Jubilee Ode - J.J. Haldane Burgess. A satirical reaction to Tennyson's adulatory Jubilee Ode for Queen Victoria (1887).
Read By Laurence Graham
Queen Victoria Jubilee sovereign (1887)
For Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887, Lord Tennyson, Poet Laureate of the day, composed a Jubilee Ode in which he praised the Queen extravagantly. The poem began ‘Fifty times the rose has flower’d and faded, Fifty times the golden harvest fallen...’ Haldane Burgess, thinking of the Shetland crofter/fisherman’s toil and poverty during those fifty years, composed his own Jubilee Ode in response.
Fifty voars I’m dell’d an set da tatties,
Noo mi aald rig complains ipo da wark;
Fifty simmers ower da Muckle Watter
I’m sailed, an rouwed, an striven, an set on;
Fifty hairsts I’m gaddered in da coarn, –
Sic laek as wis, – an hirdit mi sma crop;
Fifty winters peyd mi rent, an grudged it,
For it wis dooble what it sood-a-been;
Fifty years I’m heard da wolf o hardship
Jöst snuffin wi his nose alow da door;
Fifty times I’m clampit mi aald troosers
Till no anidder clamp dey’ll hadd ava;
An du sat on dy tronn awa in Lundin,
An never sae muckle as said ‘Rasmus, yun’s you’,
Or rekkit oot dy haand ava ta help me,
For aa at du hed roogs an roogs o siller,
An laand oot in Ameriky, dey tell me, an idder pairts.
O du, du, Wheen Victorey! I raelly widna-a-toucht it o dee;
I hae a picter o dee, when du wis a lass –
It’s hingin ben abön da shimley-piece –
A boanie face, göd feth, as e’er I’m seen,
An fu o kindness; but dat wis dan
Whin du wis onnly laernin ta be Wheen;
An weel I mind da hoops I hed o dee,
O aa da grit an nobble things du’d dö
Whin du cam up ta be a wife; hoo du’d no bear
Ta view da poor wi his aald rivlin girnin at da tae:
O less-a-less! What is du döne trou aa da lang half-centiry o time
At du’s been Wheen? I kno no what.
An dan –
Ach! dis be blow’d
For a Jubilee Ode.