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The Irish Convict's Return

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

Ye mountains and glens of Old Ireland,
I've returned home to ye again;
During my absence from ye
My heart always felt great pain.

Oh, how I long'd to see you dear Nora,
And the old folks at home;
And the beautiful Lakes o' Killarney,
Where we oft together did roam.

Ye beautiful Lakes of Killarney,
Ye are welcome to me again;
I will now reform my character,
And from all bad company refrain.

Oh, how I have long'd to see my old father
And my mother dearer than all;
And my favourite dog Charlie
That wont to come at my call.

Ye green hills and lakes of Old Ireland,
Ye are dearer than life unto me;
Many sleepless nights I have had
Since my banishment from thee.

But to-night I will see the old folks
And my dear Nora too ...
And she and I will get married,
And I'm sure we will never rue.

And we may have plenty of children,
And for them I will work like a man.
And I hope Nora and I will live happy,
And do the best we can.

For my own part, I will never grumble,
But try and be content ...
And walk in the paths of virtue,
And remember my banishment.

And at night at the fireside with Nora,
I will tell her of my limbs being bound,
And all my great hardships endured,
And how I was lash'd like a hound.

And when my story is ended,
Nora will sympathise with her tears,
Which will help to drown my sorrow,
And help me through coming years.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:21 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 Irish Convict's Return" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 16 Jun 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/41919/the-irish-convict's-return>.

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