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The Late Sir John Ogilvy

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

Alas! Sir John Ogilvy is dead, aged eighty-seven,
But I hope his soul is now in heaven;
For he was a generous-hearted gentleman I am sure,
And, in particular, very kind unto the poor.
He was a Christian gentleman in every degree,
And, for many years, was an M.P. for Bonnie Dundee,
And, while he was an M.P., he didn't neglect
To advocate the rights of Dundee in every respect.
He was a public benefactor in many ways,
Especially in erecting an asylum for imbecile children to spend their days;
Then he handed the institution over as free,--
As a free gift and a boon to the people of Dundee.
He was chairman of several of the public boards in Dundee,
And among these were the Asylum Board and the Royal Infirmary;
In every respect he was a God-fearing true gentleman,
And to gainsay it there's nobody can.
He lived as a Christian gentleman in his time,
And he now lies buried in the family vault in Strathmartine;
But I hope his soul has gone aloft where all troubles cease,
Amongst the blessed saints where all is joy and peace.
To the people around Baldovan he will be a great loss,
Because he was a kind-hearted man and a Soldier of the Cross.
He had always a kind word for every one he met,
And the loss of such a good man will be felt with deep regret
Because such men as Sir John Ogilvy are hard to be found,
Especially in Christian charity his large heart did abound,
Therefore a monument should be erected for him most handsome to behold,
And his good deeds engraven thereon in letters of gold.

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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…

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    "The Late Sir John Ogilvy" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 16 Jun 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/41922/the-late-sir-john-ogilvy>.

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