubbed the line and the director didn’t catch it?)

For the record, the correct quotation of the lines from stanza 4 of Canto XXVII (infinitives not split) is:

’Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

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