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Anna Jane Vardill

The Queen’s Bower [1]

 Our Lady sat in our good Lord’s hall,
  But there was in the purple sky
  A broader and brighter canopy
 Than Baron’s roof or royal pall:
 And the light that linger’d in the West
  Was like a love-lorn maiden’s eye,
 When blushes tell her soul’s unrest.
  And the glow of her hope begins to die.
Then our Lady went to her bower to view
The flowers that around her terrace grew.

 Our Lady shone in her diadem;
  Her lap was rich with a hundred fold
  Of woven pearls and cloth of gold,
 That earth was proud to kiss its hem:
 And a web of diamonds was her vest,
  That seem’d as if a summer show’r,
  Taught by a cunning wizard’s pow’r,
 Had gather’d to sparkle on her breast;
But among the flowers in her proud array
The dead leaf of November lay.

 Our Lady turned her velvet steed
  To see whence the smoke of the cottage rose,
  Where the wild bee hums and the woodbine grows,
 And the lambs among the violets feed:
 There palsied age leaned on his crutch,
 Her kind and loving hand to touch;
 And while she smil’d on his lowly cell,
 The dead leaf from her garland fell.
The pomp of our Lady’s day went past,
 Her grave was shut, and all were gone,
But that dead leaf rose upon the blast,
 And rested on her funeral stone:
And it had gather’d the richest seed
Of every violet in the mead,
Where once unseen our Lady stoop’d
To lift the aged head that droop’d,
And about her holy grave they spread,
While angels their sweet dew minist’red,
Till she had a tomb of flowers that hid
The pride of the proudest pyramid,
And a garland every spring shall rise
Where the dead leaf of November lies.


  1. Queen Elizabeth’s favourite seat in the gardens of Combe Abbey bore this appellation. 

The European Magazine, Vol. 75, January 1819, pp. 54-55