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Alfred Tennyson, 1809-1892

"Dedication to the Queen"
from Poems, 12th edition (London: Moxon, 1858).


Watercolor of Queen Victoria, late nineteenth century.


 REVERED, beloved--O you that hold
   A nobler office upon earth
   Than arms, or power of brain, or birth
 Could give the warrior kings of old,

 Victoria,--since your Royal grace
   To one of less desert allows
   This laurel greener from the brows
 Of him that utter'd nothing base;

 And should your greatness, and the care
   That yokes with empire, yield you time                     10
   To make demand of modern rhyme
 If aught of ancient worth be there;

 Then--while a sweeter music wakes,
   And thro' wild March the throstle calls,
   Where all about your palace-walls
 The sun-lit almond-blossom shakes--

 Take, Madam, this poor book of song;
   For tho' the faults were thick as dust
   In vacant chambers, I could trust
 Your kindness.  May you rule us long,                        20

 And leave us rulers of your blood
   As noble till the latest day!
   May children of our children say,
 'She wrought her people lasting good;

 'Her court was pure; her life serene;
   God gave her peace; her land reposed;
   A thousand claims to reverence closed
 In her as Mother, Wife, and Queen;

 'And statesmen at her council met
   Who knew the seasons when to take                          30
   Occasion by the hand, and make
 The bounds of freedom wider yet

 'By shaping some august decree,
   Which kept her throne unshaken still,
   Broad-based upon her people's will,
 And compass'd by the inviolate sea.'

MARCH, 1851.


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Updated 2 August 1999 by the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.
Copyright © 1999, the University of South Carolina.
URL: http://www.sc.edu/library/spcoll/britlit/tenn/2queen1.html