"The Tay Bridge Disaster" is a poem written in 1880 by the Scottish poet William McGonagall, who has been widely recognised as the worst poet in history. The poem recounts the events of the evening of December 28, 1879, when, during a severe gale, the Tay Rail Bridge at Dundee collapsed as a train was passing over it with the loss of all on board (now thought to be 75 people and not 90 as stated in the poem).

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  • "The Tay Bridge Disaster" is a poem written in 1880 by the Scottish poet William McGonagall, who has been widely recognised as the worst poet in history. The poem recounts the events of the evening of December 28, 1879, when, during a severe gale, the Tay Rail Bridge at Dundee collapsed as a train was passing over it with the loss of all on board (now thought to be 75 people and not 90 as stated in the poem). The foundations of the bridge were not removed and are alongside the newer bridge.The poem is by far the most famous ever written by McGonagall, and is still widely quoted. It begins:"Beautiful railway bridge of the silv'ry TayAlas! I am very sorry to sayThat ninety lives have been taken awayOn the last sabbath day of 1879Which will be remember'd for a very long time."And it ends:"Oh! Ill-fated bridge of the silv'ry Tay,I now must conclude my layBy telling the world fearlessly without the least dismay,That your central girders would not have given way,At least many sensible men do say,Had they been supported on each side with buttressesAt least many sensible men confesses,For the stronger we our houses do build,The less chance we have of being killed."William McGonagall wrote two other poems about the Tay bridges. The first one, written before the disaster about the first bridge, begins as follows:The Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay:"Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay!With your numerous arches and pillars in so grand array,And your central girders, which seem to the eyeTo be almost towering to the sky"And it ends:"Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay!I hope that God will protect all passengersBy night and by day,And that no accident will befall them while crossingThe Bridge of the Silvery Tay,For that would be most awful to be seenNearby Dundee and the Magdalen Green.Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay!And prosperity to Messrs Bouche and Grothe,The famous engineers of the present day,Who have succeeded in erecting the RailwayBridge of the Silvery Tay,Which stands unequalled to be seenNearby Dundee and the Magdalen Green."After the original bridge collapsed, a new one was built, providing the opportunity for another poem, which begins:An Address to the New Tay Bridge"BEAUTIFUL new railway bridge of the Silvery Tay,With your strong brick piers and buttresses in so grand array,And your thirteen central girders, which seem to my eyeStrong enough all windy storms to defy." (en)
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  • "The Tay Bridge Disaster" is a poem written in 1880 by the Scottish poet William McGonagall, who has been widely recognised as the worst poet in history. The poem recounts the events of the evening of December 28, 1879, when, during a severe gale, the Tay Rail Bridge at Dundee collapsed as a train was passing over it with the loss of all on board (now thought to be 75 people and not 90 as stated in the poem). (en)
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  • The Tay Bridge Disaster (en)
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