Who Said What About Bonny Dundee
Historic city of Jute, Jam and Journalism - where comic book characters still roam the streets -
and sometimes the ghost of Scotland's worst poet!
The little city is still bonny all right. It is not repellent as an industrial town, distinguished in the last century for its jam, jute and journalists; and the docks and fishermen's smells creep right into the heart of it, so that salt flavors the hungry lips everywhere.
SCOTLAND: THE LAND AND THE PEOPLE, © Donald Cowie, 1973 by A.S. Barnes and Company, Cranbury, NJ and London: Thomas Yoseloff Ltd., London ISBN 0-498-01169-0
Welcome! thrice welcome! to the year 1893
For it is the year that I intend to leave Dundee
Owing to the treatment I receive
Which does my heart sadly grieve.
Every morning when I go out
The ignorant rabble they do shout
'There goes mad McGonagall'
In derisive shouts, as loud as they can bawl
And lifts stones and snowballs, throws them at me —
And such actions are shameful to be heard in the City
And I'm ashamed Kind Christians to confess
That from the magistrates I can get no redress
Therefore I have
made up my mind, in the year of 1893
To leave the ancient city of Dundee
......William Topaz McGonagall, A New Year's Resolution to Leave Dundee, 1893
Editor's NB: Wm T Mc is considered Scotland's - and maybe the world's - worst poet!
The town is ill-built and is dirty beside
For with water its scantily, badly supplied
By wells, where the servants, in filling their pails
Stand for hours, spreading scandal, and falsehood and
And abounds so in smells that a stranger supposes
The people are very deficient in noses
Their buildings, as though they'd been scanty of
Are crammed into corners that cannot be found.
...And four churches together with only one steeple
Is an emblem quite apt of the thrift of the people.
I've seen the Asylum they lately have made,
And approve of the plan, but indeed I'm afraid
If they send all the people of reason bereft
To this Bedlam, but few in the town will be left.
For their passions and drink are so terribly strong
That but few here retain all their faculties long.
And with shame I must own, that the females, I think
Are in general somewhat addicted to drink.
.....Thomas Hood, from Verse Letter to his Aunts, December 1815
Dundee, a place whose reputation for parochial Scottish backwardness hangs around it like halitosis...And the
streets up from the river - they had precisely that well-made, grey, ashlared solidity that Scottish cities need
to have, without going to the brutal extremes of Aberdeen...All along Crichton Street, Commercial Street, Reform
Street, marketgait and the Perth Road, Dundee sat in a kind of neat stodginess of its own devising.
......FAINTHEART: An Englishman Ventures North of the Border
by Charles Jennings, Abacus, Time Warner Books U.K., www.TimeWarnerBooks.co.uk; ©2001 by Charles Jennings ISBN 0349114404
...at one time or another Dundee had the makings of a kind of Naples, which, forgetting the punitive nature of its climate, it geographically resembled...I would often look at that bleak Angus shore half-expecting singing fishermen, and hoping for a drift of Vesuvius smoke from the summit of the Law.
....©James Cameron, Point of Departure, 1967