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The Fair Maid of Perth's House

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

All ye good people, afar and near,
To my request pray lend an ear;
I advise you all without delay to go
And see the Fair Maid's House - it is a rare show.

Some of the chairs there are very grand,
They have been cut and carved by a skilful hand;
And kings, perchance, if fhe truth were told,
Have sat on them in days of old.

King James the First of Scotland was murdered there,
And his cries for mercy rent the air.
But the Highland robbers only laughed at him,
And murdered him in the dungeon and thought if no sin.

Then there's an ancient shrine upstairs,
Where the Monks and Saints said their prayers,
To the Holy Virgin, be it told;
And the house, it is said, is six hundred years old.

The old cruisie lamps are there to be seen,
Which let the monks see to write from their sheen,
Arld if the walls could speak, they could tell a fearful tale,
Which would make the people's cheeks turn pale.

Then there's an old claymore dug up from Culloden Moor,
Which in its time shed innocent blood, I am sure,
If not at Culloden Moor, some other place,
Which no doubt the truth of it history might trace.

The interior of the house is magnificent to be seen,
And the wood panelling, I'm sure, would please the Queen;
And the old fire-place, with its big fire,
Is all that visitors could desire.

Then there's a ring in a big stone near by the door,
Where gentlemen tethered their horses in days of yore;
And on the staircase door there's a firling pin
For making a rattling noise when anyone wanted in.

The mistress of the house is very kind,
A more affable woman would be herd to find;
And to visitors she is very good,
And well versed in history, be it understood.

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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 Fair Maid of Perth's House" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 16 Jun 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/41905/the-fair-maid-of-perth's-house>.

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