BETA

Ode

On the Marriage of the Queen of England .

I.

Lift up your heads, ye glorious gates !1
Ye doors, by kings uprear’d, give way !2
Th’ Imperial Isles’ assembled States,3
By Counsel led—where Valour waits,4
And white-stoled Pomp predominates5
Before your thresholds pause to-day,6
Presenting to a Power divine7
The Daughter of their Monarch-line,8
Of laurel’d chiefs and leaders sage,9
Wide Ocean’s lords from age to age,10
Since first the Norman’s brilliant mail11
Flash’d through fierce Hastings’ battle hail,12
To her great Sire whose Captain died13
What time the galleys of his war14
Heaved, victory-rock’d, upon thy tide,15
Tremendous Trafalgar :16
For evermore their red-cross reign17
Without a rival on the main !18
Nor must the Sea-Kings’ branch decrease,19
Nor from their hands the sceptre cease :20
To-day proud Albion’s peerless child,21
Girt by the gallants of her land22
Earth’s mightiest Queen, a maiden mild23
Shall at the altar stand,24
And meekly pledge her spousal faith,25
And wear her hope-woven bridal wreath,26
While round the Nations—gladness-fill’d27
The trident-arm’d and thunder-hill’d,28
Raise the rejoicing hand.29
Hark to the bursting trumpet’s bray,30
As slow the gorgeous ranks unfold31
Above whose far-resplendent way,32
Guarding his banner’s floating day,33
The Lion leaps in gold !34

II.

Lift up your heads, ye glorious gates !35
And you, majestic doors, unclose !36
The solemn pomp no longer waits,37
But on in bright succession flows.38
No need to ask before whose train39
The stately pursuivants advance,40
Where ring gold spur and knightly chain,41
And tabards gaily glance.42
We pass thee not ungreeted by,43
Thou graceful youth, with pensive eye,44
And forehead not by thought untraced,45
—Thou, with the kingly garter graced ;46
(And if, as courtly babblers say,47
Thou’st won and worn the poet’s bay,48
Perchance thy collar’s jewels shine49
To thee with one soft ray the more,50
At thought that He, the bard divine,51
Who couch’d his lance for Geraldine,52
That badge unsullied bore.)53
Pass on—a people’s blessings now54
Press like the air upon thy brow,55
And hope prays out that thou may’st be56
Undazzled by thy destiny57
For when, since empire’s game began,58
Did lot so brilliant cirele man ?59

III.

Again that regal trumpet pealing !60
And lo, yon radiant pathway down61
Her handmaids Love and Vestal Feeling,62
And paged by old Renown63
Soft-gleaming through that rosy cloud,64
Where youth, and grace, and beauty crowd,65
Shines forth conspicuous from afar,66
The white-cliff’d Island’s Morning Star !67
And now she lights the purple gloom68
Within the saintly chapel shed,69
Where starry chief, and woman’s bloom,70
And wisdom’s reverend head,71
From vaulted gallery to the ground72
In throng compact are ranged around.73

IV.

And well might some amid that throng74
Claim portion of the minstrel’s song75
But to his eager vision fast76
Far other shapes are crowding past :77
Yet there is one—and who shall raise78
The strain, unmindful of his praise ?—79
The wise in council as in war,80
Who shiver’d Gaul’s imperial shield,81
Still fancy sees each thunder-sear82
Of that stern Flemish field83
Upon his front, as when he hurl’d84
The last red bolt that saved the world.85
Long may a grateful country own86
His aid to temple and to throne !87

V.

That festal trump has ceased to peal88
From arch and portal richly dim89
Before the mitred priests they kneel ;90
And now the nuptial hymn,91
While its full tide the organ pours,92
With many a solemn close, in choral grandeur soars.93
Far from the minstrel’s vision fly94
Attendant dame and sworded peer,95
What shapes of mightier port are nigh ?96
What coldly beauteous eyes are here ?97
Bend from your clouds, ye kingly dead !98
And, crown’d, ye softer shadows bend !99
Deep-echoing swell the blessing said100
Upon the young anointed head101
Of her, in whom—as yet unwed102
Your thousand years of glory end !103
See, ’mid your pale and awful ring,104
She bends, a fragile blooming thing !105
Like to some fair and kneeling saint106
Surrounded by cathedral glooms,107
Whom marble shadows, vast and faint,108
Are watching from the tombs.109
Stretch forth, dark Cressy’s Victor-Lord,110
O’er her thy realm-protecting sword !111
And, Warrior Woman ! at the sweep112
Of whose resistless hand113
Castile’s proud navies from the deep114
Were drifted like the sand,115
On her thy reign’s bright years bestow,116
And all thy fortune—save its woe !117
Still round they press : that mournful Bride118
Who left, reluctant, book and bower119
To share the momentary power120
And pomp for which she died.121
The Monarch-Boy with aspect pale,122
Is there, a kindred brow to hail.123
And She who, at the moment Hope124
Prepared her glory’s page to ope,125
Uncrown’d, resign’d life’s gladness brief,126
And left the Isles to night and grief ;127
For her, the favour’d, long through years128
On years, shall Pity wake and Woe,129
While flow the bard’s melodious tears,130
While Byron’s strains immortal flow.131
See, leaning near, her Sire, (in form132
Like to the Greek’s Olympian God,)133
Before whom Pleasure’s rosy charm134
Was spread where’er he trode ;135
Who lived to drain the bitterest sup136
That lurks in Joy’s exhausted cup137
Who died, and with his latest breath138
Left one dread moral, “ This is Death,” *139
To yon meek Maid, if handed down,140
Worth half the brilliants in her crown.141

VI.

But lo ! each Shape of kingly mould142
Each circling Form, august, has fled !143
Before the bard again unfold144
The pageant’s numbers bright and bold,145
And, from the batteried cannon roll’d,146
That volley’s thunder-crash has told147
The Island Queen is wed !148

* His last words to the only page in attendance at the moment.—See the Journals
of the period
.