James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

May 24

To the Queen

By Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892)

(Born May 24, 1819)

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.”