William Topaz McGonagall (1825 – 29 September 1902) was a Scottish weaver, actor and poet. Year 1825 ( MDCCCXXV) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian Calendar (or a Common Events 522 BC - Darius I of Persia kills the Magian usurper Gaumâta securing his hold as king of the Persian Empire. Year 1902 ( MCMII) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link will display calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common year starting Scotland ( Gaelic: Alba) is a Country in northwest Europethat occupies the northern third of the island of Great Britain. This article describes textile weaving For other senses of this word see Weaving (disambiguation. An actor, actress, player or thespian (see terminology) is a person who Acts in a Dramatic production and who works A poet is a person who writes Poetry. Etymology From the Ancient greek: ποιέω, poieō: "I make or compose" He is comically renowned as one of the worst poets in the English language. English is a West Germanic language originating in England and is the First language for most people in the United Kingdom, the United States
Life and poetry
Born in Edinburgh, of Irish parentage, McGonagall was working as a handloom weaver in Dundee, Scotland when an event occurred that was to change his life. Edinburgh ( ˈɛdɪnb(ərə Dùn Èideann) is the Capital of Scotland and is its second largest city after Glasgow. Ireland (pronounced /ˈaɾlənd/ Éire) is the third largest island in Europe, and the twentieth-largest island in the world A loom is a Machine or device for Weaving thread or Yarn into Textiles Looms can range from very small hand-held frames to large free-standing This article describes textile weaving For other senses of this word see Weaving (disambiguation. Dundee (Dùn Dèagh is the fourth-largest city in Scotland and fully named as Dundee City, one of Scotland's 32 local government council As he was later to write:
- The most startling incident in my life was the time I discovered myself to be a poet, which was in the year 1877.
It was with this that he wrote his first poem An Address to the Rev. George Gilfillan, which showed all the hallmarks that would characterise his later work. George Gilfillan ( 30 January 1813 &ndash 13 August 1878) was a Scottish Author and Poet. Gilfillan commented "Shakespeare never wrote anything like this. "
McGonagall has been widely acclaimed as the worst poet in British history. A poet is a person who writes Poetry. Etymology From the Ancient greek: ποιέω, poieō: "I make or compose" The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain,is a Sovereign state located  The chief criticisms of his poetry are that he is deaf to poetic metaphor and unable to scan correctly. Metaphor (from the Greek: μεταφορά - metaphora, meaning "transfer" is language that directly compares seemingly unrelated subjects A system of scansion is a way to mark the metrical patterns of a line of Poetry. In the hands of lesser artists, this might simply generate dull, uninspiring verse. However, McGonagall's fame stems from the humorous effects these shortcomings generate. The inappropriate rhythms, weak vocabulary, and ill-advised imagery combine to make his work amongst the most spontaneously amusing comic poetry in the English language. Vagina Imagery is used in literature to refer to descriptive language that evokes sensory experience
Of the 200 or so poems that he wrote, the most famous is probably The Tay Bridge Disaster, which recounts the events of the evening of 28 December 1879, when, during a severe gale, the Tay Rail Bridge near Dundee collapsed as a train was passing over it. The Tay Bridge Disaster is an internationally-known Poem by the Scottish Poet William McGonagall, who has been widely acclaimed as Events 1065 - Westminster Abbey is Consecrated. 1308 - The reign of Emperor Hanazono, Emperor of Year 1879 ( MDCCCLXXIX) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common A gale is a very strong Wind. There are conflicting definitions of how strong The Tay Bridge (sometimes unofficially the Tay Rail Bridge) is a Railway Bridge approximately two and a quarter miles (three and a half kilometres
- 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.
(Modern sources give the death toll as 75. ) One commentator remarked that "a lesser poet (one should note that the German poet Theodor Fontane did write a poem about this event as well) would have thought it was a good idea to write a poem about the Tay Bridge disaster. Theodor Fontane (ˈtʰeodoɐ̯ fɔnˈtaːnə December 30, 1819 – September 20, 1898) was a German Novelist and A lesser poet would have thought of conveying the shock of the people of Dundee. But only the true master could come up with a couplet like:
- And the cry rang out all round the town,
- Good heavens! The Tay Bridge has blown down. "
McGonagall had previously written a poem in praise of the Tay Bridge: The Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay "With your numerous arches and pillars in so grand array". Once the new replacement bridge had been built, without the least feeling of irony, he proceeded to compose an ode to the new construction: An Address to the New Tay Bridge “Strong enough all windy storms to defy”.
