The Corner

Desperate Rhymes

One of those posting a comment over at Harry’s Place links to a website linked to the always entertaining William Topaz McGonagall, a 19th Century poet who always wrote, um, with enthusiasm.

Here are the concluding lines of The Battle of El-Teb

“Oh, God of Heaven! it was a terrible sight/To see, and hear the Arabs shouting with all their might/A fearful oath when they got an inch of cold steel,/Which forced them backwards again and made them reel.

“By two o’clock they were fairly beat,/And Osman Digna, the false prophet, was forced to retreat/After three hours of an incessant fight;/But Heaven, ’tis said, defends the right.

“And I think he ought to be ashamed of himself;/For I consider he has acted the part of a silly elf,/By thinking to conquer the armies of the Lord/With his foolish and benighted rebel horde.

Now that’s what I call a clash of civilizations.


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