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Beautiful North Berwick

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

North Berwick is a watering-place with golfing links green,
With a fine bathing beach most lovely to be seen;
And there's a large number of handsome villas also,
And often it's called the Scarborough of Scotland, as Portobello.

The greatest attraction is Tantallon Castle, worthy of regard,
About three miles distant to the eastward;
Which in time of war reoeived many a shock,
And it's deemed impregnable and built on a perpendicular rock

The castle was built in times unknown to history,
But 'tis said it belonged to the Douglas family;
And the inside is a labyrinth of broken staircases,
Also ruined chambers and many dismal places.

Then there's the Berwick Law Hill, 612 feet high,
Which no doubt is very attractive to the eye,
And skirted with a wood and a public walk,
Where visitors can enjoy themselves and have a social talk.

The wood is really lovely and enchanting to be seen,
In the spring or summer season when the trees are green;
And as ye listen to the innocent birds singing merrily there,
'Twill help to elevate your spirits and drive away dull care.

Then near by Tantallon is the fishing village of Canty Bay,
Where boats can be hired to the Bass Rock, about two miles away;
And the surrounding scenery is magnificent to see,
And as the tourists view the scene it fills their hearts with glee.

Then away! then away! pleasure-seekers in bands,
And view Gullane with its beautiful sands,
Which stretch along the sandy shores of Fife,
Where the tourist can enjoy himself and be free from strife.

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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…

All William Topaz McGonagall poems | William Topaz McGonagall Books

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    "Beautiful North Berwick" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 16 Jun 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/41796/beautiful-north-berwick>.

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