A dedication and poem from Victoria Regia: a Volume of Original Contributions in Poetry and Prose, 1861.
This literary anthology, edited by Adelaide Anne Proctor, was published in 1861 by the “Victoria Press (for the Employment of Women),” a London company that provided women’s vocational training in the printing trade. The title refers to the scientific classification of a giant Amazonian water lily, named in 1837 for newly-coronated Queen Victoria by a British explorer in the Empire’s first South American colony, present-day Guyana. This excerpt contains the book’s dedication along with a poem that likens Victoria’s namesake lily to the queen herself and, by extension, the entire British empire. The Latin inscription in the poem’s opening “P” translates as “patience and strength.” The volume ends with the Latin phrase “dux femina facti,” from Virgil’s Aeneid, meaning “a woman was the leader of the exploit.”