Saturday Evening Poetry: William Topaz McGonagall [The Twelve Days of Christmas- Day 9]

William Topaz McGonagall was a Scottish poet, actor and weaver. He has been widely acclaimed as the worst poet in British history. A major criticism of his poetry is that he is deaf to poetic metaphor. His poetry is said to have inappropriate rhythm and weak vocabulary, making him one of the most spontaneously comic poet in the English language. This poem, which I read recently, had me in splits.


Mr. Smiggs was a gentleman,
And he lived in London town;

His wife she was a good kind soul,

And seldom known to frown.

'Twas on Christmas eve,

And Smiggs and his wife lay cosy in bed,

When the thought of buying a goose

Came into his head.

So the next morning,

Just as the sun rose,

He jump'd out of bed,

And he donn'd his clothes,

Saying, "Peggy, my dear.

You need not frown,

For I'll buy you the best goose

In all London town."

So away to the poultry shop he goes,

And bought the goose, as he did propose,

And for it he paid one crown,

The finest, he thought, in London town.

When Smiggs bought the goose

He suspected no harm,

But a naughty boy stole it

From under his arm.

Then Smiggs he cried, "Stop, thief!

Come back with my goose!"

But the naughty boy laugh'd at him,

And gave him much abuse.

But a policeman captur'd the naughty boy,

And gave the goose to Smiggs,

And said he was greatly bother'd

By a set of juvenile prigs.

So the naughty boy was put in prison

For stealing the goose.,

And got ten days' confinement

Before he got loose.

So Smiggs ran home to his dear Peggy,

Saying, "Hurry, and get this fat goose ready,

That I have bought for one crown;

So, my darling, you need not frown."

"Dear Mr Smiggs, I will not frown:

I'm sure 'tis cheap for one crown,

Especially at Christmas time --

Oh! Mr Smiggs, it's really fine."

"Peggy. it is Christmas time,

So let us drive dull care away,

For we have got a Christmas goose,

So cook it well, I pray.

"No matter how the poor are clothed,

Or if they starve at home,

We'll drink our wine, and eat our goose,

Aye, and pick it to the bone."

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