TENNYSON, Alfred, 1st Baron (1809-1892). Autograph manuscript of an untitled poem ['The Roses on the Terrace'], n.p. [Aldworth], n.d. [1889 ?], an eight-line lyric, including variant words, one page, 8vo, cut autograph signature pasted on below the verse (the leaf torn into 3 pieces, touching words, and again in blank lower margin, repaired on verso) framed and glazed.
The charming lyric evoking a long-ago courtship, opening 'Here on this terrace fifty years ago When I was in my June, you in your May, Two words, 'My Rose' set all your face aglow'. The reference in lines 7 and 8 to a rose which 'upon the terrace here Glows in the blue of fifty miles away' is to the terrace at Aldworth, the house built by Tennyson on Blackdown in Surrey. The variants include the first word ('Here'), which in the published text is 'Rose', and 3 other words, and the spelling of 'grey' ('gray' in the printed version).
It has been claimed that the poem is a tribute to the memory of Rosa Baring with whom Tennyson enjoyed a flirtatious friendship in 1835-1836 (prompting a number of 'rose' poems), combining her terraced garden at Harrington Hall with his at Aldworth. It might have been composed in 1889 on learning of Rosa's husband's death, or a year or so before. Alternatively, it may have been intended for Emily Tennyson, whom he courted in the late 1830s, long before their marriage in 1850. The tearing up of the leaf suggests the possibility that the present manuscript may have been a discarded first draft.
The poem was first published in Demeter and Other Poems in December 1889.