He also campaigned vigorously against excessive drinking, appearing in pubs and bars to give edifying poems and speeches. These were very popular, the people of Dundee possibly recognising that McGonagall was "so giftedly bad he backed unwittingly into genius". 
"Poet-baiting" became a popular pastime in Dundee, but McGonagall seemed oblivious to the general opinion of his poems, even when his audience were pelting him with eggs and vegetables. It is possible, however, that he was shrewder than he is given credit for, and was playing along to his audience's perception of him, in effect making his recitals an early form of performance art. This article is about Performance art For other uses see Performance (disambiguation 
McGonagall also considered himself an actor, although the theatre where he performed, Mr Giles' Theatre, would only let him perform the title role in Macbeth if he paid for the privilege in advance. Macbeth is among the best-known of William Shakespeare 's plays, and is his shortest tragedy, believed to have been written some time between Their caution proved ill-founded however, as the theatre was filled with friends and fellow workers, anxious to see what they correctly predicted to be an amusing disaster. Although the play should have ended with Macbeth's death at the hands of Macduff, McGonagall believed that the actor playing Macduff was trying to upstage him, and so refused to die. Macduff is a Fictional character in Shakespeare 's play Macbeth. 
In 1892, following the death of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, he walked from Dundee to Balmoral, a distance of about 60 miles over mountainous terrain and through a violent thunderstorm, "wet to the skin", to ask Queen Victoria if he might be considered for the post of Poet Laureate. Alfred Tennyson 1st Baron Tennyson (6 August 1809 – 6 October 1892 was Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom and remains one of the most popular English poets Balmoral Castle is a large Estate house situated in the area of Aberdeenshire, Scotland known as Royal Deeside. Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901 was from 20 June 1837 the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland A Poet Laureate is a Poet officially appointed by a government and is often expected to compose poems for State occasions and other government events  Unfortunately, he was informed the Queen was not in residence, and returned home. In 1894, representatives of King Thibaw Min of Burma knighted him as Sir Topaz, Knight of the White Elephant of Burmah, a title he used in his advertising. Thibaw Min (သီပေါမင်း born Maung Pu January 1, 1859 – December 19, 1916; or simply Thibaw, Burma, officially the Union of Myanmar ( pjìdàunzṵ mjàmmà nàinŋàndɔ̀ is the largest country by geographical area in mainland Southeast Asia. 
He died penniless in 1902 and was buried in an unmarked grave in Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh. Greyfriars_signjpg|thumb|right|250px|A sign at the entrance giving a brief history of the Kirkyard and its inhabitants]] Greyfriars Kirkyard is the Graveyard surrounding A grave-slab installed to his memory in 1999 is inscribed:
- William McGonagall
- 'Poet and Tragedian
- "I am your gracious Majesty
- ever faithful to Thee,
- William McGonagall, the Poor Poet,
- That lives in Dundee. "
McGonagall in popular culture
- The memory of McGonagall was resurrected by comedian Spike Milligan. Terence Alan Patrick Seán Milligan KBE ( 16 April, 1918 &ndash 27 February 2002) known as Spike Milligan, was an Anglo A character called McGoonagall frequently appears in The Goon Show, alternately played by Milligan and Peter Sellers. The Goon Show was a British Radio comedy programme originally produced and broadcast by the BBC Home Service from 1951 to 1960 Richard Henry Sellers, CBE, commonly known as Peter Sellers ( 8 September 1925 &ndash 24 July 1980) was a British Milligan also occasionally gave readings of McGonagall's verse.
- McGonagall's poem The Famous Tay Whale was set to music by Matyas Seiber for the second Hoffnung Music Festival in 1958. Mátyás Seiber ( May 4, 1905 &ndash September 24, 1960) was a Hungarian -born Composer who lived in England Gerard Hoffnung ( March 22, 1925 &mdash September 28, 1959) was an artist and musician best known for his humorous works The arrangement calls for a narrator (at the premiere the narrator was Edith Evans), full orchestra, a fog horn, and an espresso machine. Dame Edith Mary Evans DBE ( 8 February 1888 &ndash 14 October 1976) was an actress who had a long and distinguished career on the
- A 1974 movie called The Great McGonagall starred Milligan as a fictionalized William McGonagall. Sellers played Queen Victoria. Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901 was from 20 June 1837 the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Milligan further recounted McGonagall's life story in the pastiche novel William McGonagall - the Truth at Last, co-written with Jack Hobbs.
