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Oban

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

Oh! beautiful Oban with your lovely bay,
Your surroundings are magnificent on a fine summer-day;
There the lover of the picturesque can behold,
As the sun goes down, the scenery glittering like gold.

And on a calm evening, behind the village let him climb the hill,
And as he watches the sun go down, with delight his heart will fill
As he beholds the sun casting a golden track across the sea,
Clothing the dark mountains of Mull with crimson brilliancy.

And on a sunny morning 'tis delightful to saunter up the Dunstaffnage road,
Where the green trees spread out their branches so broad;
And as you pass the Lovers' Loan your spirits feel gay
As you see the leaflet float lightly.on the sunny pathway.

And when you reach the little gate on the right hand,
Then turn and feast your eyes on the scene most grand,
And there you will see the top of Balloch-an-Righ to your right,
Until at last you will exclaim, Oh! what a beautiful sight!

And your mind with wonder it must fill
As you follow the road a couple of miles further, till
You can see Bennefure Loch on the left hand,
And the Castle of Dunstaffnage most ancient and grand.

Then go and see the waters of Loch Etive leaping and thundering
And flashing o'er the reef, splashing and dundering,
Just as they did when Ossian and Fingal watched them from the shore,
And, no doubt, they have felt delighted by the rapids' thundering roar.

Then there's Ganevan with its sparkling bay,
And its crescent of silver sand glittering in the sun's bright array,
And Dunolly's quiet shores where sea crabs abide,
And its beautiful little pools left behind by the tide.

Then take a sail across to Kerrera some day,
And see Gylen Castle with its wild-strewn shore and bay,
With its gigantic walls and towers of rocks
Shivered into ghastly shapes by the big waves' thundering shocks.

Then wander up Glen Crootyen, past the old village churchyard,
And as you pass, for the dead have some regard;
For it is the road we've all to go,
Sooner or later, both the high and the low!

And as you return by the side of the merry little stream,
That comes trotting down the glen most charming to be seen,
Sometimes wimpling along between heather banks,
And slipping coyly away to hide itself in its merry pranks.

Then on some pleasant evening walk up the Glen Shellach road,
Where numberless sheep the green hillside often have trod,
And there's a little farmhouse nestling amongst the trees,
And its hazel woods climbing up the brae, shaking in the breeze.

And Loch Avoulyen lies like a silver sea with its forests green,
With its fields of rushes and headlands most enchanting to be seen,
And on the water, like a barge anchored by some dreamland shore,
There wild fowls sit, mirrored, by the score.

And this is beautiful Oban, where the tourist seldom stays above a night,
A place that fills the lover of the picturesque with delight;
And let all the people that to Oban go
View it in its native loveliness, and it will drive away all woe.

Oh! beautiful Oban, with your silvery bay,
'Tis amongst your Highland scenery I'd like to stray
During the livelong summer-day,
And feast my eyes on your beautiful scenery, enchanting and gay.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:52 min read
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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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    "Oban" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 14 Jun 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/41845/oban>.

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