The Lorgnette

Scotland’s record for poesy is still to the front Given the occasion, there is ever a poet ready to celebrate it, and it was natural that such a patriotic event as the unveiling of the memorial to the 42nd Regiment at Aberfeldy would not be allowed to pass unnoticed. There are people who will be inclined to contend that the poet’s effort has not been equal to the theme, and probably such contention is not far from the truth. But, then, it must be understood that Poet-Laureate McGonagall, of Dundee, declines to be trammelled with the rules of poesy, which do so much to hamper ordinary people in their attempts to rhyme. See how boldly he plunges into his subject in the opening verse—

Ye Sons of Mars, it gives me great content
To think there has been erected a handsome monument
In memory of the Black Watch, which is magnificent to see,
Where they first were embodied at Aberfeldy.

And not only is the poet content, but he graphically gives good reason for that content by reciting the gallant deeds which have made the gallant regiment so famous in the following touching lines:—

And as a Highland regiment they are worthy of what has been done for them,
Because a more courageous regiment we cannot find of men
Who have bravely fought and bled in defence of their country,
Especially in the Russian War and Soudan War they made their enemies flee.

Some idea of the magnificence of the spectacle presented will be gathered from the following vivid description:—

There were also Freemasons, Foresters, all in a row,
And wearing their distinctive regalias, which made a great show;
And the processionists were formed into three sides of a square
Around the monument, while the music of the bands did rend the air.

The noble Marquis of Breadalbane arrived on the ground at 1.30,
Escorted by a guard of honour and his pipe band;
Then the bands struck up, and the pipes were set a bumming,
And all with one accord played up the “Campbells are Coming.”

The grace and dignity with which the dignitaries did their devoir on the occasion is happily hit off in a master touch. This is what the Marquis of Breadalbane said, and what the Provost of Aberfeldy replied:—

Then, turning to the Chief Magistrate of Aberfeldy,
He said, “Sir, I have been requested by the Committee
To give you the deed conveying the monument to your care,
With the feu-charter of the ground, therefore, sir, I’d have you beware.”

Then the Chief Magistrate Forbes to Lord Breadalbane said,
“My noble Lord, I accept the charge, and you needn’t be afraid.
Really it gives me much pleasure in accepting as I now do from thee
This Memorial, along with the deeds, on behalf of Aberfeldy.”

And in the last verse it is proved that the glamour of poetic inspiration can be thrown around even the prosaic subject of a square meal:—

Then there was a banquet held in the school,
At which three hundred sat down and ate till they were full;
And Lord Breadalbane presided, and had on his right,
Magistrates, Colonels, and Provosts, a most beautiful sight.

Are all the cemeteries in Dundee filled up?

Glasgow Evening Post, 6th December 1887

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