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William Topaz McGonagall (March 1825 – 29 September 1902) was an Irish weaver, poet and actor who lived in Scotland. He won notoriety as an extremely bad poet who exhibited no recognition of, or concern for, his peers' opinions of his work. He wrote about 200 poems, including "The Tay Bridge Disaster" and "The Famous Tay Whale", which are widely regarded as some of the worst in English literature. Groups throughout Scotland engaged him to make recitations from his work, and contemporary descriptions of these performances indicate that many listeners were appreciating McGonagall's skill as a comic music hall character. Collections of his verse remain popular, with several volumes available today. McGonagall has been lampooned as the worst poet in British history. The chief criticisms are that he was deaf to poetic metaphor and unable to scan correctly. His only apparent understanding of poetry was his belief that it needed to rhyme. McGonagall's fame stems from the humorous effects these shortcomings are considered to generate in his work. Scholars argue that his inappropriate rhythms, weak vocabulary, and ill-advised imagery combine to make his work amongst the most unintentionally amusing dramatic poetry in the English language. His work is in a long tradition of narrative ballads and verse written and published about great events and tragedies, and widely circulated among the local population as handbills. In an age before radio and television, their voice was one way of communicating important news to an avid public.

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Famous poems by William Topaz McGonagall 204 total

Death and Burial of Lord Tennyson 128 ViewsRate it:
The Tay Bridge Disaster 127 ViewsRate it:
The Late Sir John Ogilvy 123 ViewsRate it:
A Humble Heroine 121 ViewsRate it:
Robert Burns 121 ViewsRate it:
The Fair Maid of Perth's House 121 ViewsRate it:
Oban 120 ViewsRate it:
A Tale of the Sea 119 ViewsRate it:
An Address to Shakespeare 118 ViewsRate it:
The Storming of the Dargai Heights 117 ViewsRate it:
The Summary History of Sir William Wallace 117 ViewsRate it:
A Tribute to Mr Murphy and the Blue Ribbon Army 115 ViewsRate it:
Wreck of the Schooner Samuel Crawford 114 ViewsRate it:
Beautiful Balmerino 114 ViewsRate it:
Beautiful Rothesay 114 ViewsRate it:
Lines in Praise of the Lyric Club Banquet 114 ViewsRate it:
The Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay 114 ViewsRate it:
The Battle of Bannockburn 113 ViewsRate it:
The Collision in the English Channel 113 ViewsRate it:
Annie Marshall the Foundling 112 ViewsRate it:
Loch Leven 111 ViewsRate it:
The Burning of the People's Variety Theatre, Aberdeen 111 ViewsRate it:
The Death of the Old Mendicant 111 ViewsRate it:
The Funeral of the Late Prince Henry of Battenberg 111 ViewsRate it:
The Rattling Boy from Dublin 111 ViewsRate it:
Bonnie Callander 110 ViewsRate it:
Montrose 109 ViewsRate it:
The Burial of Mr. Gladstone 109 ViewsRate it:
The Demon Drink 109 ViewsRate it:
A Summary History of Lord Clive 108 ViewsRate it:
Balmoral Castle 108 ViewsRate it:
The Battle of El-Teb 108 ViewsRate it:
Calamity in London 107 ViewsRate it:
The Bonnie Sidlaw Hills 107 ViewsRate it:
Forget-Me-Not 106 ViewsRate it:
Little Popeet - the Lost Child 105 ViewsRate it:
The Sorrows of the Blind 105 ViewsRate it:
The Wreck of the Barque Wm. Paterson of Liverpool 105 ViewsRate it:
Adventures of King Robert the Bruce 104 ViewsRate it:
Hanchen, the Maid of the Mill 104 ViewsRate it:
The Burns Statue 104 ViewsRate it:
The Death of the Rev. Dr. Wilson 104 ViewsRate it:
Jenny Carrister, The Heroine of Lucknow-Mine 103 ViewsRate it:
