Poems by the one and only 'great'
Scottish Poet William Topaz McGonagall
POEM : The Funeral of the Late Ex-Provost Rough, Dundee by William Topaz McGonagall
FROM : From Last Poetic Gems
Twas in the year of 1888, and on the 19th of November,
Which the friends of the late Ex-Provost Rough will long remember,
Because 'twas on the 19th of November his soul took its flight
To the happy land above, the land of pure delight.
Take him for all in all, he was a very good man,
And during his Provostship he couldn't be equalled in Great Britain,
Which I proclaim to the world without any dread,
Because while Provost he reduced the public-houses to three hundred.
Whereas at the time there were 620 public-houses in the town,
But being a friend of the temperance cause he did frown,
Because he saw the evils of intemperance every day
While sitting on the bench, so he resolved to sweep public-houses away.
And in doing so the good man, in my opinion, was right,
Because the evils of intemperance is an abomination in God's sight;
And all those that get drunk are enemies to Him,
Likewise enemies to Christ's kingdom, which is a great sin.
The late Ex-Provost Rough was President of the Dundee Temperance Society,
An office which he filled with great ability;
Besides Vice-President of the Scottish Temperance League for many years,
And no doubt the friends of temperance for his loss will shed tears.
Because many a hungry soul he relieved while in distress,
And for doing so I hope the Lord will him bless,
For his kindness towards the poor people in Dundee,
Besides for his love towards the temperance cause, and his integrity.
And when the good man's health began to decline
The doctor ordered him to take each day two glasses of wine,
But he soon saw the evil of it, and from it he shrunk,
The noble old patriarch, for fear of getting drunk.
And although the doctor advised him to continue taking the wine,
Still the hero of the temperance cause did decline,
And told the doctor he wouldn't of wine take any more,
So in a short time his spirit fled to heaven, where all troubles are o'er.
I'm sure very little good emanates from strong drink,
And many people, alas! it leads to hell's brink!
Some to the scaffold, and some to a pauper's grave,
Whereas if they would abstain from drink, Christ would them save.
'Twas on Friday afternoon, in November the 23rd day,
That the funeral cortege to the Western Cemetery wended its way,
Accompanied by the Magistrates, and amongst those present were-
Bailie Macdonald and Bailie Black, also Lord Provost Hunter I do declare.
There were also Bailie Foggie, Bailie Craig, and Bailie Stephenson,
And Ex-Provost Moncur, and Ex-Provost Ballingall representing the Royal Orphan Institution;
Besides there were present the Rev. J. Jenkins and the Rev. J. Masson,
With grief depicted in their faces and seemingly woe-begone.
There were also Mr Henry Adams, representing the Glover trade,
Also Mr J. Carter, who never was afraid
To denounce strong drink, and to warn the people from it to flee,
While agent of the Temperance Society in Dundee.
And when the funeral cortege arrived at the Western burying-ground,
Then the clergyman performed the funeral service with a solemn sound;
While from the eyes of the spectators fell many a tear
For the late Ex-Provost Rough they loved so dear.
And when the coffin was lowered into its house of clay,
Then the friends of the deceased homewards wended their way,
Conversing on the good qualities of the good man,
Declaring that the late Ex-Provost Rough couldn't be equalled in Great Britain.