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Author photo. Image from <b><i>John William Burgon, late Dean of Chichester : a biography</i></b> (1892) by Edward Meyrick Goulburn

Image from John William Burgon, late Dean of Chichester : a biography (1892) by Edward Meyrick Goulburn

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Short biography
Burgon's claim to fame, among the non-theological at any rate, is his Newdigate Prize poem Petra. The long poem, in rhymed couplets, is rarely read but lives because of the oft-quoted last two lines -

Match me such marvel save in Eastern clime,
a rose-red city half as old as time.

Despite his Middle-Eastern birth, Burgon had never seen Petra.
The poem was parodied by Peter Sellers in his Balham sketch, ending "a Rose-red city half as Golders Green."
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