- A Muppet character named "Angus McGonagle, the Argyle Gargoyle" appeared on one episode of The Muppet Show. The Muppets are a group of Puppet characters created by Jim Henson. The Muppet Show is an American Television program featuring a cast of Muppets which was produced by Jim Henson and his team from As his stage act he "gargled Gershwin". George Gershwin (September 26 1898 &ndash July 11 1937 was an American Composer.
- In The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett, the Nac Mac Feegle have a battle poet, or Gonnagle, who repels the enemy through the awfulness of his poetry. For The Wee Free see the Free Church of Scotland. The Wee Free Men, first published in 2003 is the second Story of The Discworld Terence David John Pratchett, OBE (born 28 April 1948 is an English fantasy, Science fiction, and children's author. The Nac Mac Feegles (also known as Pictsies the Wee Free Men the Little Men and 'Person or Persons Unknown Believed to be Armed' are a type of Fairy appearing
- An episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus featured a McGonagall-esque poet called Ewan McTeagle, whose poems were actually prose requests for money. Monty Python’s Flying Circus (also known as Flying Circus or during the final series just Monty Python) is a BBC Sketch comedy For the Wikipedia guideline regarding editing articles see WikipediaManual of Style.
- In the Harry Potter books, author J. K. Rowling chose the surname of the Professor of Transfiguration, Minerva McGonagall, because she had heard of McGonagall and loved the surname. The following Fictional characters are staff members and denizens of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter books written by J 
- The January 9, 2007 episode of the show with zefrank claimed to have been hosted from the home of McGonagall. the show with zefrank was a web video show by Ze Frank produced each weekday from March 17 2006 until March 17 2007.
- Billy Connolly visited Dundee and the Tay Bridge during his 1994 World Tour of Scotland, where he talked about McGonagall and recited a passage from his book Scottish Gems: "I don't like publicans. Billy Connolly, CBE (born William Connolly Jr on 24 November, 1942) is a Scottish There are historic bridges over the River Tay at Perth, Dunkeld, Aberfeldy and Kenmore. World Tour of Scotland is a six-part television series — the first of Billy Connolly 's (thus far four "world tours" — originally broadcast by the The first man to throw a plate of peas at me was a publican," speculating on how popular throwing plates of peas at him must have become after this. Connolly also read The Tay Bridge Disaster in the middle of a blizzard.
- In May 2007, satirical magazine Private Eye printed a parody of McGonagall's work focusing on the recent success of the Scottish National Party and its success in the Scottish Parliament Election, 2007. Private Eye is a fortnightly British satirical Magazine, edited by Ian Hislop. The Scottish National Party (SNP (Pàrtaidh Nàiseanta na h-Alba Scottis Naitional Pairtie is a Centre-left political party which campaigns for Scottish The 2007 Scottish Parliament election was held on Thursday 3 May 2007 to elect members to the Scottish Parliament
- McGonagall was the subject of the newspaper column Ripley's Believe It or Not! on October 11, 2007, saying he "was often considered the world's worst poet, even by his own publisher, yet his writings are still in print a century after his death!"
- Collection of 35 works sold at auction for £5,500 (estimate £6,500) at Lyon & Turnbull auction house, Edinburgh on Friday 16 May 2008. Ripley's Believe It or Not! is a franchise founded by Robert Ripley, which deals in bizarre events and items so 
Honours and memorials
McGonagall's home city of Dundee maintains several reminders of his life:
- The William Topaz McGonagall Appreciation Society held a McGonagall Supper on board the frigate Unicorn on 12 June 1997, during which the courses were allegedly served in reverse order, starting with the coffee and ending with the starters. See also HMS ''Trincomalee'' HMS ''Leda'' Events 1381 - Peasants' Revolt: in England, rebels arrive at Blackheath. Year 1997 ( MCMXCVII) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1997 Gregorian calendar A short play was performed by local actors. 
- Beginning in 2004, the Dundee Science Centre Education Outreach has hosted an annual Charity McGonagall Gala Dinner, in which guests eat their meal backwards from dessert to starter and hear the welcome address as they depart, "combining traditional and unconventional entertainment, with four-course dinner, complimentary wine and whisky".
- There is a McGonagall Square in the West End of Dundee. 
- A number of inscriptions of his poetry have been made, most notably along the side of the River Tay on the pavement of Riverside Drive in Dundee. This monument contains a deliberate spelling mistake. 
