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The Funeral of the Late Prince Henry of Battenberg

William Topaz McGonagall 1825 – 1902 (Greyfriars Parish, Edinburgh)

Alas! Prince Henry of Battenberg is dead!
And, I hope, has gone to heaven, its streets to tread,
And to sing with God's saints above,
Where all is joy and peace and love.

'Twas in the year of 1896, and on the 5th of February,
Prince Henry was buried at Whippingham- a solemn sight to see.
As the funeral moved off, it was a very impressive sight-
First came the military, and police, and volunteers from the Isle of Wight.

Then came the carriage party of the Scots Guards;
While the people uncovered their heads as it passed onwards
And many of them did sob and sigh
When the gun carriage with the coffin was passing by.

Prince Henry's charger was led by Richter, his stud groom;
And depicted in the people's faces there was a sad gloom
When they saw the noble charger of the dead-
It seemed that all joy from them had fled.

The Queen's carriage was followed by the Princess of Wales, and other Princesses,
All clad in gorgeous mourning dresses;
And there was a number of military representatives, which enhanced the scene;
And as the procession moved along it was solemn in the extreme.

Her Majesty looked very sad and serene,
Leaning back in her carriage could plainly be seen;
And the carriage was drawn by a pair of greys in grand harness;
And Her Majesty seemed to be in deep distress.

By Her Majesty's side sat the Princess Beatrice
And the two younger Battenberg children, looking very nice;
And by the coffin walked the elder Prince, immediately
Between Prince Louis and Prince Joseph, holding their hands tenderly.

The "Dead March" was played by the Marine Band;
And the music was solemn and very grand,
And accompanied by the roll of muffled drums;
Whilst among the spectators were heard sighs and hums.

And when the procession arrived at the church of Whippingham,
Then the coffin was carried inside- of the good man-
And was then laid in its resting place,
While sorrow was depicted in every face.

Then there was the firing of guns, with their earthly Thunder
Which made the people start and wonder;
And the tolling of the village bells,
While the solemn music on the air swells.

And the people said, "Prince Henry was a good man,
But now he's laid low in the church of Whippingham."
But when the Grim King his dart does throw,
None can escape death, high or low.

The funeral service was certainly very nice-
Which was by the request of Princess Beatrice-
Which was the rendering of Sullivan's anthem, "Brother, before us thou art gone"-
I hope unto thy heavenly home.

No Doubt the Princess Beatrice will mourn for him-
But to mourn for the dead it is a sin!
Therefore I hope God will comfort her always,
And watch o'er her children night and day.

Prince Henry was a God-fearing man-
And to deny it few people can-
And very kind to his children dear,
And for the loss of him they will drop a tear.

His relatives covered the coffin lid with wreaths of flowers,
While adown their cheeks flowed tears in showers.
Then the service concluded with "Christ will gather His own";
And each one left with a sad heart and went home.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:48 min read

William Topaz McGonagall

William Topaz McGonagall (March 1825 – 29 September 1902) was an Irish weaver, poet and actor who lived in Scotland. He won notoriety as an extremely bad poet who exhibited no recognition of, or concern for, his peers' opinions of his work. He wrote about 200 poems, including "The Tay Bridge Disaster" and "The Famous Tay Whale", which are widely regarded as some of the worst in English literature. Groups throughout Scotland engaged him to make recitations from his work, and contemporary descriptions of these performances indicate that many listeners were appreciating McGonagall's skill as a comic music hall character. Collections of his verse remain popular, with several volumes available today. McGonagall has been lampooned as the worst poet in British history. The chief criticisms are that he was deaf to poetic metaphor and unable to scan correctly. His only apparent understanding of poetry was his belief that it needed to rhyme. McGonagall's fame stems from the humorous effects these shortcomings are considered to generate in his work. Scholars argue that his inappropriate rhythms, weak vocabulary, and ill-advised imagery combine to make his work amongst the most unintentionally amusing dramatic poetry in the English language. His work is in a long tradition of narrative ballads and verse written and published about great events and tragedies, and widely circulated among the local population as handbills. In an age before radio and television, their voice was one way of communicating important news to an avid public. more…

All William Topaz McGonagall poems | William Topaz McGonagall Books

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    "The Funeral of the Late Prince Henry of Battenberg" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 16 Jun 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/41910/the-funeral-of-the-late-prince-henry-of-battenberg>.

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