An Englishman and Other Poems - Preface

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(Written on the day of Queen Victoria’s funeral)

   The Queen is taking a drive to-day,
   They have hung with purple the carriage-way,
   They have dressed with purple the royal track
   Where the Queen goes forth and never comes back.

   Let no man labour as she goes by
   On her last appearance to mortal eye;
   With heads uncovered let all men wait
   For the Queen to pass in her regal state.
   Army and Navy shall lead the way
   For that wonderful coach of the Queen’s to-day.

   Kings and Princes and Lords of the land
   Shall ride behind her, a humble band;
   And over the city and over the world
   Shall the Flags of all Nations be half-mast-furled,
   For the silent lady of royal birth
   Who is riding away from the Courts of earth,
   Riding away from the world’s unrest
   To a mystical goal, on a secret quest.

   Though in royal splendour she drives through town,
   Her robes are simple, she wears no crown:
   And yet she wears one, for widowed no more,
   She is crowned with the love that has gone before,
   And crowned with the love she has left behind
   In the hidden depths of each mourner’s mind.

   Bow low your heads—lift your hearts on high—
   The Queen in silence is driving by!

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