McGonagall in Glasgow

The gifted McGonagall gave an entertainment in Glasgow on Wednesday night before an audience which is described as “more select than numerous.”

Dundee Courier, 20th December 1895

The gifted McGonagall has been in Glasgow, and has been received with becoming honour. A Glasgow contemporary devotes half a column to his performance, from which we quote the following: At a select smoking concert in Ancell’s restaurant on Tuesday night, McGonagall, the laureate – or rather doggerel laureate – of Dundee made his first public appearance in Glasgow. His reception was of the most flattering description, although the audience refrained from any enthusiatic ovation such as the gifted bard has drawn forth during the past few months in his native town by the Tay. He was only one of the items on the programme, but he was the piece de resistance, and he seemed to realise it. McGonagall wore a fearful and wonderful highland costume. Future generations may contend for the custody of his sword, which is decidedly McGonagallian, having been made by the gifted bard’s son. A Glasgow litterateur, who was in the chair, introduced McGonagall in a very complimentary speech in which he compared the works of McGonagall to those of Shakespeare, very much to the disparagement of the latter. Then the poet took some lemonade, tightened his belt, sought the centre of the room, and recited his famous epic lay, “The Battle of Bannockburn.” This poem, he admits himself, excited the patriotism of his countrymen more than any other thing he has written. When he recited it in a Dundee hall the place had to be fumigated afterwards. He generally prefers to recite at Easter, for eggs at that time are dear, and even bad ones are not to be obtained cheaply. “Tel-el-Kebir,” which he also read, is, however, considered to be one of the finest creations of the poet. Its construction is somewhat peculiar. It presents the appearance of having been written without a foot-rule, for the lines are very irregular. In this respect the style is somewhat Walt Whitmanesque. To see McGonagall recite this poem is a liberal education in dramatic action. It is a performance necessitating a considerable vacant area, and precautionary measures for the safety of the furniture. Mcgonagall’s best known work, however, is “The Tay Bridge.” According to the Chairman, the bridge would never have fallen if this poem had not been written. The poet’s works were sold to a large number of his admirers present, and his famed autograph was in great demand.

Dundee Courier, 4th April 1889

Comments (1) »

  1. In the year 2013, on the 4th day of April at 1:10 pm

    I wonder what became of that sword. A suitable subject for verse, perhaps?

    Perhaps not.

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