3 December 2003
VICTORIA, Queen of England (1837-1901). Autograph letter signed 'V.R.I.' to Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Balmoral Castle, 28 August 1883, on mourning paper, 5 pages, 8vo, autograph envelope, seal.
The Queen appeals to Tennyson to select some lines for a memorial to John Brown: 'Could you help me in choosing one or two lines to be put on the pedestal of the bronze statue of my faithful attendant friend [John Brown] w[hich] is to be placed in the grounds here, in a pretty quiet spot, as well as on a small granite drinking fountain wh[ich] I am placing in his memory at Frogmore Gardens near to the small cottage where I used so often to go in summer....The characteristics to be remembered....are: Power & strength, moral as well as physical, truth, devotion, unselfishness'. Victoria, more cheerfully, also refers to her daughter's return from Aix-les-Bain.
Tennyson had written a sympathetic reply to the Queen's mournful letter of August 14th, describing herself as 'very desolate and forlorn' following Brown's death at the end of March. He responded to the request in the present letter by sending quotations, from Shakespeare, Byron and Pope and the 'anonymous' couplet which she chose, guessing correctly that it was Tennyson's own work.
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