Descriptive Jottings of London

Original Text: 
William McGonagall, Poetic Gems (1890; Trowbridge and Esher: Trowbridge, 1975): 140-41. PR 4970 .M45 P6 1975 St. Michael's College Library
1As I stood upon London Bridge and viewed the mighty throng
2Of thousands of people in cabs and 'busses rapidly whirling along,
3All furiously driving to and fro,
4Up one street and down another as quick as they could go:
5Then I was struck with the discordant sound of human voices there,
6Which seemed to me like wild geese cackling in the air:
7And the river Thames is a most beautiful sight,
8To see the steamers sailing upon it by day and by night.
9And the Tower of London is most gloomy to behold,
10And the crown of England lies there, begemmed with precious stones and gold;
11King Henry the Sixth was murdered there by the Duke of Glo'ster,
12And when he killed him with his sword he called him an impostor.
13St. Paul's Cathedral is the finest building that ever I did see,
14There's no building can surpass it in the city of Dundee,
15Because it's magnificent to behold,
17And as for Nelson's Monument that stands in Trafalgar Square,
18It is a most stately monument I most solemnly declare,
19And towering defiantly very high,
20Which arrests strangers' attention while passing by.
21Then there's two beautiful water-fountains spouting up very high,
22Where the weary traveller can drink when he feels dry;
23And at the foot of the monument there's three bronze lions in grand array,
24Enough to make the stranger's heart throb with dismay.
26I went to hear him preach on the Sabbath-day,
27And he made my heart feel light and gay,
28When I heard him preach and pray.
29And the Tabernacle was crowded from ceiling to floor,
30And many were standing outside the door;
31He is an eloquent preacher I honestly declare,
32And I was struck with admiration as on him I did stare.
33Then there's Petticoat Lane I venture to say,
34It's a wonderful place on the Sabbath-day;
35There wearing-apparel can be bought to suit the young or old,
36For the ready cash, silver, coppers, or gold.
37Oh! mighty city of London! you are wonderful to see,
38And thy beauties no doubt fill the tourist's heart with glee;
39But during my short stay, and while wandering there,
40Mr Spurgeon was the only man I heard speaking proper English I do declare.


16] glittering: glottering (1890) Back to Line
25] Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), a famous and prolific Baptist preacher who served a largely working-class congregation at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. Back to Line
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RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
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