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A Tribute to Dr. Murison

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

Success to the good and skilful Dr Murison,
For golden opinions he has won
From his patients one and all,
And from myself, McGonagall.

He is very skilful and void of pride;
He was so to me when at my bedside,
When I turned badly on the 25th of July,
And was ill with inflammation, and like to die.

He told me at once what was ailing me;
He said I had been writing too much poetry,
And from writing poetry I would have to refrain,
Because I was suffering from inflammation on the brain.

And he has been very good to me in my distress,
Good people of Dundee, I honestly confess,
And to all his patients as well as me
Within the Royal city of Dundee.

He is worthy of the public's support,
And to his shop they should resort
To get his advice one and all;
Believe me on him ye ought to call.

He is very affable in temper and a skilful man,
And to cure all his patients he tries all he can;
And I wish him success for many a long day,
For he has saved me from dying, I venture to say;
The kind treatment I received surpasses all
Is the honest confession of McGonagall.

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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 Tribute to Dr. Murison" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 16 Jun 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/41769/a-tribute-to-dr.-murison>.

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