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To The Queen Of England

Edith Nesbit 1858 (Kennington, Surrey ) – 1924 (New Romney, Kent)



COME forth! the world's aflame with flags and flowers,
The shout of bells fills full the shattered air,
This is the crown of all your golden hours,
More than all other hours august and fair;
This did the years prepare,
A triumph for our Lady and our Queen,
More rich than any king in any land hath seen.

Clothed are your streets with scarlet, gold, and blue,
Flowers under foot and banners over head,
And while your people's voice storms Heaven for you
About your way are voiceless blessings shed,
And over you are spread
Wide wings of love, free love, tamed to your hand,
Love that gold cannot buy, nor Majesty command.

Not these mere visible millions only, share
Your triumph--here all English hearts beat high,
Nations far off your royal colours wear,
And swell with unheard voice this loyal cry
That strikes the English sky:
A cloud of unseen witnesses is here
To testify how great is England's Queen, and dear.

From out the grey-veiled past, long years away,
Come visionary faces, vision-led,
And splendid shapes that are not of our day,
The spirits of the mute and mighty dead,
To see how Time has sped
The fortunes of their England, and behold
How much more great she is than in the days of old.

The world can see them not; but you can see--
You the inheritor of all the past
Wherein the dead, in noble heraldry,
Blazoned the shield of England, and forecast
The charge it bears at last--
More splendid than the azure and the or
Of the French lilies lost--long lost and sorrowed for.

Here be the weaponed men, the English folk,
Who in long ships across the swan's bath fared,
In whose rude tongue the voice of Freedom spoke,
In whose rough hands the sword was bright and bared--
The men who did and dared,
And to their sons bequeathed the fighting blood
That drives to Victory and will not be withstood.

Here, in your ordered festival, O Queen,
Mixed with the crowd and all unseen of these,
On their long swords the wild Norse rovers lean
And watch the progress of your pageantries,
And on this young June breeze
Float the bright pennons of the Cressy spears--
Shine shadowy shafts that fell, as snow falls, at Poitiers.

Here flutter phantom flags that once flew free
Above the travail of the tournament;
Here gleam old swords, once wet for Liberty;
Old blood-stiff banners, worn with war and rent,
Are with your fresh flowers blent,
And by your crown, where love and fame consort,
Shines the unvanquished cloven crown of Agincourt.

Upon your river where, by day and night,
Your world-adventuring ships come home again,
Glide ghostly galleons, manned by men of might
Who plucked the wings and singed the beard of Spain;
The men who, not in vain,
Saved to the children of a world new-trod
The birth-tongue of our land, her freedom, and her God.

Princes who lived to make our England great,
Poets who wreathed her greatness with their song,
Wise men who steered her heavy ship of State,
Brave men who steered her battle-ships along,
In spectral concourse throng
To applaud the consummated power and pride
Of that belovèd land for which they lived and died.

The thousand un-named heroes who, sword-strong,
Ploughed the long acre wherein Empire grows
Wide as the world, and long as Time is long--
These mark the crescence of the English rose
Whose thorny splendour glows
O'er far-off subject lands, by alien waves,
A crown for England's brow, a garland for her graves.

And faces out of unforgotten years,
Faces long hidden by death's misty screen,
Faces you still can scarcely see for tears,
Will smile on you to-day and near you lean,
O Mother, Wife, and Queen!
With whispered love too sacred and too dear
For any ear than yours, Mother and Wife, to hear.

Lady, the crowd will vaunt to-day your fame,
Daughter and heir of many mighty kings,
The Queen of England, whose imperial name
From England's heart and lips tumultuous springs
In prayers and thanksgivings,
Because your greatness and her greatness shine
Merged each in each, as stars their beams that intertwine.

Yet in the inmost heart, where folded close
The richest treasures of the poorest lie,
Love, whose clear eyes see many secrets, knows
A nobler name than Queen to call you by,
And breathes it silently;
But, 'mid His listening crowd of angels, One
Shall speak your name and say, 'Faithful and g
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Edith Nesbit

Edith Nesbit (married name Edith Bland) was an English author and poet; she published her books for children under the name of E. Nesbit. She wrote or collaborated on more than 60 books of children's literature. She was also a political activist and co-founded the Fabian Society, a socialist organisation later affiliated to the Labour Party. more…

All Edith Nesbit poems | Edith Nesbit Books

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