Scottish Poetry Selection
- Montrose

William McGonagall (born 1825 or 1830, died 1902) was an amateur Shakespearean actor who would recite the bard's works in public houses. He started to write poetry of his own and became something of a celebrity. His combination of subject matter, irrelevance, forced rhyming and confused scansion have resulted in him being described as "the world's worst poet." McGonagall intended his poetry to be taken seriously, and was somewhat surprised at the mirth it sometimes created. Nevertheless, he is regarded by many with affection. Here is one of his shorter poems about the Angus seaside resort of Montrose.


Beautiful town of Montrose, I will not commence my lay,
And I will write in praise of thee without dismay,
And in spite of all your foes,
I will venture to call thee Bonnie Montrose.
Your beautiful Chain Bridge is magnificent to be seen,
Spanning the river Esk, a beautiful tidal stream,
Which abounds with trout and salmon,
Which can be had for the catching without any gammon.
Then as for the Mid Links, it is most beautiful to be seen,
And I'm sure is a very nice bowling green,
Where young men can enjoy themselves and inhale the pure air,
Emanating from the sea and the beautiful flowers there,
And as for the High Street, it's most beautiful to see,
There's no street can surpass it in the town of Dundee,
Because it is so long and wide,
That the people can pass on either side
Without jostling one another or going to any bother.
Beautiful town of Montrose, near by the seaside,
With your fine shops and streets so wide,
'Tis health for the people that in you reside,
Because they do inhale the pure fragrant air,
Emanating from the pure salt wave and shrubberies growing there;
And the inhabitants of Montrose ought to feel gay,
Because it is one of the bonniest towns in Scotland at the present day.

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