The Heatherblend Club Banquet

’Twas on the 16th of October, in the year 1894,
I was invited to Inverness, not far from the sea shore,
To partake of a banquet prepared by the Heatherblend Club,
Gentlemen who honoured me without any hubbub.

The banquet was held in the Gellion Hotel,
And the landlord, Mr Macpherson, treated me right well;
Also the servant maids were very kind to me,
Especially the girl that polished my boots, most beautiful to see.

The banquet consisted of roast beef, potatoes, and red wine;
Also hare soup and sherry and grapes most fine,
And baked pudding and apples lovely to be seen;
Also rich sweet milk and delicious cream.

Mr Gossip, a noble Highlander, acted as chairman,
And when the banquet was finished the fun began;
And I was requested to give a poetic entertainment,
Which I gave, and which pleased them to their hearts’ content.

And for my entertainment they did me well reward
By entitling me there the Heather Blend Club bard;
Likewise I received an Illuminated Address,
Also a purse of silver, I honestly confess.

Mr A.J.Stewart was very kind to me,
And tried all he could to make me happy;
And several songs were sung by gentlemen there–
It was the most social gathering I’ve been in, I do declare.

Oh, magnificent city of Inverness,
And your beautiful river, I must confess,
With its lovely scenery on each side,
Would be good for one’s health there to reside.

There the blackbird and the mavis doth sing,
Making the woodlands with their echoes to ring
During the months of July, May, and June,
When the trees and the shrubberies are in full bloom.

And to see the River Ness rolling smoothly along,
Together with the blackbird’s musical song,
While the sun shines bright in the month of May,
‘Twill help to drive dull care away.

And Macbeth’s Castle is grand to be seen,
Situated on Castle Hill, which is beautiful and green.
’Twas there Macbeth lived in days of old,
And a great tyrant he was, be it told.

I wish the Heatherblend members every success,
Hoping God will prosper them and bless;
Long May Dame Fortune smile upon them,
For all of them I’ve met are kind gentlemen.

And in conclusion, I must say
I never received better treatment in my day,
Than I received from my admirers in bonnie Inverness.
This on my soul and conscience I do confess.

McGonagall in Inverness

Last night the Poet McGonagall, who had been induced to visit Inverness by some admirers of his effusions, styling themselves “The Heather Blend Club.” was entertained to supper in one of the hotels, and presented with an “illuminated” address contained in a casket, to wit, a wax taper box, designating the guest as the eminent Scottish poet, tragedian, and patriot.

Dundee Courier, 17th October 1894

Notes

The evening performance that this poem commemorates was described by McGonagall in his autobiography. It appears to have been one of the few occasions when he was treated well by his audience, which is why they were rewarded (if that’s the right word) with a “Gem” of their own.

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Comments (2) »

  1. John Maguire
    In the year 2014, on the 20th day of August at 6:15 pm

    I have the illuminated address that was presented to him by the Heather blend club.

  2. Chris Hunt
    In the year 2014, on the 20th day of August at 11:25 pm

    How fantastic, John, how did you come by it? If there’s any way you can scan in a copy, I’d love to make it available on here.

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