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TO THE QUEEN.
RX nobler office upon earth
EVEREN, beloved-O you that hold
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.”
The six volumes into which Lord Tennyson's works are now collected contain everything thus far printed with the sanction of the poet. The arrangement follows, as far as possible, that adopted by the poet himself, but the variations which occur in the several collective editions put forth, from time to time, justify one in supposing that there is no rigorous order to be maintained. The time has not come may
it be late in coming — when a strictly chronological order of composition can be followed, but there are certain groups which it is desirable to pre
Thus, in the present volume, under the head of Juvenilia, all those poems are included which appear under the same heading in the latest English edition (1884). The first volume containing Tennyson's work was issued in 1827, with the title Poems, by Two Brothers. The two brothers were Alfred Tennyson and Charles Tennyson, who afterward took the name of Charles Turner. Their work was not discriminated, and Lord Tennyson has never designated his portion nor included any of the verses in later editions of his poems; the curious in such matters will find the subject of the authorship of the several poems discussed in Tennysoniana, Pickering & Co., London, 1879, the useful bibliographical work of R. H. Shepherd. In 1830 appeared Poems, chiefly Lyrical, by Alfred Tennyson, and a second collection of Poems, by Alfred Tennyson, appeared in 1832.
Ten years later, in 1842, the preceding poems, with some changes, many omissions, and a few additions, were issued in two volumes, and in that form have served as the basis of all subsequent editions of Tennysou's poems. They were reprinted in this country by Tickuor & Fields, and were added to in volume from time to time both in England and America ; but subsequently new collections of fugitive pieces were issued, chiefly in connection with the publication of longer poems, like Maud and Enoch Arden.
In making a library edition of his works in 1872, Tennyson adopted the division Juvenilia, as the receptacle for all those poems of the 1830 volume which had been repeated in the 1842 collection, a few of the 1832 poems, and a few also of those poems which he had dropped when collecting his poems in 1842. The division under the same title in this volume corresponds with that in Tennyson's latest edition of 1884. Under the title The Lady of Shalott and other Poems are included the poems of 1832 which were retained in the 1842 collection, together with poems first published in 1842, but written prior to 1833. One other poem was added to this division by Tennyson in his latest collection, namely, England and America in 1782, and this division also thus corresponds with that of the 1884 collection.
It is worth noting these distinctions made by the poet himself because they suggest a marked distinction of periods in his poetic thought. The poems headed Juvenilia are experiments, those led by The Lady of Shalott are mature works; but all the poems included under these heads precede the death of Hallam. Hallam himself called these works “ preludes of a loftier strain."
It was during the years subsequent to Hallam's death, and while In Memoriam was growing, that the poet wrote and published those poems in the 1842 edition which appear in this volume under the title English Idylls and other Poems. The nine years of poetic thought represented by these poems are characterized by Tennyson himself in the Epilogue to In Memoriam as a time when he had grown