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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.

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List of poems by William Topaz McGonagall 204 total

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The Tay Bridge Disaster
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The Sorrows of the Blind
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The Demon Drink
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Forget-Me-Not
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An Address to Shakespeare
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Death and Burial of Lord Tennyson
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Robert Burns
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A Humble Heroine
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The Crucifixion of Christ
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The Summary History of Sir William Wallace
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The Battle of Bannockburn
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A Tale of the Sea
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Oban
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The Battle of Culloden
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The Collision in the English Channel
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Women's Suffrage
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The Fair Maid of Perth's House
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The Storming of the Dargai Heights
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Loch Leven
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The Late Sir John Ogilvy
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The Rattling Boy from Dublin
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General Gordon, the Hero of Khartoum
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Grace Darling
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Beautiful Balmerino
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A Tribute to Mr Murphy and the Blue Ribbon Army
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