McGonagall in Perth – The Poet Kindly Treated

A Perth correspondent writes:— I notice from Saturday’s “Evening Post” that an Aberdeen paper has been criticising the action of the Perth Lyric Club in bringing through McGonagall, the bard of the “Silvery Tay” to Perth, and for listening to the “drivelling vanities of a poor old man, seventy-eight years of age.” While it will not be denied that the appearance of Poet McGonagall was to entertain the company, the suggestion that the poet was not fairly treated must be given most emphatic denial. Not only was the poet shown the greatest kindness from the time he arrived in Perth, but he departed again for Edinburgh next day with a very handsome fee in his pocket for his “labours” of the previous evening. As it was a pretty cold night the committee also saw to it that the poet was made comfortable for the night.

There is no doubt that the poet’s recitals were received with cheers, derisive and otherwise, but if man is paid for making fool of himself he is surely no more than the clown at a circus who is the butt of the jokes, and who enjoys the experience Why? Because he gets paid for it. McGonagall recitals are nothing new, and had the poet been subjected to horseplay or ill-usage of any kind the criticism of the Aberdeen paper might have been in a manner justified, but, as McGonagall himself said, “he had never been better treated in all his life than the way he had been received in the beautiful city of Perth.”

Dundee Evening Post, 16th December 1901

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