1821
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ode on the King's Landing in Ireland, Twelfth August, MDCCCXXI.

Blackwood's Magazine 10 (August 1821) 94-98.

William Maginn


Fourteen Prior stanzas, "by John Howley, Esq. of Garry Owen." William Maginn celebrates the arrival of George IV in Dublin with a burlesque imitation of Spenser's catalogues of rivers: "Rivers, dear rivers, in meandring roll, | Move to your Sovereign merrily along; | Ye whom the mighty minstrel of old Mole | Has all embalmed in his enchanting song." The poem is decorated with marginal notes in the antique manner. The epigraph is taken from Spenser's Epithalamion: "Ring ye the bells, ye young men of the town, | And leave your wonted labours for this day: | This day is holy; do you write it down, | That ye for ever it remember may." For the attribution, see see Alan Lang Stout, "Blunders about Blackwood" Notes and Queries 202 (June 1957) 263.

Author's note to the appended "Welcome to his Majesty": "As I lifted up my voice, and wept over the great national calamity which overspread my native land last year (I need not say the death of Sir Daniel,) I think it right now in the general joy of Ireland at the arrival of the King. I choose the same meter as that which I used in the Luctus, it being, as Beattie well observes of the Spenserian stanza, equally adapted to the grave and gay. Of course, as before, I recommend it to be sung by my old friend Terry Magrath. The Director at the corner will be saying every where that it was he who wrote this song, or at least that he connived at it, but don't believe him, it being all excogitated by, My dear sir, Your's till death do us part, R. D. R." p. 98. The reference is to Maginn's Commencement of Childe Daniel" which appeared in Blackwood's Magazine May 1820. "Doctor Brinkley" is identified as Professor of Astronomy at Trinity College, Dublin.

William Blackwood to William Maginn: "I feel prodigious anxiety about my next number; it is so much consequence that it should be very good as well as very lively. I entreat of you, as the greatest favour you can ever do me, to make the utmost exertions that your limited leisure will permit you. It would have an admirable effect if you could send me an article full of the true loyal Irish feeling which is at present sweeping all before it in your Green Isle. None but an Irishman can do this. At the same time, this is not to prevent there being plenty of the humorous and droll turn of communication, in the Luctus style, as you proposed. The ode and the song every one is delighted with; and a great deal more of the same kind is expected in our next number. [Delta] writes me that he never almost read anything so good; and Wilson and Hamilton were quite delighted with them" 1821; in Edward Kenealy, "William Maginn, LL.D" Dublin University Magazine 23 (January 1844) 83.

John Wilson: "ODOHERTY. The King is a man of genius. MR. BLACKWOOD. Do you think, sirs, that the King would become a contributor to the Magazine? I have sent his Majesty a set splendidly bound by —. MR. NORTH. Hush, Ebony, leave that to me. You must not interfere with the editorial department" (September 1822) in Noctes Ambrosianae (1857) 1:227.



PROEMIUM.
1.
As I was sitting on the Shannon side,
Lull'd by the sound of that majestic flood,
A horseman on a sudden I espied,
Galloping by as quickly as he could;
I hail'd him, but he slacken'd not his pace,
Still urging on his steed, a gallant grey,
Until he past me, then he turn'd his face
Back towards his horse's tail, and thus did say,—
"I ride express with news to strike you dumb,
"Our monarch has arrived at last — King George the Fourth is come!"

2.
He scarce had spoken, ere away he pass'd
Out of my sight as rapid as a bird,
And left me there in much amazement cast,
Looking, perhaps, in some degree absurd;
The noble river rolling calmly by,
The horse, the hasty rider, all did seem,
Even to the vision of my outward eye,
Like the thin shadowy figments of a dream;
I felt, in short, as Wordsworth did, when he
Chanced the leech gatherer on the moor all by himself to see.

3.
By the exertion of judicious thought,
At last I from this mental trance awoke,
Marvelling much how in that lonely spot,
Upon my eyes so strange a vision broke;
From the green bank immediately I went,
And into Limerick's ancient city sped;
During my walk, with puzzled wonderment
I thought on what the rapid horseman said;
And, as is commonly the case, when I
Feel any way oppress'd in thought, it made me very dry.

4.
When I arrived in brick-built George's Street,
Instinctively I there put forth my hand
To where a bottle, stored with liquid sweet,
Did all upon an oaken table stand;
Then turning up my little finger strait,
I gazed like Docter Brinkley on the sky,
Whence heavenly thought I caught — pure and elate
Of holy harpings of deep poesy;
And, ere a moment its brief flight could wing,
I threw the empty bottle down, to chaunt about the King.

