Victoria Day is the memory of ritual long past, an anachronism frozen for all time, from when Canadians gave notice of the Queen’s birthday in a holiday, and because it was the Queen, we had (and still have) fireworks.
Also: the traditional time to plant the garden, which I intend to honour, so no substantive nursing post today. Instead, a poem redolent of homage and the Imperial Age which Victoria represented and during which Canada, for better or worse, was a jewel of the Empire. Not a bad poem, as such poems, or any poem about royalty, go. It is fun to read, yet it verges on sentimental doggerel, I’m afraid.
The Bells and Queen Victoria
“Gay go up and gay go down
To ring the Bells of London Town.”
When London Town’s asleep in bed
You’ll hear the Bells ring overhead.
In excelsis gloria!
Ringing for Victoria,
Ringing for their mighty mistress–ten years dead!
Here is more gain than Gloriana guessed–
Than Gloriana guessed or Indies bring–
Than golden Indies bring. A Queen confessed–
A Queen confessed that crowned her people King.
Her people King, and crowned all Kings above,
Above all Kings have crowned their Queen their love–
Have crowned their love their Queen, their Queen their love!
Denying her, we do ourselves deny,
Disowning her are we ourselves disowned.
Mirror was she of our fidelity,
And handmaid of our destiny enthroned;
The very marrow of Youth’s dream, and still
Yoke-mate of wisest Age that worked her will!
Our fathers had declared to us her praise–
Her praise the years had proven past all speech.
And past all speech our loyal hearts always,
Always our hearts lay open, each to each–
Therefore men gave the treasure of their blood
To this one woman–for she understood!
Four o’ the clock! Now all the world is still.
Oh, London Bells, to all the world declare
The Secret of the Empire–read who will!
The Glory of the People–touch who dare!
Power that has reached itself all kingly powers,
St. Margaret’s: By love o’erpowered–
St. Martin’s: By love o’erpowered–
St. Clement Danes: By love o’erpowered,
The greater power confers!
For we were hers, as she, as she was ours,
Bow Bells: And she was ours–
St. Paul’s: And she was ours–
Westminister: And she was ours,
As we, even we, were hers!
As we were hers!
— Author Unknown
[UPDATE @ 0818] If you live in Ontario, since when have you ever seen a May 24th weather forecast like this?