William McGonagall Poems

Poems » william mcgonagall

William McGonagall
William Topaz McGonagall (1825 – 29 September 1902) was a Scottish weaver, actor, and poet. He is comically renowned as one of the worst poets in the English language. Born in Edinburgh, of Irish parentage, McGonagall was working as a handloom weaver in Dundee, Scotland when an event occurred that was to change his life. As he was later to write: The most startling incident in my life was the time I discovered myself to be a poet, which was in the year 1877. It was with this that he wrote his first poem An Address to the Rev. George Gilfillan, which showed all the hallmarks that would characterise his later work. Rev. Gilfillan commented "Shakespeare never wrote anything like this." McGonagall has been widely acclaimed as the worst poet in British history.[1] The chief criticisms of his poetry are that he is deaf to poetic metaphor and unable to scan correctly. In the hands of lesser artists, this might simply generate dull, uninspiring verse. However, McGonagall's fame stems from the humorous effects these shortcomings generate. The inappropriate rhythms, weak vocabulary, and ill-advised imagery combine to make his work amongst the most spontaneously amusing (albeit unintentionally) comic poetry in the English language.

the battle of omdurman
Ye Sons of Great Britain! come join with me
And sing in praise of the gallant British Armie,... [read poem]
the tay bridge disaster
Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay!
Alas! I am very sorry to say
That ninety live... [read poem]
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