The following are the words (by the Poet Laureate) to be sung to Professor Bennett’s music at the opening of the Internation [sic] Exhibition: -

Uplift a thousand voices full and sweet,
In this wide hall with earth’s inventions stored,
And praise th’ invisible universal Lord,
Who lets once more in peace the nations meet,
Where Science, Art, and Labour have outpour’d
Their myriad horns of plenty at our feet.
O, silent father of our Kings to be,
Mourn’d in this golden hour of jubilee,
For this, for all, we weep our thanks to thee!
The world-compelling plan was thine,
And, lo! the long laborious miles
Of Palace; lo! the giant aisles,
Rich in model and design;
Harvest-tool and husbandry,
Loom and wheel and engin’ry,
Secrets of the sullen mine,
Steel and gold, and corn and wine,
Fabric rough, or Fairy fine,
Sunny tokens of the Line,
Polar marvels, and a feast
Of wonder, out of West and East,
And shapes and hues of Part divine!
All of beauty, all of use,
That one fair planet can produce,
Brought from under every star,
Blown from over every main,
And mixt, as life is mixt with pain,
The works of peace with works of war.
O ye, the wise who think. the wise who reign,
From growing commerce loose her latest chain,
And let the fair white-winged peacemaker fly
To happy havens under all the sky,
And mix the seasons and the golden hours,
Till each man finds his own in all men’s good,
And all men work in noble brotherhood,
Breaking their mailed fleets and armed towers
And ruling by obeying nature’s powers,
And gathering all the fruits of peace, and crown’d
with all her flowers.

Title:Poem on International Exhibition

Author:Poet Laureate

Publication:Rochdale Pilot

Published in:Rochdale

Date:May 3 1862

Keywords:Labour, Peace


This poem by Lord Tennyson, the Poet Laureate of Britain at the time, celebrates the International Exhibition of 1862, which brought together objects and inventions and works of art from 36 countries. Although the poem notes the examples of fine and rough textiles in the exhibition, there is no mention of the troubles currently affecting the British cotton industry at this time, and the poem, as the exhibition itself, was an exercise in trumpeting industrial and cultural achievement. The poem does however pointedly valorise ‘peace’, which may be a veiled critique on American contemporary troubles. – SR