SIR ERNEST HENRY SHACKLETON (1874-1922)
Alfred, Lord TENNYSON. The Works. London: 1906. 8° (18.8 x 12.5cm.). Portrait frontispiece. Contemporary half calf gilt, for Hatchards, t.e.g., for Hatchards (joints weak).
Provenance: Officers' mess, R.Y.S. Nimrod (inscription on front free-endpaper "Lieut. E.H. Shackleton & the Officers of the 'Nimrod'. 1907", followed by an extensive quote extracted from lines 20-70 of Tennyson's Ulysses, ending "We are One equal temper of heroic hearts ... strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, & not to yield"); Sir Ernest H. Shackleton (by descent to his daughter); purchased at auction by the present owner.
A poignant memento with an appropriate inscription. The tone and content of Tennyson's Ulysses seems to have a special appeal amongst the great names of polar exploration: "Tennyson's Ulysses keeps running through my head" wrote Shackleton (diary entry for 11 January 1903) during the dreadful homeward journey from 82°16'S (the farthest south achieved by Scott's National Antarctic Expedition of 1901-1904). Nansen quoted the final lines, at the R.G.S. after a lecture by Amundsen on 11 February 1907, and most famously of all: the final line was chosen by Cherry-Gerrard as an inscription for the memorial cross to Scott and his companions in the polar party, erected on Observation Hill, "To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."