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Song, Of One Eleven Years In Prison

George Canning 1770 (Marylebone, Middlesex) – 1827 (Chiswick, Middlesex)


Whene'er with haggard eyes I view
This dungeon that I'm rotting in,
I think of those companions true
Who studied with me at the U
niversity of Gottingen,
niversity of Gottingen.

[Weeps, and pulls out a blue kerchief, with which he wipes his eyes; gazing tenderly at it, he proceeds]


Sweet kerchief, check'd with heavenly blue,
Which once my love sat knotting in!
Alas! Matilda then was true!
At least I thought so at the U
niversity of Gottingen,
niversity of Gottingen.

[At the repetition of this line he clanks his chains in cadence.]


Barbs! Barbs! alas! how swift you flew,
Her neat post-wagon trotting in!
Ye bore Matilda from my view;
Forlorn I languish'd at the U
niversity of Gottingen,
niversity of Gottingen.


This faded form! this pallid hue!
This blood my veins is clotting in,
My years are many, they were few
When first I entered at the U
niversity of Gottingen,
niversity of Gottingen.


There first for thee my passion grew,
Sweet, sweet Matilda Pottengen!
Thou wast the daughter of my tu
tor, law professor at the U
niversity of Gottingen,
niversity of Gottingen.


Sun, moon and thou, vain world, adieu,
That kings and priests are plotting in;
Here doom'd to starve on water gru
el, never shall I see the U
niversity of Gottingen,
niversity of Gottingen.

[During the last stanza he dashes his head repeatedly against the walls of his prison; and, finally, so hard as to produce a visible contusion; he then throws himself on the floor in an agony. The curtain drops; the music still continuing to play till it is wholly fallen.]
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

1:29 min read

George Canning

George Canning, FRS, was a British statesman and politician who served as Foreign Secretary and was briefly Prime Minister. Canning was born into an Anglo-Irish family at his parents' home in Queen Anne Street, Marylebone, London. Canning described himself as "an Irishman born in London". His father, George Canning, Sr., of Garvagh, County Londonderry, Ireland, was a gentleman of limited means, a failed wine merchant and lawyer, who renounced his right to inherit the family estate in exchange for payment of his substantial debts. George Sr. eventually abandoned the family and died in poverty on 11 April 1771, his son's first birthday, in London. Canning's mother, Mary Anne Costello, took work as a stage actress, a profession not considered respectable at the time. Indeed when in 1827 it looked as if Canning would become Prime Minister, Lord Grey remarked that "the son of an actress is, ipso facto, disqualified from becoming Prime Minister". more…

All George Canning poems | George Canning Books

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