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The River of Leith

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

As I stood upon the Dean Bridge and viewed the beautiful scenery,
I felt fascinated and my heart was full of glee,
And I exclaimed in an ecstasy of delight,
In all my travels I never saw such a sight.

The scenery is so enchanting to look upon
That all tourists will say, "Dull care, be gone."
'Tis certainly a most lovely spot,
And once seen it can never be forgot.

Then away! away! to the River of Leith,
That springs from the land of heather and heath,
And view the gorgeous scenery on a fine summer day.
I'm sure it will drive dull care away.

The water-fall near the Bridge is most beautiful to be seen,
As it falls and shines like crystal in the sunsheen;
And the sound can be heard all day long,
While the innocent trouts sing an aquatic song.

The glen is a cool spot in the summer time.
There the people can be shaded from the sunshine
Under the spreading branches of the big trees,
And there's seats there to rest on if they please.

Then near St. Bernard's Well there's a shady bower,
Where the lovers, if they like, can spend an hour;
And while they rest there at their ease
They can make love to each other if they please.

The water of St. Bernard's Well is very nice,
But to get a drink of it one penny is the price.
I think in justice the price is rather high,
To give a penny for a drink when one feels dry.

The braes of the River Leith is most charming to be seen,
With its beautiful trees and shrubberies green,
And as the tourist gazes on the river in the valley below,
His heart with joy feels all aglow.

There the little trouts do sport and play
During the live-long summer day,
While the bee and butterfly is on the wing,
And with the singing of birds the glen doth ring.

The walk underneath the Dean Bridge is lovely to see.
And as ye view the scenery it will fill your heart with glee.
It is good for the people's health to be walking there
As they gaze on the beauties of Nature and inhale pure air.

The Dean Bridge is a very magnificent sight,
Because from the basement it is a great height.
And it seems most attractive to the eye,
And arrests the attention of strangers as they pass by.

The braes of Belgrave Crescent is lovely to see,
With its beautiful walks and green shrubbery.
'Tis health for the people that lives near by there
To walk along the bonny walks and breathe the sweet air.

Therefore all lovers of the picturesque, bo advised by me
And the beautiful scenery of the River Leith go and see,
And I am sure you will get a very great treat,
Because the River of Leith scenery cannot be beat.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:28 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 River of Leith" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 16 Jun 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/41935/the-river-of-leith>.

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