McGonagall on Blackie

The good city of Perth possesses a ‘poet’ named McGonagall, whose lucubrations are after a style adopted by the lamented ‘Poet Close’ who was famous for lines which ran on deformed feet. But McGonagall means well, and has a sympathetic soul. He writes things in general, and if his lines do not scan what matters, so long as his heart is in the right place. That he is anatomically correct, and that it is not always necessary to possess literary excellencies in order to give utterance to sympathy, are proved by the following ‘ode’ on the death of the late Professor Blackie :—

Alas! the people’s hearts are now full of sorrow;
For tho deceased Professor Blackie, of Edinboro’;
Because he was a Christian man, affable and kind,
And his equal in charitable actions would be hard to find.
Professor Blackie will be greatly missed in Edinboro’;
Especially those that met him daily will feel great sorrow,
When they think of his never-failing plaid and hazel rung,
And although he was an old man, be considered he was young,
He had a striking face, and silvery locks like a seer,
And in tho hearts of a Scottish people, he was loved most dear,
And many a heart will mourn for him, but all in vain;
Because he never can return to them again.
He waa a very kind-hearted man, and in no way vain;
And I’m afraid we ne’er shall look upon his like again,
Aud to hear him tell Scotch stories, the time did quickly pass,
And for singing Scotch songs few could him surpass.
But I hope he is in heaven, singing with the saints above,
Around God’s throne, where all is peace and love,
There, where God’s children daily doth meet,
To sing praises of God, enchanting and sweet.
He had visited almost every part of Europe, in his time,
And, like Lord Byron, he loved the Grecian clime,
Nor did he neglect his own dear country,
And few men knew it more thoroughly than he
On foot he tramped o’er the most of Bonnie Scotland,
And in his seventies he climbed the highest hills most grand,
Few men in his day could be compared to him,
Because he wasn’t hard on fallen creatures when they did sin.
Oh, dearly beloved Professor Blackie, I must conclude my muse,
And to write in praise of thee my pen does not refuse;
Because you were a very Christian man, be it told,
Worthy of a monument with your name written thereon in letters of gold.

Daily Telegraph [Napier NZ], 1st June 1895


A modified version of this poem was published in Last Poetic Gems.

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