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18 June 2014
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Legacies - Perth and Tayside

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Myths and Legends
William McGonagall: Scotland's Other National Bard

He moved from the Fair City, despite being met with a keener reception there, to Edinburgh – where he would eventually die. However, one final twist happened in his remarkable life story, when he was elevated to a Knight of the White Elephant by King Theebaw of Burmah and the Andaman Islands.

Printed McGonagall poem
Gaining this award, which was obviously a cruel hoax, for his services to poetry made McGonagall – never one to underestimate his own worth – realise he was too large a name for sleepy Perth and should be situated in the nation’s capital.

It was here in 1902, he died and, somewhat fittingly, was buried in a paupers grave. It was in death that McGonagall fulfilled much of his ambition and became, by common consensus, only second to Robert Burns in popularity.

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Your comments

1 edwin ahearn from london, originally - 4 January 2004
"McGonagall's "Tay Bridge Disaster" achieves maximum impact when we know that it was preceded by an ode hailing completion of the structure ("Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay"), and indefatigably succeeded by a new one, hymning its replacement ("Beautiful new bridge of the Silvery Tay"). Nevertheless, his absolute masterpiece is surely "The Famous Tay Whale" (brilliantly set to a spoof score by Matyas Seiber, and declaimed by Dame Edith Evans at one of Gerard Hoffnung's hilarious festivals), which unforgettably describes the waterspouts sent up by the whale's flukes "Descending upon the ben in their boats, Which wet their trouserss-- and also their coats." "

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Information on McGonagall from Dundee City Council
McGonagall Society
McGonagall Online
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