- Dundee Central Library maintains a William McGonagall Collection of his works. 
- ^ William McGonagall, World's Worst Poet: Selections from "Poetic Gems", Templegate Publishers, 1992. Year 1992 ( MCMXCII) was a Leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1992 Gregorian calendar)
- ^ Stephen Pile, The Book of Heroic Failures
- ^ a b The Real McGonagall, by Gord Bambrick
- ^ White Elephant : Scotland Magazine Issue 5
- ^ McGonagall Online: McGonagall the Heroic Failure
- ^ McGonagall, Wm More Poetic Gems Dundee 1962
- ^ The Poet McTeagle
- ^ 1999: Accio Quote!, the largest archive of J.K. Rowling interviews on the web
- ^ William Topaz McGonagall Supper - June 12, 1997
- ^ http://www.dundeecity.gov.uk/events/evx060632.htm
- ^ Google Maps
- ^ Rampant Scotland Newsletter - 5 April 2003
- ^ Dundee City Council, Scotland - Central Library, Local History Centre, William McGonagall, Poet and Tragedian
- McGonagall Online
- The Real McGonagall gives a different interpretation of McGonagall's work, suggesting he was a deliberate satirist. The Book of Heroic Failures, written by Stephen Pile in 1979, is a book written in celebration of human inadequacy in all its forms Scottish literature is Literature written in Scotland or by Scottish writers. The Cherry Sisters – Addie (1864 - 1942 Effie (1869 - 1944 Ella Lizzie (1863 - 1936 and Jessie Cherry (1872 - 1903 - were Florence Foster Jenkins ( July 19, 1868 &ndash November 26, 1944) was an American Soprano who became famous for her complete Elva Ruby Connes ( October 5, 1907 &ndash July 5, 1997) who recorded under the name Mrs Margarita Pracatan is a Cuban novelty singer, who found success in the 1990s when Clive James had her perform live on his TV show on numerous occasions Jared Smith is an American amateur singer specializing in Spanish. James McIntyre (baptised 25 May 1828 &ndash 31 March 1906) called The Cheese Poet, was a Canadian poet William James Hung Hing Cheong ( Traditional Chinese: 孔慶翔 Simplified Chinese: 孔庆翔 Cantonese Yale: Hung2 Hing3 Cheung4 Wesley Willis (May 31 1963 &ndash August 21 2003 was a Busker Musician and Artist from Chicago. Ed Wood redirects here For the film see Ed Wood (film, and for the former British Foreign Secretary see E Paul Neil Milne Johnstone (c 1952 -April 2004 was a British poet Amanda McKittrick Ros ( 8 December 1860 &ndash 2 February 1939) was a Novelist born in Drumaness, Co Down Théophile-Jules-Henri "Theo" Marzials ( 20 December 1850 &ndash 2 February 1920) was a British Composer, English as She Is Spoke is the common name of a 19th century book credited to José da Fonseca and Pedro Carolino, which was intended as a Portuguese The Battle of Abu Klea took place between the dates of January 16 and January 18, 1885, at Abu Klea Sudan, between the British Satire is often strictly defined as a literary genre or form; although in practice it is also found in the graphic and Performing arts In satire human
- Bard of the Silv'ry Tay A profile by James Campbell
- "The Great Mc Gonagall" A Skitful verse on his life written in his style
- The Life and Death of William McGonagall @ Ward's Book of Days
- Alistair MacDonald, I Think That I Shall Never See A Poet Bad as . . . The Bard of Dundee; But Mr. McGonagall Has a Secret Admirer,The Wall Street Journal, May 17, 2008; Page A1 .
This article describes textile weaving For other senses of this word see Weaving (disambiguation. An actor, actress, player or thespian (see terminology) is a person who Acts in a Dramatic production and who works A poet is a person who writes Poetry. Etymology From the Ancient greek: ποιέω, poieō: "I make or compose" Edinburgh ( ˈɛdɪnb(ərə Dùn Èideann) is the Capital of Scotland and is its second largest city after Glasgow. Edinburgh ( ˈɛdɪnb(ərə Dùn Èideann) is the Capital of Scotland and is its second largest city after Glasgow.
|ALTERNATIVE NAMES||McGonagall, William Topaz|
|SHORT DESCRIPTION||weaver, actor, poet|
|DATE OF BIRTH||1825|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Edinburgh|
|DATE OF DEATH||1902-09-29|
|PLACE OF DEATH||Edinburgh?|
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