An Offended Poet

William McGonagall has, as we expected he would, taken offence at our remarks last week on his so-called poem, “Bonnie Dundee,” and has relieved his mind by writing to us the following letter, which we gladly publish: and we can only express the fervent hope that he may put into execution the artful threat with which he closes, to drop all communications:—

Smith’s Buildings, No. 10 Paton’s Lane,
Dundee, January the 19th, 1878.

“My dear sir,— I do not feel satisfied with your criticism regarding my poem entitled “Bonnie Dundee in 1878.” If I cannot persuade you and others into the belief that the beauties of Dundee that I have referred to cannot be surpassed in any other town I know of, that is no reason for you to give against publishing it. And you also have said that it is not even amusing, and perhaps I never intended that it should be amusing. But, my dear sir, I consider all sensible poetry to be amusing, and worth perusing. I consider your criticism to be a very unfair one, because at the beginning of the extract that you have published you begin with ‘I will sing in thy praise,’ omitting ‘O bonnie Dundee,’ which is very unfair both to the readers and the author, and unless you publish it I will consider it to be a very unreasonable criticism, because I consider that every poet is justified in writing about any subject he chooses. What I have written about, dear sir, is true, that Dundee can compete with any town or city I know of in Scotland, or in London, for stately buildings or fine shops, impartially speaking. Remember I have said so because I have been in all the greatest cities and towns in Scotland, with the exception of London. And, dear sir, if you are so impartial against the beauties of Dundee, the town you live in, it says but little for you in refusing to publish what I have written about it But perhaps you are angry because I forgot to introduce the Courier & Argus office as a stately building. If so, I beg pardon for being so neglectful for the many past kindnesses you have done me. But, dear sir, if you refuse to publish my poem, ‘Bonnie Dundee in 1878,’ all further communications are at an end.

—I am, dear sir, yours truly,

William McGonagall

Weekly News, 26th January 1878

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