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> William Topaz Macgonnagal, Arguably Scotland's worst poet
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Posted: 10-Sep-2003, 09:16 AM
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I love the poetry of WT MacGonnagal.... it is just SOOOOO awful. His Tay Bridge Disaster opus is just so bad that you can't help laughing at it! Poor MacGonnagal!

Pasted from http://www.taynet.co.uk/users/mcgon/

QUOTE William McGonagall is Dundee's best remembered nobody. He was a man without talent who thought he was a great poet and tragedian and only needed an opportunity to prove it. This made him the perfect target for practical jokers who abounded in his day. He was engaged to give entertainments in small halls just so his audience could make a goat of him. His teetotal drink was spiked with alcohol.
McGonagall had passed middle life before he got the idea he had been visited by the muse. He was born in Edinburgh in 1825 and grew up in Dundee, to which his father moved in search of work. William also laboured long hours in the weaving trade.

All his life he was the butt of cruel jokes, but his faith in himself could not be shaken.

His remains were dropped into a paupers' grave nearly a hundred years ago, but his memory holds up.

All his poems have been published and so are there to be judged: they have, if nothing else, the quality of inimitability.

Until earlier this year his name and portrait flourished over a public house in one of Dundee's main roads and a McGonagall Society endures.

He claims a place on library shelves because his indomitable spirit appealed to authors and essayists. He made a number of courageous journeys, courageous in respect they were made by a person whose means were generally nil. He went to Balmoral, 50 odd miles, on foot, in the hope of seeing Queen Victoria. He got no further than the gate and was told never to come back. To London, then by sea, lured by forged invitations and, to cap it all, to New York, crossing the ocean in the steerage class and arriving with eight shillings. The streets of New York were not paved with gold for him, and in no time he was appealing to a Dundee benefactor to get him back home. UNQUOTE


The Tay Disaster poem is very long - but just to give you a flavour of MacGonnagal here is one of his finest biggrin.gif

A Descriptive Poem on the Silvery Tay

Beautiful silvery Tay,
With your landscapes, so lovely and gay,
Along each side of your waters, to Perth all the way;
No other river in the world has got scenery more fine,
Only I am told the beautiful Rhine,
Near to Wormit Bay, it seems very fine,
Where the Railway Bridge is towering above its waters sublime,
And the beautiful ship Mars,
With her Juvenile Tars,
Both lively and gay,
Does carelessly lie
By night and by day,
In the beautiful Bay
Of the silvery Tay.
Beautiful, beautiful! silvery Tay,
Thy scenery is enchanting on a fine summer day,
Near by Balmerino it is beautiful to behold,
When the trees are in full bloom and the cornfields seems like gold -
And nature's face seems gay,
And the lambkins they do play,
And the humming bee is on the wing,
It is enough to make one sing,
While they carelessly do stray,
Along the beautiful banks of the silvery Tay,
Beautiful silvery Tay, rolling smoothly on your way,
Near by Newport, as clear as the day,
Thy scenery around is charming I'll be bound...
And would make the heart of any one feel light and gay on a fine summer day,
To view the beautiful scenery along the banks of the silvery Tay.
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Posted: 11-Sep-2003, 10:20 AM
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Posted: 11-Sep-2003, 03:08 PM
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It was a dark and stormy night....Oh, wait, that's not poetry......

If age is a learning experience, I should be a genius by now...
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Posted: 13-Sep-2003, 08:47 AM
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Heh. I love Mcgonnagal's poetry. I nearly fell off my chair laughing when I saw that in the "Victorian Poetry" book for my seminar they had actually included one of his poems, the one about the Tay Whale.

"So the monster whale did sport and play
Among the innocent little fishes in the beautiful Tay,
Until he was seen by some men one day,
And they resoved to catch him without delay."

His rhymes are so random. Baboons, harpoons has to be my favorite rhyme laugh.gif


Always, she is standing by my side
She's my inspiration, and she's my battle-cry
And in her arms is the only place I know
Where peaceful waters flow.
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Posted: 14-Nov-2003, 06:26 PM
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First drafts.... Badly in nead of rewrite. Rhyme schemes should take moer than one or two lines before they repeat.

Hey! Dude! break it up a bit!

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Posted: 18-Nov-2003, 04:09 AM
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Nice work

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Posted: 04-Dec-2003, 06:10 AM
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Another gem from the pen of W T MacGonnagal cool.gif

A different 'slant' on Scotland's hero.......

A Summary History of Sir William Wallace

Sir William Wallace of Ellerslie,
I'm told he went to the High School in Dundee,
For to learn to read and write,
And after that he learned to fight,
While at the High School in Dundee,
The Provost's son with him disagree,
Because Wallace did wear a dirk,
He despised him like an ignorant stirk,
Which with indignation he keenly felt,
And told him it would become him better in his belt.

Then Wallace's blood began to boil,
Just like the serpent in its coil,
Before it leaps upon its prey;
And unto him he thus did say:
'Proud saucy cur, come cease your prate,
for no longer shall i wait,
For to hear you insult me,
At the High School in Dundee;
For such insolence makes my heart to smart,
And I'll plunge my dagger in you heart,'

Then his heart's blood did quickly flow,
And poor Wallace did not know where to go;
And he stood by him until dead.
Then far from him he quickly fled,
Lamenting greatly the deed he had done,
the murdering of the Provost's son.

The scene shifts to where he was fishing on day,
Where three English soldiers met him by the way,
And they asked him fo give them some fish,
And from them they would make a delicious dish,
then Wallace gave them share of his fish,
For to satisfy their wish;
But they seemed dissatisfied with the share they got,
So they were resolved to have all the lot.

Then Wallace he thought it was time to look out,
When they were resolved to have all his trout;
So he swung his fishing-rod with great force round his head,
And struck on of them a blow that killed him dead;
So he instantly seized the fallen man's sword,
And the other two fled without uttering a word.

Sir William Wallace of Ellerslie,
You were a warrior of great renown,
And might have worn Scotland's crown;
Had it not been for Monteith, the base traitor knave,
That brought you to a premature grave;
Yes! you were sold for English gold,
And brought like a sheep from the fold,
To die upon a shameful scaffold high,
Amidst the derisive shouts of your enemies standing by.

But you met your doom like a warrior bold,
Bidding defiance to them that had you sold,
And bared your neck for the headsman's stroke;
And cried, 'Marion, dear, my heart is broke;
My lovely dear I come to thee,
Oh! I am longing thee to see!'
But the headsman was as stolid as the rock,
And the axe fell heavily on the block,
And the scaffold did shake with the terrible shock,
As the body of noble Wallace fell,
Who had fought for Scotland so well.
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