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Lines in Praise of Mr. J. Graham Henderson, Hawick

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

Success to Mr J. Graham Henderson, who is a good man,
And to gainsay it there's few people can,
I say so from my own experience,
And experience is a great defence.

He is a good man, I venture to say,
Which I declare to the world without dismay,
Because he's given me a suit of Tweeds, magnificent to see,
So good that it cannot be surpassed in Dundee.

The suit is the best of Tweed cloth in every way,
And will last me for many a long day;
It's really good, and in no way bad,
And will help to make my heart feel glad.

He's going to send some goods to the World's Fair,
And I hope of patronage he will get the biggest share;
Because his Tweed cloth is the best I ever did see,
In the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and ninety-three.

At the International Exhibition, and the Isle of Man Exhibition,
He got a gold medal from each, in recognition
Of his Scotch Tweeds, so good and grand,
Which cannot be surpassed in fair Scotland.

Therefore, good people, his goods are really grand,
And manufactured at Weensforth Mill, Hawick, Scotland;
Where there's always plenty of Tweeds on hand,
For the ready cash at the people's command.

Mr Tocher measured me for the suit,
And it is very elegant, which no one will dispute,
And I hope Mr Henry in Reform Street
Will gain customers by it, the suit is so complete.

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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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    "Lines in Praise of Mr. J. Graham Henderson, Hawick" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 16 Jun 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/41828/lines-in-praise-of-mr.-j.-graham-henderson,-hawick>.

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