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To The Queen

This dedication was first prefixed to the seventh edition of these poems in 1851, Tennyson having succeeded Wordsworth as Poet Laureate, 19th Nov., 1850.

Revered, beloved [1]--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, [2]--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 To make demand of modern rhyme If aught of ancient worth be there;

Then--while [3] 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. [4] May you rule us long.

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; [5]

"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 Occasion by the hand, and make The bounds of freedom wider yet [6]

"By shaping some august decree, Which kept her throne unshaken still, Broad-based upon her people's will, [7] And compass'd by the inviolate sea."

MARCH, 1851.

[Footnote 1: 1851. Revered Victoria, you that hold.]

[Footnote 2: 1851. I thank you that your Royal grace.]

[Footnote 3: This stanza added in 1853.]

[Footnote 4: 1851. Your sweetness.]

[Footnote 5: In 1851 the following stanza referring to the first Crystal Palace, opened 1st May, 1851, was inserted here:--

She brought a vast design to pass, When Europe and the scatter'd ends Of our fierce world were mixt as friends And brethren, in her halls of glass.]

[Footnote 6: 1851. Broader yet.]

[Footnote 7: With this cf. Shelley, 'Ode to Liberty':--

Athens diviner yet Gleam'd with its crest of columns _on the will_ Of man.]

Lord Alfred Tennyson

Early Poems

Suppressed Poems

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