Attempted Assassination of the Queen

Original Text: 
William McGonagall, Poetic Gems (1890; Trowbridge and Esher: Trowbridge, 1975): 66-68. PR 4970 .M45 P6 1975 St. Michael's College Library
1God prosper long our noble Queen,
2     And long may she reign!
3Maclean he tried to shoot her,
5For God He turned the ball aside
6     Maclean aimed at her head;
7And he felt very angry
8     Because he didn't shoot her dead.
10     And so it does seem,
11And my opinion is, it has hedged
12     Our most gracious Queen.
13Maclean must be a madman,
14     Which is obvious to be seen,
15Or else he wouldn't have tried to shoot
16     Our most beloved Queen.
17Victoria is a good Queen,
18     Which all her subjects know,
19And for that God has protected her
20     From all her deadly foes.
21She is noble and generous,
22     Her subjects must confess;
23There hasn't been her equal
25Long may she be spared to roam
26     Among the bonnie Highland floral,
27And spend many a happy day
29Because she is very kind
30     To the old women there,
31And allows them bread, tea, and sugar,
32     And each one to get a share.
33And when they know of her coming,
34     Their hearts feel overjoy'd,
35Because, in general, she finds work
36     For men that's unemploy'd.
37And she also gives the gipsies money
38     While at Balmoral, I've been told,
39And, mind ye, seldom silver,
40     But very often gold.
41I hope God will protect her
42     By night and by day,
43At home and abroad,
44     When she's far away.
45May He be as a hedge around her,
46     As He's been all along,
47And let her live and die in peace
48     Is the end of my song.


4] A Scottish would-be poet, Roderick Maclean, shot a pistol at Queen Victoria as she sat in her train carriage at Windsor train station on March 2, 1882. A trial convicted Maclean, who may have been motivated by the return of one of his manuscript poems by Lady Elizabeth Biddulph on behalf of the Queen, but regarded him as insane and sent him to an asylum. Back to Line
9] A quotation from Shakespeare's Hamlet, where Claudius says to rebelling Laertes:
There's such divinity doth hedge a king
That treason can but peep to what it would,
Acts little of his will.
(IV.v.124-26). Back to Line
24] good Queen Bess: Elizabeth I (1533-1603). Back to Line
28] Balmoral: the Scottish home of the royal family since 1848, and purchased by Prince Albert for Victoria. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: