To the Queen

March, 1851.

Alfred Tennyson

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
    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,

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
    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.’

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