1842 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Maginn

John Gibson Lockhart, 1842; Maclise Gallery (1898) 48.



Here early to bed, lies kind William Maginn,
Who with genius wit learning life's trophies to win,
Had neither great lord nor rich cit of his kin
Nor discretion to set himself up as to tin;
So, his portion soon spent like the poor heir of Lynn
He turn'd author while yet was no beard on his chin
And whoever was out, or whoever was in,
For your Tories his fine Irish brains he would spin;
Who received prose and rhyme with a promising grin
"Go ahead you queer fish, and more power to your fin!"
But to save from starvation stirr'd never a pin.
Light for long was his heart though his breeches were thin,
Else his acting for certain, was equal to Quin;
But at last he was beat, and sought help from the bin,
(All the same to the Doctor from claret to gin)
Which led swiftly to gaol, with consumption therein.
It was much, when the bones rattled loose in his skin,
He got leave to die here, out of Babylon's din.
Barring drink and the girls, I ne'er heard of a sin
Many worse, better few, than bright, broken Maginn.
Walton-on-Thames, August 1842.