Last Burns Night, after our second bottle of Scotch, & a full evening of Robert Burns' delicious poetry & veggie haggis, we got a hat-tip from Miss Williams that there was a 19th Century Scottish poet who had been voted "Britain's worst poet". We quickly found some of William McGonagall's work & ended the night with his amazing "An Address to the New Tay Bridge". We proposed several projects, including a McGonagall Night some other evening in the year, dedicated to the worst poetry, perhaps with absinthe & spam; & also a hip-hop version of McGonagall's poems. (The New Tay Bridge poem is oddly suited to the genre.) I'm proud to present Mr McGonagall's debut as a rap star, in his first collaboration with the great Gold Diamonds. I warn you, there is also at least one more setting of this poem to funky beats, & probably even more coming, I'm worried there might have to be an entire album of just New Tay Bridges. Any resemblance to the MC Pseudo-Dionysius is a zeitgeistical convergence. Presenting WILLIAM McGONAGALL.
An Address to the New Tay Bridge
BEAUTIFUL new railway bridge of the Silvery Tay,
With your strong brick piers and buttresses in so grand array,
And your thirteen central girders, which seem to my eye
Strong enough all windy storms to defy.
And as I gaze upon thee my heart feels gay,
Because thou are the greatest railway bridge of the present day,
And can be seen for miles away
From North, South, East or West of the Tay
On a beautiful and clear sunshiny day,
And ought to make the hearts of the "Mars" boys feel gay,
Because thine equal nowhere can be seen,
Only near by Dundee and the bonnie Magdalen Green.
Read the rest of the original poem here.
Download the mp3 here.