Poems on Political Figures, Poets, and Artists

1. Composed during the Banquet given in honour of the Queen’s visit to the City, 9 November 1837.

Mistress of the joyful Nation

Throned amid her ancient piles,

Take the heart’s deep salutation

Princess of the Western Isles!

Hark! the patriot shout prevailing

Deepens thro’ the long defiles,

Thee, the Civic hosts are hailing,

Princess of the Western Isles.

Things of Earth that wake distraction

Thy sweet presence reconciles; 10

Thou hast hushed the tones of faction,

Princess of the Western Isles!

Lo! for thee with grace beseeming

Manhood’s brow the frown exiles;

Winter through his Cloud is beaming,

Princess of the Western Isles!

So may all retire before thee

All that darkens or defiles,

While the sunlight hovers o’er thee,

Princess of the Western Isles! 20

By the thousands gath’ring round thee

With a galaxy of smiles,

Learn that Heaven for Earth hath crown’d thee

Princess of the Western Isles!

Blessed by the King Eternal,

Safe from every traitor’s wiles, –

Be thy life – while life is vernal,

Princess of the Western Isles!

May thy Summer suns be lighted

With the Hope that ne’er beguiles! 30

Be no bud of promise blighted –

Princess of the Western Isles!

May thy noontide radiance render

Lustre pure as morning smiles!

And thine evening hour be splendour

Princess of the Western Isles!

Every gift that sacred Story

God’s peculiar blessing styles,

Be thy Crown of grace and glory,

Princess of the Western Isles! 40

2. Sonnet for the Coronation.

“He that dwelleth in the Secret place of the most high shall abide under the Shadow of the almighty”

Lo! with the gem ancestral on her brow,

And with thy regal ensign in her hand,

England! the ruler of thy sceptred land

Claims of thee dear and sacred succour now –

The deep calm homage of a nation’s vow:

Not in the tented field – the battle plain –

(Though laurelled heroes grace her gentle reign) –

Not in the warring councils of debate,

Where patriot wisdom lingers but to sigh –

No: from the hallowed bulwarks of the state, 10

From Zion’s temple, lift thy voice on high

And there let Britain’s regal daughter bow

In the broad shadow of Jehovah’s wings,

Throned at thine altar, O thou King of Kings!


3. To the Queen Dowager with Sacred Poems.

Hail Royal Lady! while on thee attend

The rightful honours that to Courts belong,

Meet are the Melodies of sacred Song

(With regal State their tones of truth to blend)

For Brunswick’s widow’d Queen & Zion’s friend;

For thee, whose wisdom like a holy gem

Hath meekly graced a Monarch’s diadem,

Showing how pure a light its ray might lend.

Still shall it bless the realm o’er which it shone

Since for the Land that loves thee thou canst bring 10

Thy plea before the everlasting throne

And touch the Sceptre of the deathless King

And ask – for Britain ask – His guardian sway,

From whom Dominion may not pass away.

4. Addressed to the Rev. W. Lisle Bowles.

Minstrel of sacred name! thine Harp is strung

To varied lays of magic breathing sound

For pensive natures – tender or profound,

As at thy master touch the Chord is rung,

Whether the past or passing age is sung

To cheer the old or to enchant the young,

Whether thy strain is heard in sylvan bower

Or wakes with loftier tone in regal Tower.

Time honoured Bard! pure, simple, and sublime,

Accept the wish thine own sweet Lyre hath wrought, 10

That asks for thee above this lonely clime

A minstrelsy beyond a Poet’s thought,

Harp-notes from Heaven whilst yet on Earth thou art

Making deep Melody within thy heart!

5. To D. C. Read Esq. Artist.

Gifted of Heaven! Creation for thy Chart!

Thy touch each form of grace and grandeur shows,

As o’er the bold and beautiful it throws

The harmonies that Light and Shade impart,

Telling what Nature is and what thou art;

A fond Enthusiast bending at her shrine

Rapt into Transport by her lore divine!

Yet give not to her volume all thine heart;

Well may her lofty themes thy Soul engage

And in thy bosom wake Devotion’s flame. 10

But Inspiration’s high and holy page

Can best declare her mighty Maker’s name:

God in the Universe is God concealed

Compared with God in his own word revealed.


1. Lyra Domestica, Box 25/1, f.26r-v, Reeves Collection, Bodleian Library, Oxford; Whelan, Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 5, pp. 214-15. Reference is to Queen Victoria’s procession to the Guildhall on 9 November 1837 to attend the Lord Mayor’s banquet.

2. The London Standard, 27 June, p. 4; MS, Lyra Domestica, Box 25/1, f.27r, Reeves Collection, Bodleian Library, Oxford, titled ‘Sonnet – On the Coronation of the Queen, 28th June 1838’, with the inscription included in the above poem (not included in the published version in the Standard); Whelan, Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 5, p. 215. The coronation took place at Westminster Abbey, London. At the foot of the page in Lyra Domestica is a drawing by MGS of the Bible placed on top of the royal sceptre. The poem also appeared in the Freeman’s Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser in Dublin on Saturday, 30 June 1838.

3. Lyra Domestica, Box 25/1, f.28r, Reeves Collection, Bodleian Library, Oxford; Whelan, Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 5, p. 216. The Queen Dowager (1792-1849), the former Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, Germany, married William, Duke of Clarence (1765-1837), in 1818, becoming Queen Consort upon his accession to the throne as William IV in 1830, the last of the Hanoverian kings (and also Duke of Brunswick). Victoria succeeded William IV, her uncle, upon his death in 1837. Apparently, Saffery presented the Queen Dowager with a copy of Poems on Sacred Subjects.

4. Lyra Domestica, Box 25/1, f. 36r, Reeves Collection, Bodleian Library, Oxford; Whelan, Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 5, p. 219. William Lisle Bowles (1762-1850) achieved considerable recognition for his early publication, Fourteen Sonnets (1789), a volume that influenced Wordsworth and Coleridge. He subsequently entered the church, serving as vicar at Chicklade, Wiltshire, and Dumbleton, Gloucestershire, before becoming vicar at Bremhill, Wiltshire, his primary residence the rest of his life. In 1818 he was made chaplain to the Prince Regent, and in 1828 was elected residentiary canon in the Salisbury Cathedral. He continued to write poetry and criticism into the 1830s.

5. Lyra Domestica, Box 25/1, f. 38r, Reeves Collection, Bodleian Library, Oxford; beneath the poem is a drawing of a profile of a face on a painting palette with some paint brushes and the inscription, ‘D. C. Read Etchings’; Whelan, Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 5, p. 220. The artist David Charles Read (1790-1851) lived most of his adult life in Salisbury. He was apprenticed to the engraver John Scott (1774-1828) and for a time was a protégé of John Constable. In Salisbury, Read was considered the city’s finest drawing master, which may have been how Saffery came into his acquaintance, most likely sending some of her students to him. Read etched a portrait of Goethe, but generally his work focused on impressive etchings of the landscape around Salisbury and the New Forest, many of which were the result of his own distinctive form of printmaking he practised between 1828 and 1845. Two volumes of his proofs reside in the British Museum.