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A Requisition to the Queen

William Topaz McGonagall 1825 – 1902 (Greyfriars Parish, Edinburgh)

Smiths Buildings No. 19
Patons Lane,
Dundee.
Sept the 6th. 1877.

Most August! Empress of India, and of great Britain the Queen,
I most humbly beg your pardon, hoping you will not think it mean
That a poor poet that lives in Dundee,
Would be so presumptous to write unto Thee

Most lovely Empress of India, and Englands generous Queen,
I send you an Address, I have written on Scotlands Bard,
Hoping that you will accept it, and not be with me to hard,
Nor fly into a rage, but be as Kind and Condescending
As to give me your Patronage

Beautiful Empress, of India, and Englands Gracious Queen,
I send you a Shakespearian Address written by me.
And I think if your Majesty reads it, right pleased you will be.
And my heart it will leap with joy, if it is patronized by Thee.

Most Mighty Empress, of India, and Englands beloved Queen,
Most Handsome to be Seen.
I wish you every Success.
And that heaven may you bless.
For your Kindness to the poor while they are in distress.
I hope the Lord will protect you while living
And hereafter when your Majesty is ... dead.
I hope the Lord above will place an eternal Crown! upon your Head.
I am your Gracious Majesty ever faithful to Thee,
William McGonagall, The Poor Poet,
That lives in Dundee.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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William Topaz McGonagall

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. more…

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    "A Requisition to the Queen" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 14 Jun 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/41763/a-requisition-to-the-queen>.

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