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Temperance Gems

Temperance Gems by William McGonagall
By: (1825-1902)

Good people all, of every degree,
I pray, ye all be warned by me:
I advise ye all to pause and think,
And never more to taste strong drink.

Some people do say it is good when taken in moderation,
But, when taken to excess, it leads to tribulation,
Also to starvation and loss of reputation,
Likewise your eternal soul’s damnation.

McGonagall has been widely acclaimed as the worst poet in British history. He campaigned vigorously against excessive drinking, appearing in pubs and bars to give edifying poems and speeches. These were very popular, the people of Dundee possibly recognising that McGonagall was “so giftedly bad he backed unwittingly into genius”. Six of those poems are recited here.

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