Sir William Topaz McGonagall’s Poetic Recital

The “poet” McGonagall, who is masquerading under the above designation, gave a recital in the Oddfellows’ Hall, Edinburgh, last night, to a large audience. About a quarter past the hour for the entertainment to begin, the “poet’s” manager apologised for the delay, stating that it was due to the non-arrival of a pianist who had been hired. “Sir William” then appeared upon the platform, and was received with good humoured cheers. He said he was much disappointed that his pianist, and a number of artists who had promised to take part, had not turned up. He was quite ready, however, to “do the whole recital himself.” He was dressed in a Rob Roy tartan kilt and plaid, wore brogues, and sported a claymore, while his headgear consisted of a Tam o’ Shanter with a large feather. His “masterpiece,” Bannockburn, was recited. It gave him plenty of scope for the use of his sword, and his audience roared with laughter to see him punctuating each line with imaginary thrusts and cuts. Tel-el-Kebir and Omdurman were next dealt with. After a couple of other pieces, “Sir William” retired, and “Will ye no’ come back again” and other persuasive ditties having failed to lure the “Knight” to the platform, a deputation of students was tried, but it also was ineffectual. The proposal “to have a smoking concert of their own” was eagerly taken up by the audience, and the platform was not long in being occupied, and the chair taken. The want of a pianist was no longer felt, and things were going merrily enough when the hallkeeper objected to smoking, and after a little persuasion the platform was vacated and the audience dispersed.

Edinburgh Evening News, 1st December 1898

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