Lines in Reply to the Beautiful Poet Who Welcomed News of McGonagall's Departure from Dundee 103 ViewsRate it:
Mary, the Maid o' the Tay 103 ViewsRate it:
The Battle of Culloden 103 ViewsRate it:
A New Temperance Poem, in Memory of My Departed Parents, Who Were Sober Living & God Fearing People 102 ViewsRate it:
Attempted Assassination of the Queen 102 ViewsRate it:
Beautiful Crief 102 ViewsRate it:
Lines in Praise of Professor Blackie 102 ViewsRate it:
The Crucifixion of Christ 102 ViewsRate it:
The Inauguration of the University College 102 ViewsRate it:
The Famous Tay Whale 101 ViewsRate it:
The Kessack Ferry-Boat Fatality 101 ViewsRate it:
Beautiful Balmoral 100 ViewsRate it:
Grace Darling 100 ViewsRate it:
A Requisition to the Queen 99 ViewsRate it:
The Battle of Corunna 99 ViewsRate it:
The Wreck of the Barque Lynton 99 ViewsRate it:
The Hero of Rorke's Drift 98 ViewsRate it:
The Downfall of Delhi 97 ViewsRate it:
Bill Bowls the Sailor 96 ViewsRate it:
Broughty Ferry 96 ViewsRate it:
The Battle of Flodden Field 96 ViewsRate it:
Little Pierre's Song 95 ViewsRate it:
The Burning of the Steamer City of Montreal 95 ViewsRate it:
The Wreck of the Columbine 95 ViewsRate it:
Captain Teach alias Black Beard 94 ViewsRate it:
General Gordon, the Hero of Khartoum 94 ViewsRate it:
The Death of Lord and Lady Dalhousie 94 ViewsRate it:
The Den o' Fowlis 94 ViewsRate it:
Descriptive Jottings of London 92 ViewsRate it:
The Little Match Girl 92 ViewsRate it:
The Loss of the Victoria 92 ViewsRate it:
McGonagall's Ode to the King 90 ViewsRate it:
The Hero of Kalapore 90 ViewsRate it:
The Rebel Surprise Near Tamai 90 ViewsRate it:
An Address to the New Tay Bridge 89 ViewsRate it:
Grif, of the Bloody Hand 89 ViewsRate it:
The Battle of Alexandria 88 ViewsRate it:
A Tribute to Mr J. Graham Henderson, The World's Fair Judge 87 ViewsRate it:
The Burial of the Reverend Gilfillan 87 ViewsRate it:
The Irish Convict's Return 87 ViewsRate it:
The Pennsylvania Disaster 87 ViewsRate it:
Farewell Address at the Argyle Hall 86 ViewsRate it:
The Battle of Atbara 86 ViewsRate it:
The Clepington Catastrophe 85 ViewsRate it:
The Relief of Mafeking 85 ViewsRate it:
A Descriptive Poem on the Silvery Tay 84 ViewsRate it:
Little Jamie 84 ViewsRate it:
Lord Robert's Triumphal Entry into Pretoria 83 ViewsRate it:
The Sprig of Moss 81 ViewsRate it:
The Great Franchise Demonstration 81 ViewsRate it:
A Tale of Christmas Eve 80 ViewsRate it:
Beautiful Nairn 80 ViewsRate it:
The Battle of Omdurman 79 ViewsRate it:
Lines in Memoriam Regarding the Entertainment in Reform Street Hall, Dundee 79 ViewsRate it:
The Queen's Jubilee Celebrations 79 ViewsRate it:
The Wreck of the Thomas Dryden 79 ViewsRate it:
The Funeral of the German Emperor 78 ViewsRate it:
Edinburgh 77 ViewsRate it:
The Albion Battleship Calamity 76 ViewsRate it:
The First Grenadier of France 76 ViewsRate it:
The Troubles of Matthew Mahoney 76 ViewsRate it:
Beautiful Newport on the Braes o' the Silvery Tay 75 ViewsRate it:
The Battle of the Nile 73 ViewsRate it:
The Inauguration of the Hill o' Balgay 73 ViewsRate it:
Jottings of New York 72 ViewsRate it:
An Excursion Steamer Sunk in the Tay 71 ViewsRate it:
Jack o' the Cudgel 71 ViewsRate it:
The Beautiful City of Perth 70 ViewsRate it:
The Terrific Cyclone of 1893 70 ViewsRate it:
Burning of the Exeter Theatre 69 ViewsRate it:
Nora, the Maid of Killarney 69 ViewsRate it:
The Death of Prince Leopold 69 ViewsRate it:
A Tale of Elsinore 68 ViewsRate it:
The Battle of Sheriffmuir 68 ViewsRate it:
The Heatherblend Club Banquet 68 ViewsRate it:
The Sunderland Calamity 67 ViewsRate it:
The Battle of Abu Klea 65 ViewsRate it:
An Autumn Reverie 64 ViewsRate it:
