City Gossip

Just let anyone score a success, and see what a lot of imitators he will have. My friend McGonagall has secured a rich reward, and already there are indications – most pronounced indications, I may mention – of an attempt to at once rob him of his glory and of his profits. The fact that he has won by his transcendent poetical ability a suit of clothes has awakened the covetous instincts of some sordid persons, and they are bent on dragging Dundee’s bard from off his lofty pedestal.

Will they manage to do it? I trow not. Just look at the effusion that has emanated from the virile brain of an atribillous versifier who dares to set himself up in comparison with McGonagall. Imagine the thing! Does this would-be poet suppose that he will ever replenish his wardrobe by writing such poetry? Pah! No one would think of giving him a paper collar for such rhyme, far less a suit of the dest tweed that the world can produce. Hearken to what this envious rhymster audaciously calls his “Farewell to McGonagall”:

Oh, Willie, we will miss ye,
If you should leave us noo;
We’ll weary for your shauchlin’ form
An’ your nasal organ blue.

‘Twad mak’ a peasemeal warrior weep
To think that we maun part.
The laddies, for the want o’ fun,
I’m sure they’ll break their heart.

But though ye’re gane an’ far awe’,
Ye’ll never be forgotten.
Ye maun write us a verse or twa,
For a’ you’ve writ is rotten.

A true rope roond yer noble brow,
To drive awa’ dull care;
We’ll decorate your learned pow
Wi’ a saw to cut your hair.

In tar we’ll ha’e yer likeness ta’en,
Ere you mak’ your exit,
And your farewell memorial
We’ll hing in the ashpit.

That will not put McGonagall’s nose out of joint, certain I am of that. He will treat the scurrilous lampoon with noble scorn, reflecting that such things as these are the penalty of greatness. The tweed suit will prove a solace to his feelings. I have said that McGonagall had secured his reward. That is not absolutely correct. The donor mentioned that the suit would be ready by the time the poem was written, but when he made that promise he had no idea how rapidly poetry can be turned out from Paton’s Lane. The handsome present had a wonderfully stimulating effect on McGonagall’s muse, and it is quite apparent to the critical eye that the poem was produced at race-horse speed.

About the suit the poet kind enough to give me a few interesting particulars, and from these I conceive that he will present a reverent, I might even say an impressive appearance. The trousers will be durable as well as comfortable, for at McGonagall’s express desire they are to be lined, The coat will be planned on clerical lines by an experienced cutter, whose skill I shall not be surprised to find celebrated in a future ode — that is to say if he deserves it; but there can be no doubt of that, for the eyes of all Dundee will be centred upon his handiwork, Some frivolous youths were suggesting that the poet should have gone in for “a sack jacket,” but I am pleased to say that the old man had the good sense to set his face against any such vanity.

Weekly News, 21st January 1893

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