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A Tribute to Henry M. Stanley

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

Welcome, thrice welcome, to the city of Dundee,
The great African explorer Henry M Stanley,
Who went out to Africa its wild regions to explore,
And travelled o'er wild and lonely deserts, fatigued and footsore.

And what he and his little band suffered will never be forgot,
Especially one in particular, Major Edmund Barttelot,
Alas! the brave heroic Officer by a savage was shot,
The commandant of the rear column - O hard has been his lot!

O think of the noble Stanley and his gallant little band,
While travelling through gloomy forests and devastated land,
And suffering from all kinds of hardships under a burning sun!
But the brave hero has been successful and the victory's won.

While in Africa he saw many wonderful sights,
And was engaged, no doubt, in many savage fights,
But the wise Creator was with him all along
And now he's home again to us, I hope quite strong.

And during his travels in Africa he made strange discoveries,
He discovered a dwarfish race of people called pigmies,
Who are said to be the original natives of Africa,
And when Stanley discovered them he was struck with awe.

One event in particular is most worthy to relate,
How God preserved him from a very cruel fate:
He and his Officers were attacked, while sailing their boat,
By the savages of Bumbireh, all eager to cut his throat.

They seized him by the hair and tugged it without fear,
While one of his men received a poke in the ribs with a spear;
But Stanley, having presence of mind, instantly contrives
To cry to his men, Shove off the boat, and save your lives!

Then savages swarmed into three canoes very close by,
And every bow was drawn, while they savagely did cry;
But thee heroic Stanley quickly shot two of them dead,
Then the savages were baffled and immediately fled.

This incident is startling, but nevertheless true,
And in midst of all dangers the Lord brought him through
Then, welcome him,. thrice welcome him, right cheerfully,
Shouting, Long live the great African explorer, Henry M Stanley!

Therefore throw open the gates of the city of Dundee,
And receive him with loud cheers, three time three,
And sound your trumpets and beat your drums,
And play up, See the Conquering Hero Comes!

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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 Henry M. Stanley" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 16 Jun 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/41770/a-tribute-to-henry-m.-stanley>.

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