Last Updated on May 11, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 220
Context: When the narrator of this poem is a small boy and Maud is yet unborn, her father-to-be proposes that if his child is a girl she shall eventually marry the narrator. This agreement, however, is broken in later years when the narrator's father loses his wealth, for Maud's family want her to marry a rich man. The situation gives Tennyson the opportunity to attack the lack of ethics in the business world of the time and the materialistic attitude that made the possession of wealth the all-important factor in a marriage. Maud's brother has found what he considers to be an excellent match for her in the person of a newly-rich, newly-enobled young man. The brother has political ambitions; and to further them, he gives a large dinner and ball to which the narrator is not invited. Maud and her lover, however, plan to meet for a few moments in the garden of her home after the ball is over. While waiting for her to appear, the narrator compares her to the flowers blooming around him:
Queen rose of the rosebud garden of girls,
Come hither, the dances are done,
In gloss of satin and glimmer of pearls,
Queen lily and rose in one;
Shine out, little head, sunning over with curls,
To the flowers, and be their sun.
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