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No memorial for Scotland's bad bard

UPI News Service, 06/03/2007 

William Topaz McGonagall, the Scottish poet widely reviled in life, is getting no honor in death either.

The Writers' Museum in Edinburgh confirmed this week that a memorial to McGonagall will not be placed in Makars' Court, where literary giants like Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott are honored on paving stones.

McGonagall has his fans -- including Bob Watt, head of the Edinburgh Friends of William McGonagall, and Billy Connolly, the comedian and actor best-known for portraying Queen Victoria's faithful servant, John Brown, in "Mrs. Brown." Connolly was reportedly willing to dedicate the memorial.

"The decision to reject McGonagall is motivated by mean-spirited snobbery by a bunch of humorless so-called experts," Watt told The Scotsman. "He is easy to sneer at, but McGonagall is known throughout the world and will continue to be read and enjoyed long after his critics are forgotten about."

McGonagall was barred from Balmoral Castle after he walked from Dundee to recite to Queen Victoria, and carried an umbrella to protect himself from rotten fruit. His magnum opus was "The Tayside Disaster," about a railroad bridge collapse.

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Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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