George Linnaeus Banks
(March 2, 1821 –
May 3, 1881), husband of
author Isabella Banks, was a British journalist, editor, poet, playwright, amateur actor, orator, and Methodist.
born in Birmingham, the son of a seedsman familiar with the plant
nomenclature of Linnaeus.
brief experience in a variety of trades, in his late teens George
Banks became a contributor to various newspapers, and subsequently
a playwright, being the author of plays, burlesques
and lyrics. Between 1848 and 1864
he edited in succession a variety of newspapers, including the
Birmingham Mercury and
the Daily Express of
George Banks' plays included 'The Slave King', written for the
black actor Ira Aldridge
, and 'The
Swiss Father'; his popular songs included 'The Minstrel King',
'Warwickshire Will', and 'Dandy Jim of Caroline' based on a negro
melody; and his poetry included 'Daisies in the Grass' (1865). Some
of his more popular lines were frequently used by platform and
pulpit orators, notably his lyrical 'What I Live For':
now been adopted by the Zeta Pi Omega
sorority of IIT as their creed.
Banks died of cancer and pneumonia in Dalston, Hackney, close to London, and is
buried nearby at Abney Park Cemetery, Stoke
Newington with his
wife - the author Isabella
- "I live for those who love me, for those who know me true;
for the heaven that smiles above me and awaits my spirit too.
For the cause that lacks assistance, for the wrong that needs
resistance, for the future in the distance, and the good that I can