Welcome to Poetry.com

Poetry.com is a huge collection of poems from famous and amateur poets from around the world — collaboratively published by a community of authors and contributing editors.

Navigate through our poetry database by subjects, alphabetically or simply search by keywords. You can submit a new poem, discuss and rate existing work, listen to poems using voice pronunciation and even translate pieces to many common and not-so-common languages.

The Wreck of the Columbine

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

Kind Christians, all pay attention to me,
And Miss Mouat's sufferings I'll relate to ye;
While on board the Columbine, on the merciless sea,
Tossing about in the darkness of night in the storm helplessly.

She left her home (Scatness), on Saturday morning, bound for Lerwick,
Thinking to get cured by a man she knew, as she was very sick;
But for eight days she was tossed about on the stormy main,
By a severe storm of wind, hail, and rain.

The waves washed o'er the little craft, and the wind
loudly roared, And the Skipper, by a big wave, was washed overboard;
Then the crew launched the small boat on the stormy main,
Thinking to rescue the Skipper, but it was all in vain.

Nevertheless, the crew struggled hard his life to save,
But alas! the Skipper sank, and found a watery grave;
And the white crested waves madly did roar,
Still the crew, thank God, landed safe on shore.

As soon as Miss Mouat found she was alone,
Her mind became absorbed about her friends at home;
As her terrible situation presented itself to her mind,
And her native place being quickly left far behind.

And as the big waves lashed the deck with fearful shocks,
Miss Mouat thought the vessel had struck upon a reef of rocks;
And she thought the crew had gone to get help from land,
While she held to a rope fastened to the cabin roof by her right hand.

And there the poor creature was in danger of being thrown to the floor,
Whilst the heavy showers of spray were blown against the cabin door,
And the loosened sail was reduced to tatters and flapping with the wind,
And the noise thereof caused strange fears to arise in her mind.

And after some hours of darkness had set in,
The table capsized with a lurch of the sea which made a fearful din,
Which helped to put the poor creature in a terrible fright,
To hear the drawers of the table rolling about all the night.

And there the noble heroine sat looking very woe-begone,
With hands uplifted to God making her moan,
Praying to God above to send her relief,
While in frantic screams she gave vent to her pent up grief.

And loud and earnestly to God the noble heroine did cry,
And the poor invalid's bosom heaved many a sigh;
Oh! heaven, hard was the fate of this woman of sixty years of age,
Tossing about on the briny deep, while the storm fiend did rage.

Oh! think of the poor soul crouched in the cabin below,
With her heart full of fear, cold, hunger, and woe,
And the pitless storm of rain, hail, and snow,
Tossing about her tiny craft to and fro.

And when the morning came she felt very sick,
And she expected the voyage would be about three hours to Lerwick,
And her stock of provisions was but very small,
Only two half-penny biscuits and a quart bottle of milk in all

Still the heavy snow kept falling, and the sky was obscured,
And on Sabbath morning she made her first meal on board,
And this she confined to a little drop of milk and half a biscuit,
Which she wisely considered was most fit.

And to the rope fastened to the cabin roof she still held on
Until her hands began to blister, and she felt woe-begone,
But by standing on a chest she could look out of the hatchway,
And spend a little time in casting her eyes o'er the sea each day.

When Wednesday morning came the weather was very fine,
And the sun in the heavens brightly did shine,
And continued so all the live long day;
Then Miss Mouat guessed that land to the norward lay.

Then the poor creature sat down to her last meal on board,
And with heartfelt thanks she praised the Lord;
But when Thursday morning came no more food could be had,
Then she mounted a box about seven o'clock while her heart felt sad.

And she took her usual gaze o'er the sea with a wistful eye,
Hoping that some passing vessel she might descry,
And to the westward she espied a bright red light,
But as the little craft passed on it vanished from her sight.

But alas; no vessel could she see around anywhere,
And at last the poor soul began to despair,
And there the lonely woman sat looking out to the heavens above,
Praying to God for succour with her heart full of love.

At last the Columbine began to strike on submerged rocks,
And with the rise and fall of the sea she received some dreadful shocks,
And notwithstanding that the vessel was still rolling among the rocks,
Still the noble heroine contrived once more to raise herself upon the box.

Still the Columbine sped on, and ran upon a shingly beach,
And at last the Island of Lepsoe, Miss Mouat did reach,
And she was kindly treated by
Rate this poem:(0.00 / 0 votes)
Font size:
Collection  Edit     
 

Submitted on May 13, 2011

4:14 min read
100 Views

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

FAVORITE (0 fans)

Discuss this William Topaz McGonagall poem with the community:

0 Comments

    Translation

    Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)

    Citation

    Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:

    Style:MLAChicagoAPA

    "The Wreck of the Columbine" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 16 Jun 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/41950/the-wreck-of-the-columbine>.

    We need you!

    Help us build the largest poetry community and poems collection on the web!

    Browse Poetry.com

    Quiz

    Are you a poetry master?

    »
    In poetry, the word "foot" refers to _______.
    • A. a dozen poems
    • B. two or more syllables
    • C. one stanza
    • D. a unit of 12 lines

    Our favorite collection of

    Famous Poets

    »