Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. IX. Tragedy: Humor
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume IX. Tragedy: Humor.  1904.
 
Humorous Poems: II. Miscellaneous
Epitaph
George Canning (1770–1827)
 
For the Tombstone Erected over the Marquis of Anglesea’s Leg, Lost at Waterloo

HERE rests, and let no saucy knave
  Presume to sneer and laugh,
To learn that moldering in the grave
  Is laid a British Calf.
 
For he who writes these lines is sure,        5
  That those who read the whole
Will find such laugh was premature,
  For here, too, lies a sole.
 
And here five little ones repose,
  Twin born with other five,        10
Unheeded by their brother toes,
  Who all are now alive.
 
A leg and foot to speak more plain,
  Rests here of one commanding;
Who though his wits he might retain,        15
  Lost half his understanding.
 
And when the guns, with thunder fraught,
  Poured bullets thick as hail,
Could only in this way be taught
  To give the foe leg-bail.        20
 
And now in England, just as gay
  As in the battle brave,
Goes to a rout, review, or play,
  With one foot in the grave.
 
Fortune in vain here showed her spite,        25
  For he will still be found,
Should England’s sons engage in fight,
  Resolved to stand his ground.
 
But Fortune’s pardon I must beg;
  She meant not to disarm,        30
For when she lopped the hero’s leg,
  She did not seek his harm,
 
And but indulged a harmless whim;
  Since he could walk with one,
She saw two legs were lost on him,        35
  Who never meant to run.
 
 
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