This day marks an incident in 1882, when a deranged amateur poet, Roderick McLean, attempted to assassinate Queen Victoria with a pistol. He was miffed that the sovereign had under-appreciated a poem he’d sent her.
The queen was riding in her coach at Windsor at the time. McLean managed to loose off a shot but was overpowered by the crowd before he could have a second go. At his trial for treason, he was found “not guilty, but insane” and committed to Broadmoor, where he died in 1921. The queen was not amused and lobbied Parliament for a verdict to be introduced to the Statute Books of “guilty, but insane”.
The incident was celebrated by McLean’s fellow-countryman and everybody’s favourite bad poet, William McGonagall. For your amusement, here it is:
Attempted Assassination of the Queen
God prosper long our noble Queen,
And long may she reign!
Maclean he tried to shoot her,
But it was all in vain.
For God He turned the ball aside
Maclean aimed at her head;
And he felt very angry
Because he didn’t shoot her dead.
There’s a divinity that hedges a king,
And so it does seem,
And my opinion is, it has hedged
Our most gracious Queen.
Maclean must be a madman,
Which is obvious to be seen,
Or else he wouldn’t have tried to shoot
Our most beloved Queen.
Victoria is a good Queen,
Which all her subjects know,
And for that God has protected her
From all her deadly foes.
She is noble and generous,
Her subjects must confess;
There hasn’t been her equal
Since the days of good Queen Bess.
Long may she be spared to roam
Among the bonnie Highland floral,
And spend many a happy day
In the palace of Balmoral.
Because she is very kind
To the old women there,
And allows them bread, tea, and sugar,
And each one get a share.
And when they know of her coming,
Their hearts feel overjoy’d,
Because, in general, she finds work
For men that’s unemploy’d.
And she also gives the gipsies money
While at Balmoral, I’ve been told,
And, mind ye, seldom silver,
But very often gold.
I hope God will protect her
By night and by day,
At home and abroad,
When she’s far away.
May He be as a hedge around her,
As he’s been all along,
And let her live and die in peace
Is the end of my song.