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Little Popeet - the Lost Child

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

Near by the silent waters of the Mediterranean,
And at the door of an old hut stood a coloured man,
Whose dress was oriental in style and poor with wear,
While adown his furrowed cheeks ran many a tear.

And the poor coloured man seemed very discontent,
And his grief overcame him at this moment;
And he wrung his hands in agony wild,
And he cried, "Oh! help me, great God, to find my child."

"And Ada, my dear wife, but now she is dead,
Which fills my poor heart with sorrow and dread;
She was a very loving wife, but of her I'm bereft,
And I and my lost child are only left.

And, alas! I know not where to find my boy,
Who is dear to me and my only joy;
But with the help of God I will find him,
And this day in search of him I will begin."

So Medoo leaves Turkey and goes to France,
Expecting to find his boy there perhaps by chance;
And while there in Paris he was told
His boy by an Arab had been sold

To a company of French players that performed in the street,
Which was sad news to hear about his boy Popeet;
And while searching for him and making great moan,
He was told he was ill and in Madame Mercy's Home.

Then away went Medoo with his heart full of joy,
To gaze upon the face of his long-lost boy;
Who had been treated by the players mercilessly,
But was taken to the home of Madame Celeste.

She was a member of the players and the leader's wife,
And she loved the boy Popeet as dear as her life,
Because she had no children of her own;
And for the poor ill-treated boy often she did moan.

And when Popeet's father visited the Home,
He was shown into a room where Popeet lay alone,
Pale and emaciated, in his little bed;
And when his father saw him he thought he was dead.

And when Popeet saw his father he lept out of bed,
And only that his father caught him he'd been killed dead;
And his father cried, " Popeet, my own darling boy,
Thank God I've found you, and my heart's full of joy."

Then Madame Mercy's tears fell thick and fast,
When she saw that Popeet had found his father at last;
Then poor Popeet was taken home without delay,
And lived happy with his father for many a day.

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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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    "Little Popeet - the Lost Child" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 14 Jun 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/41835/little-popeet---the-lost-child>.

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