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Beautiful city of Glasgow, with your streets so neat and clean,
Your stately mansions, and beautiful Green!
Likewise your beautiful bridges across the river Clyde,
And on your bonnie banks I would like to reside.

Then away to the West — to the beautiful West!
To the fair city of Glasgow that I like the best,
Where the river Clyde rolls on to the sea,
And the lark and the blackbird whistle with glee.

'Tis beautiful to see ships passing to and fro,
Laden with goods for the high and the low,
So let the beautiful city of Glasgow flourish,
And may the inhabitants always find food their bodies to nourish.

(William "Worst Poet in the World" McGonagall, Glasgow)

I don't believe I have ever heard of this guy, William McGonagall before. After reading a bit of his, um, work, I rather wish I had never heard of him at all. But misery loves company, so I'll share a bit about "The Worst Poet in the World".

EDINBURGH, Scotland – The land that gave the world Robert Burns also has the dubious honor of producing the "world's worst poet." Now fans of the hapless William McGonagall are campaigning to put him in the pantheon of Scottish literary greats.

The late 19th century poet's work is so bad he carried an umbrella with him at all times as protection from the barrage of rotten tomatoes he faced wherever he recited.

His most famous work, a poem initially titled "The Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay," drew derision from crowds when it required a hasty rewrite after the structure collapsed in 1879.

It became "The Tay Bridge Disaster" with the immortal opening stanza: "Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay!/Alas! I am very sorry to say/That ninety lives have been taken away/On the last Sabbath day of 1879/Which will be remember'd for a very long time."

More than 100 years after the poet's death, detractors still won't give him a break: The Scottish literary establishment has blocked plans for a memorial to him at the Writers Museum in Edinburgh alongside those honoring Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Sir Walter Scott.

"The decision to turn down a place for McGonagall was just snobbery pure and simple," said Bob Watt, chairman of the Edinburgh Friends of William McGonagall.

If you're a real glutton for punishment there are a number of websites devoted to William Topaz McGonagall where you can wallow in masochism to your heart's content. Blue Crab Boulevard is in no way responsible for any damage to the reader's psychic wellbeing due to McGonagall poisoning.

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4 Responses to Glasgow

  1. wheels says:

    I’m quite fond of “The Goon Show,” a 1950s-vintage BBC radio comedy show. The people who produced it were quite fond of McGonagall, and occasionally made use of poetry of similar quality, attributed to a “McGoonagall.”

  2. Bleepless says:

    My patriotism requires that I mention, and urge upon you, Julia Moore, the Sweet Singer of Michigan. Her unconcern, not only for rhyme and meter, but syntax and grammar, catapult her into the front ranks. I do not even mention her fondness for unnatural death or Mark Twain’s fondness for her writing. Enjoy!

  3. Chris says:

    I’m sorry, but the prize must go to fellow Scotsman Ewan McTeagle. Here is his greatest work, ‘Can I have fifty pounds to mend the shed?’.

    Can I have fifty pounds to mend the shed?
    I’m right on my uppers.
    I can pay you back
    When this postal order comes from Australia.
    Hope the bladder trouble’s getting better.
    Love, Ewan.

  4. Bleepless says:

    Heh-heh. Yes, Chris, that was a Monty Python success.

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