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Sunday, June 12, 2005

Celebrate This Day The Silvery Tay

Praise to The Scotsman, paper of note,
For reminding me while eating my oats
That this twelfth day of June, a Sabbath to boot,
A full month before the fair grouse we may shoot,
That this twelfth day of June we must set us a toast,
To remember McGonagall, oor finest of poets.

Today we celebrate the man who is officially recognized as the worst poet in the english language: the wonderful, magnificent William Topaz McGonagall.

Here in celebration, then, I recant my favorite poem of his, written in honor of a brand-new bridge across his belovèd Silvery Tay, which contains within it an unwitting prophecy: <snip>...
BEAUTIFUL Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay !
With your numerous arches and pillars in so grand array
And your central girders, which seem to the eye
To be almost towering to the sky.
The greatest wonder of the day,
And a great beautification to the River Tay,
Most beautiful to be seen,
Near by Dundee and the Magdalen Green.

Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay !
That has caused the Emperor of Brazil to leave
His home far away, incognito in his dress,
And view thee ere he passed along en route to Inverness.

Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay !
The longest of the present day
That has ever crossed o'er a tidal river stream,
Most gigantic to be seen,
Near by Dundee and the Magdalen Green.

Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay !
Which will cause great rejoicing on the opening day
And hundreds of people will come from far away,
Also the Queen, most gorgeous to be seen,
Near by Dundee and the Magdalen Green.

Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay !
And prosperity to Provost Cox, who has given
Thirty thousand pounds and upwards away
In helping to erect the Bridge of the Tay,
Most handsome to be seen,
Near by Dundee and the Magdalen Green.

Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay !
I hope that God will protect all passengers
By night and by day,
And that no accident will befall them while crossing
The Bridge of the Silvery Tay,
For that would be most awful to be seen
Near by Dundee and the Magdalen Green.

Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay !
And prosperity to Messrs Bouche and Grothe,
The famous engineers of the present day,
Who have succeeded in erecting the Railway
Bridge of the Silvery Tay,
Which stands unequalled to be seen
Near by Dundee and the Magdalen Green.
Not long after he wrote this, the Tay Bridge Disaster of 1879 in which that very bridge over the River Tay at Dundee was swept away in a terrible storm, and with it a trainload of people. It was because of this event that the cantilevered Forth Railway Bridge, Home! landmark of my youth, otherwise known as "the Forth Road Rail Bridge" by one scurvy knave of my acquaintance, why that mighty bridge was so magnificently over-designed.

McGonagall, distraught, began his lament:
Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay!
Alas! I am very sorry to say
That ninety lives have been taken away
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time...
Go on - treat yourself - read the rest, and rejoice in the man who wrote it..
</snip>

2 Comments:

Anonymous stephenesque said...

I seem to remember that there is an unfunny film about the poet featuring Spike Milligan ... with Peter Sellers as Queen Victoria???

6:50 AM  
Blogger F.C. Bearded said...

You are absolutely correct. Spike wrote several books about him, too.

And yes, Sellers was Queen Victoria, and the fillum was awful.

7:32 AM  

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