I feel there is probably not enough poetry about commercial themes. Commerce is after all as much, if not more, part of our daily lives as love, mortality, the beauty of nature, conflicting emotions, loss and all the other things we more usually expect to find in poetry. But here, in today’s poem, McGonagall does not shy away from poetically celebrating a successful commercial transaction, in which the poet’s need to purchase a good quality new suit were well-matched with the tailor’s ability to make the suit to the poet’s requirements, presumably for a fair and reasonable remuneration. And this give the poet McGonagall both the opportunity and the motivation to announce to the world the good service of the tailor and to herald his success on a wider stage.
So let’s raise a wee dram to J. Graham Henderson of Hawick and his colleagues, and hope that many other poets use their talents to sing the praises of other commercial deals which create so much satisfaction, contributing to both consumer and producer surplus…
Lines in Praise of Mr. J. Graham Henderson, Hawick
Success to Mr J. Graham Henderson, who is a good man,
And to gainsay it there’s few people can,
I say so from my own experience,
And experience is a great defence.
He is a good man, I venture to say,
Which I declare to the world without dismay,
Because he’s given me a suit of Tweeds, magnificent to see,
So good that it cannot be surpassed in Dundee.
The suit is the best of Tweed cloth in every way,
And will last me for many a long day;
It’s really good, and in no way bad,
And will help to make my heart feel glad.
He’s going to send some goods to the World’s Fair,
And I hope of patronage he will get the biggest share;
Because his Tweed cloth is the best I ever did see,
In the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and ninety-three.
At the International Exhibition, and the Isle of Man Exhibition,
He got a gold medal from each, in recognition
Of his Scotch Tweeds, so good and grand,
Which cannot be surpassed in fair Scotland.
Therefore, good people, his goods are really grand,
And manufactured at Weensforth Mill, Hawick, Scotland;
Where there’s always plenty of Tweeds on hand,
For the ready cash at the people’s command.
Mr Tocher measured me for the suit,
And it is very elegant, which no one will dispute,
And I hope Mr Henry in Reform Street
Will gain customers by it, the suit is so complete.
We learn from the poem, at the end of the fourth stanza that this poem was written in the year 1893. We learn also that the Tweed cloth was spun at Weensforth Mill in Hawick. I wonder if that Mill is still standing, or even still operational? It would be great to find out – some old mills from that era have indeed ben preserved as industrial museums.
I hereby declare today’s poem the best poem in praise of buying a suit that I have ever read…
The Poetry Dude