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.

Young Munro the Sailor

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

'Twas on a sunny morning in the month of May,
I met a pretty damsel on the banks o' the Tay;
I said, My charming fair one, come tell to me I pray,
Why do you walk alone on the banks o' the Tay.

She said, Kind sir, pity me, for I am in great woe
About my young sailor lad, whose name is James Munro;
It's he has been long at sea, seven years from this day,
And I come here sometimes to weep for him that's far, far away.

Lovely creature, cease your weeping and consent to marry me,
And my houses and all my land I will give to thee,
And we shall get married without any delay,
And live happy and contented on the banks o' the Tay.

Believe me, my sweet lady, I pity the sailor's wife,
For I think she must lead a very unhappy life;
Especially on a stormy night, I'm sure she cannot sleep,
Thinking about her husband whilst on the briny deep.

Oh, sir! it is true, what you to me have said,
But I must be content with the choice I've made;
For Munro's he's young and handsome, I will ne'er deny,
And if I don't get him for a husband, believe me, I will die.

Because, when last we parted, we swore to be true,
And I will keep my troth, which lovers ought to do;
And I will pray for his safe return by night and by day,
That God may send him safe home to the banks o' the Tay.

Forgive me, noble heart, for asking to marry you,
I was only trying your love, if it was really true;
But I've found your love is pure towards your sailor lad,
And the thought thereof, believe me, makes my heart feel glad.

As homeward we retraced our steps her heart seemed glad,
In hopes of seeing again her brave sailor lad,
He had promised to marry her when he would return,
So I bade her keep up her spirits and no longer mourn.

Dear creature, the lass that's true to her sweetheart deserves great praise,
And I hope young Munro and you will spend many happy days,
For unto him I know you will ever prove true,
And perchance when he comes home he will marry you.

What you have said, kind sir, I hope will come true,
And if it does, I'll make it known to you;
And you must come to the marriage, which you musn't gainsay,
And dance and rejoice with us on the marriage-day.

When we arrived in Dundee she bade me good-bye,
Then I told her where I lived, while she said with a sigh,
Kind sir, I will long remember that morning in May,
When I met you by chance on the banks o' the Tay.

When three months were past her sailor lad came home,
And she called to see me herself alone,
And she invited me to her marriage without delay,
Which was celebrated with great pomp the next day.

So I went to the marriage with my heart full of joy,
And I wished her prosperity with her sailor boy;
And I danced and sang till daylight, and then came away,
Leaving them happy and contented on the banks o' the Tay.

So all ye pretty fair maids, of high or low degree,
Be faithful to your sweethearts when they have gone to sea,
And never be in doubts of them when they are far away,
Because they might return and marry you some unexpected day.

Rate this poem:(0.00 / 0 votes)
Font size:
Collection  Edit     
 

Submitted on May 13, 2011

3:04 min read
24 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

    "Young Munro the Sailor" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 16 Jun 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/41961/young-munro-the-sailor>.

    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?

    »
    How many lines does a sonnet have?
    • A. 12
    • B. 18
    • C. 16
    • D. 14

    Our favorite collection of

    Famous Poets

    »