William McGonagall on Robert Burns

IMMORTAL Robert Burns of Ayr,
There's but few poets can with you compare;
Some of your poems and songs are very fine:
To "Mary in Heaven" is most sublime;
And then again in your "Cottar's Saturday Night,"
Your genius there does shine most bright,
As pure as the dewdrops of the night.

Your "Tam O'Shanter" is very fine,
Both funny, racy, and divine,
From John O'Groats to Dumfries
All critics consider it to be a masterpiece,
And, also, you have said the same,
Therefore they are not to blame.

And in my own opinion both you and they are right,
For your genius there does sparkle bright,
Which I most solemnly declare
To thee, Immortal Bard of Ayr!

Your "Banks and Braes of Bonnie Doon"
Is sweet and melodious in its tune,
And the poetry is moral and sublime,
And in my opinion nothing can be more fine.

Your "Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled"
Is most beautiful to hear sung or read;
For your genius there does shine as bright,
Like unto the stars of night

Immortal Bard of Ayr! I must conclude my muse
To speak in praise of thee does not refuse,
For you were a mighty poet, few could with you compare,
And also an honour to Scotland, for your genius it is rare

  • Cover scan of Poetic Gems
    Poetic Gems - William McGonagall - Paperback
    The Victorian poet William McGonagall was known as the greatest bad verse writer of his age, but was sustained throughout his career by a belief in his own genius. Unrecognised in his lifetime, he now has many thousands of admirers globally.
  • Cover scan of William McGonagall
    William McGonagall: Collected Poems - William McGonagall - Paperback
    The execrable rhymes, the terrible scansion, the ludicrous subject matter - despite everything, William McGonagall remains one of Scotland's favourite poets. This volume brings together the three collections - 'Poetic Gems', 'More Poetic Gems' and 'Last Poetic Gems', and includes autobiographical material.

There can be no denying that William McGonagall was a bad poet, yet his name and his poems persist in the Scottish national memory. His poems are often unintentionally funny, even when tackling such serious subjects as the Tay Bridge disaster. Born in Edinburgh in 1825, McGonagall wrote his first poem while working as handloom weaver in Dundee. He wrote over 200 poems, many praising writers such as Shakespeare and, in this poem, Robert Burns.

William McGonagall

Internet Links

More on BooskfromScotland.com