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Beautiful Torquay

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

All ye lovers of the picturesque, away
To beautiful Torquay and spend a holiday
'Tis health for invalids for to go there
To view the beautiful scenery and inhale the fragrant air,
Especially in the winter and spring-time of the year,
When the weather is not too hot, but is balmy and clear.

Torquay lies in a very deep and well-sheltered spot,
And at first sight by strangers it won't be forgot;
'Tis said to be the mildest place in ah England,
And surrounded by lofty hills most beautiful and grand.

Twas here that William of Orange first touched English ground,
And as he viewed the beautiful spot his heart with joy did rebound;
And an obelisk marks the spot where he did stand,
And which for long will be remembered throughout England.

Torquay, with its pier and its diadem of white,
Is a moat beautiful and very dazzling sight,
With its white villas glittering on the sides of its green hills,
And as the tourist gases thereon with joy his heart fills.

The heights around Torquay are most beautiful to be seen,
Especially when the trees and shrubberies are green,
And to see the pretty houses under the cliff is a treat,
And the little town enclosed where two deep valleys meet.

There is also a fine bathing establishment near the pier,
Where the tourist can bathe without any fear;
And as the tourists there together doth stroll,
I advise them to visit a deep chasm called Daddy's Hole.

Then there's Bablicome, only two miles from Torquay,
Which will make the stranger's heart feel gay,
As he stands on the cliff four hundred feet above the sea,
Looking down,'tis sure to fill his heart with ecstasy.

The lodging-houses at Bablicome are magnificent to be seen,
And the accommodation there would suit either king or queen,
And there's some exquisite cottages embowered in the woodland,
And sloping down to the sea shore, is really very grand.

You do not wonder at Napoleon's exclamation
As he stood on the deck of the "Bellerophon," in a fit of admiration,
When the vessel was lying to windbound,
He exclaimed - "Oh, what a beautiful country!" his joy was profound.

And as the tourist there in search of beautiful spots doth rove,
Let them not forget to enquire for Anstey's Cove,
And there they will see a beautiful beach of milky white,
And the sight will fill their hearts with delight.

Oh! beautiful Torquay, with your lovely scenery,
And your magnificent cottages sloping down to the sea,
You are the most charming spot in all England,
With your picturesque bay and villas most grand.

And, in conclusion, to tourists I will say,
Off! off to Torquay and make no delay,
For the scenery is magnificent, and salubrious the air,
And 'tis good for the health to reside there.

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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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