As a sometime member of the Malet Lambert School Hypothetical Upper Sixth Form Physics Poetry Reading Circle, I’ve long held the deepest admiration for Scotland’s second most-famous poet, William Topaz McGonagall (Wikipedia article). His seminal work, The Tay Bridge Disaster, merely hints at the depth of talent and breadth of his work, my personal favourite being the spectacular Attempted Assassination of the Queen:
God prosper long our noble Queen,
And long may she reign!
Maclean he tried to shoot her,
But it was all in vain.
For God He turned the ball aside
Maclean aimed at her head;
And he felt very angry
because he didn’t shoot her dead.
There’s a divinity that hedgeth a king,
And so it does seem,
And my opinion is, it has hedged
Our most gracious Queen.
Maclean must be a madman,
Which is obvious to be seen,
Or else he wouldn’t have tried to shoot
Our most beloved Queen.
Victoria is a good Queen,
Which all her subjects know,
And for that God has protected her
From all her deadly foes.
She is noble and generous,
Her subjects must confess;
There hasn’t been her equal
Since the days of good Queen Bess.
Long may she be spared to roam
Among the bonnie Highland floral,
And spend many a happy day
In the palace of Balmoral.
Because she is very kind
To the old women there,
And allows them bread, tea, and sugar,
And each one to get a share.
And when they know of her coming,
Their hearts feel overjoy’d,
Because, in general, she finds work
For men that’s unemploy’d.
And she also gives the gipsies money
While at Balmoral, I’ve been told,
And, mind ye, seldom silver,
But very often gold.
I hope God will protect her
By night and by day,
At home and abroad
When she’s far away.
May He be as a hedge around her,
As He’s been all along,
And let her live and die in peace
Is the end of my song.
I’m particularly fond of the seventh verse.
But now, I read a scandalous theory purporting to be of academic extraction, to the effect that McGonagall may not have been a serious poet after all, but in fact a sly and mischievous performance artist merely purporting to be a serious poet for comic effect. There shall be thunder in the Highlands at this slight and slur, I assure you, and no stone shall be left unturned to unearth the perpetrator of such vile and insidious perfidy!