The Chapel Royal St. James’s, On The 10th February, 1840

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ONCE more the people meet,
With glad expectant faces: once again
The fair young monarch and her lovely train,
With slow and gentle feet,
Move in a solemn ceremony on;
And jewels glitter in the morning sun!

Not long, oh! Time, not long
It seems, since crown'd as Britain's welcome Queen,
The like fair sight in fair array was seen;
And the hush'd listening throng,
Watching those steps thro' Westminster's proud aisle,
Wept with full hearts, tho' joyous all the while.

And they come forth anew,
In bridal white, that gentle virgin band,
The chosen flowers of Britain's happy land;
For holy love and true
Hath wrought an hour of hope without alloy--
A fairy sight of splendour and of joy.

There,--with her locks of light,
Gleaming like gold around her noble head,--
The orphan'd ELEANOR, with stately tread,
Went by, a vision bright;
Bidding sweet thoughts of love and triumph start
Into a father's nd a sister's heart.

There,--in her beauty, pass'd
Young FRANCES COWPER; her transparent cheek
Blushing the greetings which she might not spea,
As on the crowd she cast
The shy soft glances of those dark-blue eyes,
In whose untom'd depth such sweetness lies!

There, with her spotless name,
The gentle HOWARD, good, and fair, and mild,
And bright-eyed BOUVERIE, noble Radnor's child,
And rose-bud VILLIERS came;
And, with her sweet frank smile, young IDA HAY,
Looking all gladness, like a morn in May.

There, brilliant LENNOX moved;
The Paget beauty shining from her brow,
And the dark, deer-like eyes that glanced below:
While, gentle and beloved,
Amid the glories of that courtly throng,
DELAWARE'S youthful daughter pass'd along.

There, (theme for poet's praise!)
With swanlike throat, and clear majestic eye,
VERULAM's stately MARY glided by,
And, with her quiet gaze
Fixed smiling on the scene which she survey'd,
The soldier ANGLESEA'S bright ADELAIDE.

And she, whose orbs of blue,
Like mountain lakes beheld by moonlight, gleam
With all the shadowy softness of a dream
Such as Endymion knew:
Whose glossy locks with rich luxuriance twine
Around her brow: the Lady WILHELMINE.

Young were they all--and fair,--
But thou, VICTORIA, held'st thy fitting place,
As amongst garden-flowers the lily's grace,
Blooms with a royal air;
And from that lovely various group, apart,
Dids't stand, and gently look the Queen thou art.

The smile thy young lip wore,
Spoke joy to Him, who, from his distant home,
Hath sped in wintry time o'er ocean's foam--
To seek our island shore,
With his frank heart, and brow so fair and true,
Claiming thy love-and England's welcome too.

Oh! may that welcome prove
The herald of deep gladness;--since in thee
Old England's brightest hopes renew'd we see,
All-hallow'd be thy love;
And still with proud content the day allied,
When Princely ALBERT claim'd his Royal Bride!

May He, whose gifted hand,
Hath twined sweet wreaths of Poetry and Song;
Live happy among English heart so long
That, native to the land,
He shall forget that e'er his harp was strung
To any accents but our mother-tongue:

And Thou,--Oh! may the Crown
Which in youth's freshest, earliest moment, graced
The brow, whose childhood's roses it replaced,
Ne'er weigh thy spirit down;
Nor tearful hours, nor careful thoughts, beguile
One ray of gladness from thy gracious smile:

But brightly to the last,
Fair Fortune shine, with calm and steady ray,
Upon the tenor of thy happy way;
A future like the past:
And every prayer by loyal subjects said,
Bring down a separate blessing on thy head!

© Caroline Norton