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The Bonnie Sidlaw Hills

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

Bonnie Clara, will you go to the bonnie Sidlaw hills
And pu' the blooming heather, and drink from their rills?
There the cranberries among the heather grow,
Believe me, dear Clara, as black as the crow.

Chorus --

Then, bonnie Clara, will you go
And wander with me to and fro?
And with joy our hearts will o'erflow
When we go to the bonnie Sidlaws O.
And the rabbits and hares sport in mirthful glee
In the beautiful woods of Glen Ogilvy,
And innocent trout do sport and play
In the little rivulet of Glen Ogilvy all the day.

Chorus

And in the bonnie woods of Sidlaw the blackbird doth sing,
Making the woodlands with his notes to ring,
Which ought to make a dull heart feel gay,
And help to oheer us on our way.

Chorus

And there the innocent sheep are to be seen
Browsing on the purple heather and pastures green;
And the shepherd can be heard shouting to his dog
As he chases the sheep from out of the bog.

Chorus

And from the tops of the Sidlaws can be seen
The beautiful Howe of Strathmore with its trees and shrubberies green;
Likewise Lochee and its spinning mills
Can be seen on a clear day from the Sidlaw hills.

Chorus

Therefore, bonnie Clara, let's away
To Sidlaw hills without delay,
And pu' the cranberries and bonnie blooming heather
While we wander to and fro on the Sidlaws together.

Chorus

There the lovers can enjoy themselves free from care
By viewing the hilly scenery and inhaling the fresh air,
And return home at night with their hearts full of glee
After viewing the beauties of the Sidlaw hills and Glen Ogilvy.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:26 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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    "The Bonnie Sidlaw Hills" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 16 Jun 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/41877/the-bonnie-sidlaw-hills>.

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