I am writing a paper on Parker's poem "Victoria," and would like some feedback to help me with my interpretation.I can't find any critical reference to this piece anywhere

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The poem "Victoria" is about the death of Queen Victoria of England, the longest ruling monarch to date, at her death.  She was a very powerful icon during a time of industrial, scientific and military "movement" in her country, and overpowering (and unwelcomed) colonization of places, for example, like India, of which she declared herself empress.

The poem begins by making note of Victoria in death (she laid in state for two days), in highest glory ("excelsis gloria").  Parker comments on the Queen's appearance, all very proper.  And propriety was synonymous with Victoria.

There may be a play on words, stating that her soul (perhaps a double entendre for "sole") lay at her feet, not a very flattering image, as one would expect her soul not to be earth-bound or at her feet (a subservient location, especially for a queen), but to be heaven-bound.  To further the insult, her soul rests where the likeness of a bishop's dog might lie at the base of a marble statue of said bishop.

The focus abruptly turns to the Queen's dead husband, who had passed long before she died.  Perhaps she refers to a statue of him that is "lavishly arrayed," or lavishly dressed.  But she points out that his soul is somewhere different than where she has says Victoria's soul rests.  Albert's soul is said to be flying where his heart had stayed (not, again, with Victoria).

Though Parker mentions that Albert's spirit walks in peace, 'it has been said that it has never been seen in Scotland.'  This is not immediately clear as Victoria and Albert had a castle in Scotland where they embraced all things Scottish.

The only possibility that comes to mind is that before Albert died (he passed when Victoria was 42), he had appointed John Brown to be Victoria's personal aid.  After Albert died, Brown was indispensable to her--later named the Queen's Highland Servant.

While there has been no suggestion of impropriety during Albert's life, over the years there has been speculation that Victoria and Brown might have been involved romantically after Albert died.  With the suggestion that Albert's soul was wandering, he might not have wandered in Scotland for this reason.

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