A private collector has paid £6,600 for poems by the man ridiculed as "the world's worst poet". A total of 35 of William McGonagall's works - many of them autographed - have been up for auction in Edinburgh...William Topaz McGonagall, poet and tragedian of Dundee, "has been widely hailed as the writer of the worst poetry in the English language. A self-educated hand loom weaver from Dundee, he discovered his discordant muse in 1877 and embarked upon a 25 year career as a working poet, delighting and appalling audiences across Scotland and beyond."
Here are a few stanzas from one of my favourites, The Demon Drink
Thou causeth the mother to neglect her child,
Also the father to act as he were wild,
So that he neglects his loving wife and family dear,
By spending his earnings foolishly on whisky, rum and beer.
And after spending his earnings foolishly he beats his wife-
The man that promised to protect her during life-
And so the man would if there was no drink in society,
For seldom a man beats his wife in a state of sobriety.
And if he does, perhaps he finds his wife fou',
Then that causes, no doubt, a great hullaballo;
When he finds his wife drunk he begins to frown,
And in a fury of passion he knocks her down.
And in that knock down she fractures her head,
And perhaps the poor wife she is killed dead,
Whereas, if there was no strong drink to be got,
To be killed wouldn't have been the poor wife's lot.
(BBC news link thanks to hayley campbell)