ODE.
1.
A very glorious day this is indeed!
This is indeed a very glorious day!
For now our gracious monarch will proceed
On Irish ground his royal foot to lay.
Rejoice then, O my country, in a tide
Of buoyant, foaming, overflowing glee;
As swells the porter o'er the gallon's side,
So let your joy swell up as jovially;
Shout, great and little people, all and some
Our monarch has arrived at last — King George the Fourth has come!

2.
Come down, ye mountains, bend your numbsculls low,
Ye little hills run capering to the shore,
Now on your marrow bones, all in a row,
From all your caves a royal welcome roar.
Howth is already at the water-side,
Such is that loyal mountain's duteous haste;
Come then to join him, come with giant stride,
Come, I repeat, there's little time to waste;
In your best suits of green depart from home,
For now our monarch has arrived — King George the Fourth has come!

3.
Down should dispatch Morne's snowy-vested peaks,
And Tipperary Knocksheogowna's hill,
Kerry, the great Macgillycuddys reeks,
Cork, the Galtees, studded with many a still,
Gallop from Wicklow, Sugarloaf the sweet!
From Wexford, bloody Vinegar the sour!
Croagh must be there, from whose conspicuous seat
St Patrick made the snakes from Ireland scour,—
All, all should march, tramp off to beat of drum,
For now our monarch has arrived — King George the Fourth has come!

4.
Rivers, dear rivers, in meandring roll,
Move to your Sovereign merrily along;
Ye whom the mighty minstrel of old Mole
Has all embalmed in his enchanting song;
Liffey shall be your spokesman, roaring forth
A very neat Address from either Bull,
While all the rest of you, from south to north,
Shall flow around in currents deep and full,
Murmuring beneath your periwigs of foam—
"Our Monarch has arrived at last — King George the Fourth has come!"

5.
Killarney sulkily remains behind,
Thinking the King should come to wait on her;
And if be wont, she swears with sturdy mind,
That not one step to visit him she'll stir.
But all the other loughs, where'er they be,
From mighty Neagh, the stone-begetting lake,
To Corrib, Swilly, Gara, Dearg, or Rea,
Or Googaun-Barra, when the Lee doth take
Its lovely course, join in the general hum—
"Our monarch has arrived at last — King George the Fourth has come!"

6.
O ye blest bogs, true sons of Irish soil,
how can I e'er your loyal zeal express?
You have already risen, despising toil,
And travell'd up, your Sovereign to address.
Clara has led the way, immortal bog,
Now Kilmalady follows in his train;
Allen himself must soon to join them jog
From Geashil barony, with might and main,
In turfy thunders, shouting as they roam,
"Our Sovereign has arrived at last — King George the Fourth has come!"

7.
Ha! what's this woeful thumping that I hear?
Oh! 'tis the Giant's Causeway moving on,
Heavily pacing, with a solemn cheer,
On clumsy hoofs of basalt octagon.
(Gigantic wanderer! lighter be your tramp
Or you may press our luckless cities down:
'Twould be a pity, if a single stamp
Smash'd bright Belfast — sweet linen-vending town.)
Why have you travelled from your sea-beat dome?
"Because our monarch has arrived — King George the Fourth has come!"

8.
Last slopes in, sailing from the extremest south,
Gallant Cape Clear, a most tempestuous isle;
Certain am I, that when she opes her mouth,
She will harangue in oratoric style.
So North, and South, and East, and West combine
Ulster, and Connaught, Leinster, Munster, Meath,
To hail the King, who, first of all his line,
Was ever seen old Ireland's sky beneath.
All shall exclaim, for none shall there be mum,
"Our monarch has arrived at last — King George the Fourth has come!"

L'ENVOY.
1.
How living people joy, I shall not tell,
Else I should make my song a mile in length;
Plebeian bards that theme may answer well,
Chaunting their lays with pertinacious strength:
They may describe how all, both man and beast
Have in the general glee respective shares;
How equal merriment pervades the breast
Of sharks and lawyers — asses and Lord Mayors—
Of whelps and dandies — orators and geese—
In short, of every living thing, all in their own degrees.
But ye remorseless rhymesters, spare the King!

2.
Have some compassion on your own liege Lord!
Oh! it would be a most terrific thing
Were he to death by Dublin poets bored.
See three sweet singers out of College bray,
And all the aldermen have hired a bard,
The Castle, too, its ode, I ween, will pay,
And the newspapers have their pens prepared.
Be silent, then, and mute, ye unpaid fry!
Let none attempt to greet the King, save such great bards as I.

[pp. 94-98]