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Alfred Tennyson, 1809-1892

"Dedication"
from Idylls of the King (London: Strahan, 1869).


Prince Albert in costume as Chancellor of the University of Cambridge


 THESE to His Memory--since he held them dear,
 Perchance as finding there unconsciously
 Some image of himself--I dedicate,
 I dedicate, I consecrate with tears--
 These Idylls.

                And indeed He seems to me
 Scarce other than my own ideal knight,
 'Who reverence his conscience as his king;
 Whose glory was, redressing human wrong;
 Who spake no slander, no, nor listen'd to it;
 Who loved one only and who clave to her--'
 Her--over all whose realms to their last isle,               10
 Commingled with the gloom of imminent war,
 The shadow of His loss drew like eclipse,
 Darkening the world.  We have lost him: he is gone:
 We know him now: all narrow jealousies
 Are silent; and we see him as he moved,
 How modest, kindly, all-accomplish'd, wise,
 With what sublime repression of himself,
 And in what limits, and how tenderly;
 Not swaying to this faction or to that;
 Not making his high place the lawless perch                  20
 Of wing'd ambitions, nor a vantage-ground
 For pleasure; but thro' all this tract of years
 Wearing the white flower of a blameless life,
 Before a thousand peering littlenesses,
 In that fierce light which beats upon a throne,
 And blackens every blot: for where is he,
 Who dares foreshadow for an only son
 A lovelier life, a more unstain'd, than his?
 Or how should England dreaming of his sons
 Hope more for these than some inheritance                    30
 Of such a life, a heart, a mind as thine,
 Thou noble Father of her Kings to be,
 Laborious for her people and her poor--
 Voice in the rich dawn of an ampler day--
 Far-sighted summoner of War and Waste
 To fruitful strifes and rivalries of peace--
 Sweet nature gilded by the gracious gleam
 Of letters, dear to Science, dear to Art,
 Dear to thy land and our, a Prince indeed,
 Beyond all titles, and a household name,                     40
 Hereafter, thro' all times, Albert the Good.

   Break not, O woman's-heart, but still endure;
 Break not, for thou art Royal, but endure,
 Remembering all the beauty of that star
 Which shone so close beside Thee, that ye made
 One light together, but has past and leaves
 The Crown a lonely splendour.

                                May all love,
 His love, unseen but felt, o'ershadow Thee,
 The love of all Thy sons encompass Thee,
 The love of all Thy people comfort Thee,                     50
 Till God's love set Thee at his side again!


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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/dedic.html