To the Queen by the players

To the Queen by the players  (c. 1599) 
William Shakespeare

The poem was attributed to Shakespeare by William Ringler and Steven May, who discovered it in 1972 in the notebook of a man called Henry Stanford, who is known to have worked in the household of the Lord Chamberlain. Other scholars have accepted the attribution, including James S. Shapiro and Jonathan Bate.[1] Its attribution to Shakespeare has, however, been contested by Michael Hattaway, Helen Hackett and others.[2]

As the dial hand tells o'er
The same hours it had before,

Still beginning in the ending,
Circular account still lending,

So, most mighty Queen we pray,
Like the dial day by day

You may lead the seasons on,
Making new when old are gone,

That the babe which now is young
And hath yet no use of tongue

Many a Shrovetide here may bow
To that empress I do now,

That the children of these lords,
Sitting at your council boards,

May be grave and aged seen
Of her that was their fathers' queen.

Once I wish this wish again,
Heaven subscribe it with "Amen".


  1. Bate, Jonathan (2007-04-21). "Is there a lost Shakespeare in your attic?". The Daily Telegraph, 21 Apr 2007.
  2. Helen Hackett, "As The Diall Hand Tells Ore’: The Case for Dekker, Not Shakespeare, As Author", Review of English Studies, 2011; Michael Hattaway, Dating As You Like It, Epilogues and Prayers, and the Problems of "As the Dial Hand Tells O'er", Shakespeare Quarterly, Volume 60, Number 2, Summer 2009, pp. 159-60.

This work was published before January 1, 1927, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.