Interdum stultus opportuna loquitur...

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

GovRant: Two Stanzas...

Note - from June 24th 2009, this blog has migrated from Blogger to a self-hosted version. Click here to go straight there.

In the stupid 40 Question Meme, I mentioned Chesterton's "Secret People" - and that prompted a couple of interrogatory e-mails.

There are better poems, but the last two stanzas of Secret People give the appropriate flavour. If I read the entire thing, I usually cry before the end.

They have given us into the hands of the new unhappy lords,
Lords without anger and honour, who dare not carry their swords.
They fight by shuffling papers; they have bright dead alien eyes;
They look at our labour and laughter as a tired man looks at flies.
And the load of their loveless pity is worse than the ancient wrongs,
Their doors are shut in the evenings; and they know no songs.

We hear men speaking for us of new laws strong and sweet,
Yet is there no man speaketh as we speak in the street.
It may be we shall rise the last as Frenchmen rose the first,
Our wrath come after Russia's wrath and our wrath be the worst.
It may be we are meant to mark with our riot and our rest
God's scorn for all men governing. It may be beer is best.
But we are the people of England; and we have not spoken yet.
Smile at us, pay us, pass us. But do not quite forget.

If anyone dare say that there are lines that do not scan,
I pray he keep his counsel - he is more pedant than man.
For Chesterton sought tension, and sought to throw the eye
In order that the profane knew what was what...

What I am getting at, is that the lack of scansion is deliberate, you morons.

It is not my absolute favourite poem of all time - that honour probably goes to Catullus' "On Aemelius" (Carmen 97). Seriously ,you have GOT to read that last one.

OK - here it is... remember, it's CULTURE because it's OLD and it's LATIN.

I did not (may the gods love me) think it mattered,
whether I might be smelling Aemilius’s mouth or arse.
The one’s no cleaner, the other’s no dirtier,
in fact his arse is both cleaner and nicer:
since it has no teeth.
Indeed, the other has foot long teeth,
gums like an old box-cart,
and jaws that usually gape like the open
cunt of a pissing mule on heat.
He fucks lots of women, and makes himself out
to be charming, and isn’t set to the mill with the ass
Shouldn’t we think, of any girl touching him,
she’s capable of licking a foul hangman’s arse?