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The Den o' Fowlis

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

Beautiful Den o' Fowlis, most charming to be seen
In the summer season, when your trees are green;
Especially in the bright and clear month of June,
When your flowere and shrubberies are in full bloom.

There visitors can enjoy themselves during the holidays,
And be shaded by the trees from the sun's rays,
And admire the beautiful primroses that grow there;
And inhale their sweet perfume that fills the air.

There the little children sport and play,
Blythe and gay during the live-long summer day,
In its beautiful green and cool shady bowers,
Chasing the bee and butterfly, and pulling the flowers.

There the Minnows loup and play;
In the little rivulet all the day;
Right in the hollow of that fairy-like Den,
Together in little shoals of nine or ten

And the Mavis and Blackbird merrily sing,
Making the Den with their notes to ring;
From high noon till sunset at night,
Filling the visitor's heart with delight.

Tis most lovely to see the trees arched overhead,
And the little rivulet rolling o'er its pebbly bed,
Ane near by is an old Meal Mill;
Likewise an old Church and Churchyard where the dead lie still.

The Den is always cool in the summer time,
Because it is so closely shaded from the sunshine,
By the spreading branches of the trees,
While the murmuring of the rivulet is heard on the night breeze.

It is a very magnificent spot the Den o' Fowlis,
And where oft the wintry wind it howls,
Among its bare end leafless withered trees,
And with fear wonld almost make one's heart to freeze.

To be walking through it on a dark wintry night,
Because the bare trees seem like spectres to your sight,
And everything around seems dark and drear,
And fills the timid mind with an undefinable fear.

But in the summer season it is most lovely to see;
With its fair flowers and romantic scenery,
Where the people can enjoy themselves all the day,
In the months of July, June, or May.

There the people can drink pure water when they are dry;
From the wells of spring water in the Den near by,
Which God has provided for his creatures in that lonely spot,
And such a blessing to the people shouldn't be forgot.

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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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    "The Den o' Fowlis" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 16 Jun 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/41900/the-den-o'-fowlis>.

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