The Convict's Return 64 ViewsRate it:
Beautiful Monikie 63 ViewsRate it:
The Destroying Angel 63 ViewsRate it:
The Execution of James Graham, Marquis of Montrose 63 ViewsRate it:
The Wreck of the Whaler Oscar 63 ViewsRate it:
The Wreck of the Steamer Stella 62 ViewsRate it:
Beautiful Torquay 60 ViewsRate it:
The Capture of Lucknow 60 ViewsRate it:
The Funeral of the Late Ex-Provost Rough, Dundee 60 ViewsRate it:
Beautiful Edinburgh 59 ViewsRate it:
The River of Leith 59 ViewsRate it:
The Ancient Town of Leith 58 ViewsRate it:
Bonnie Dundee in 1878 57 ViewsRate it:
The Disastrous Fire at Scarborough 57 ViewsRate it:
The Nithsdale Widow and Her Son 56 ViewsRate it:
A Tribute to Henry M. Stanley 56 ViewsRate it:
Loch Ness 56 ViewsRate it:
The Moon 53 ViewsRate it:
The Great Yellow River Inundation in China 52 ViewsRate it:
To Mr James Scrymgeour, Dundee 51 ViewsRate it:
An Ode to the Queen on Her Jubilee Year 50 ViewsRate it:
The Burning of the Ship Kent 50 ViewsRate it:
The Tragic Death of the Rev. A.H. Mackonochie 50 ViewsRate it:
The Wreck of the Steamer London 49 ViewsRate it:
Beautiful Aberfoyle 48 ViewsRate it:
Bonnie Kilmany 48 ViewsRate it:
General Roberts in Afghanistan 48 ViewsRate it:
Jack Honest, or the Widow and Her Son 48 ViewsRate it:
The Bonnie Lass o' Dundee 47 ViewsRate it:
Baldovan 46 ViewsRate it:
Beautiful Comrie 45 ViewsRate it:
The Battle of Waterloo 45 ViewsRate it:
An Address to the Rev. George Gilfillan 44 ViewsRate it:
Glasgow 44 ViewsRate it:
The Death of Captain Ward 44 ViewsRate it:
Women's Suffrage 44 ViewsRate it:
Beautiful North Berwick 43 ViewsRate it:
The Battle of Shina, in Africa, Fought in 1800 42 ViewsRate it:
The Wreck of the Steamer Mohegan 42 ViewsRate it:
An Adventure in the Life of King James V of Scotland 40 ViewsRate it:
An All-Night Sea Fight 40 ViewsRate it:
Beautiful Village of Penicuik 40 ViewsRate it:
The Bonnie Lass o' Ruily 40 ViewsRate it:
The Capture of Havana 40 ViewsRate it:
The Castle of Mains 40 ViewsRate it:
Lines in Defence of the Stage 39 ViewsRate it:
Richard Pigott, the Forger 38 ViewsRate it:
The Horrors of Majuba 38 ViewsRate it:
The Miraculous Escape of Robert Allan, the Fireman 37 ViewsRate it:
Lines in Praise of Tommy Atkins 37 ViewsRate it:
The Battle of Alma 37 ViewsRate it:
The Newport Railway 37 ViewsRate it:
John Rouat the Fisherman 36 ViewsRate it:
A Christmas Carol 35 ViewsRate it:
The Beautiful Sun 35 ViewsRate it:
The Village of Tayport and Its Surroundings 34 ViewsRate it:
Greenland's Icy Mountains 33 ViewsRate it:
The Black Watch Memorial 33 ViewsRate it:
The Last Berkshire Eleven 33 ViewsRate it:
Lines in Praise of Mr. J. Graham Henderson, Hawick 32 ViewsRate it:
The Wreck of the Abercrombie Robinson 31 ViewsRate it:
The Wreck of the Steamer Storm Queen 31 ViewsRate it:
Bonnie Montrose 30 ViewsRate it:
Loch Katrine 30 ViewsRate it:
The Blind Girl 30 ViewsRate it:
Saving a Train 29 ViewsRate it:
The Battle of Glencoe 29 ViewsRate it:
The Battle of Inkermann 29 ViewsRate it:
The Death of Fred Marsden, the American Playwright 29 ViewsRate it:
The Death of the Queen 29 ViewsRate it:
An Ode to the Queen 28 ViewsRate it:
Lost in the Prairie 28 ViewsRate it:
The Battle of Cressy 26 ViewsRate it:
A Soldier's Reprieve 25 ViewsRate it:
The Ashantee War 25 ViewsRate it:
The Christmas Goose 25 ViewsRate it:
A New Year's Resolution to Leave Dundee 24 ViewsRate it:
The Royal Review 24 ViewsRate it:
The Wreck of the Indian Chief 23 ViewsRate it:
Young Munro the Sailor 22 ViewsRate it:
The Battle of Tel-el-Kebir 21 ViewsRate it:
The Battle of Gujrat 20 ViewsRate it:
A Tribute to Dr. Murison 19 ViewsRate it:

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