Poetry

Down with Democracy! and Select Poems by Wortley Clutterbuck

Down with Democracy!

Are not fools and stupid beings a majority in the world, and ought they not to have their representative?

— Honoré de Balzac, Le Député d’Arcis.

There’s been some muttering I’ve heard

about a goverance preferred;

it seems the lower classes want

democracy, with all its cant.

The speeches make it sound real grand

in language stark to understand;

there’s promises of something free

that goes to them, taken from me.

Now, despotism, people demn —

at least until explained to them;

but there’s issues so delicate

you can’t trust an electorate.

The population’s prejudiced,

distracted, as well hedonist;

the great unwashed can’t understand

that government is better planned.

The average chuff’s illiterate —

he’d hurt himself with a ballot;

‘why bother with democracy

if you can’t vote yourself money?’

Consulting ikons and tealeaves,

they’ll eeny-meeny between thieves;

since elements rob themselves blind,

why should it surprise in mankind?1

The people who want parliament

are out to shift the ignorant;

the problem with democracy

is when the turn-out out-votes me.

The riffraff and the menials

should leave it up to us nobles;

aristocrats, we’ll make the law

and peasants, you may thank us all.

Sure, populism’s pretty quaint

and everyone’s got some complaint;

it’s effortless to finger-point

but lots more work to run this joint.

I ask you how low can they stoop

to call the King a nincompoop?

sure, sovereigns make a few boo-boos

but aren’t those famines now old news?

These knaves who want equality

deserve naught but the pillory;

muck-rakers’ heads should be on blocks —

democracy’s a scurvy pox.

The best technique, I would confide,

to win is join the winning side;

who needs those scrofulous cut-throats —

who counts are those who count the votes.

Who needs their tedious ‘fair play,’

they’d end up despots anyway;

it’s ‘liberty!’ ‘til they prevail

then they’ll oppress the curst canaille.

We’ll not have mobs or street dissent —

all power to the 1%;

who cares what the great unwashed likes —

it’s their or our heads up on pikes!

Democracy’s the latest thing —

it’s dernier cri to be left-wing;

but they’ll be sorry, soon enough,

when they elect some dumb-ass chuff.

1. “Since elements themselves do rob each other,

and Phoebe for her light doth rob her brother,

what ist in man, one man to rob another?”

—Richard Brome, The City Wit, act IV, sc. I.

The Roué’s Politics

The only diff’rence that I see

between regimes affecting me

is, government’s always declared —

not that I ever really cared.

There was a King, his name’s forgot —

the Queen supposedly was hot;

but my opinion’s pretty slim —

so either way, let’s think of quim.

There was rebellion in the South

but there was also nether mouth;

it’s fine by me whoe’er prevail —

just lead me to that mossy vail.

And Robespierre was a big deal —

whatever, give me paps to feel;

they fought in all the cities, true —

but there were lovelies’ titties, too.

The Revolution came and went, so yay —

I’d rather girls in lingerie;

these governments all come and go —

it’s damsels I most fancied, though.

I heard about the guillotine

but I prefer something obscene;

one day Napol’on, next a King —

just lead me to that shady spring.

These gents are at each other’s throats

as if I care how either votes;

opinions, yes, I’ll give ‘em that —

but how ‘bout they lèche-moi la chatte ?

One side wears red, one side wears blue,

but they’re all pink, pull out their queue;

one side is good, one side is bad —

and who knows which as pleasure’s had.

Sure, monarchists pontificate

but I’d rather ejaculate;

true, Jacobins the state inveigh

but I prefer to forniquer.

I hear of left, I hear of right —

orgasms don’t have much insight;

the low countries I’d rather dwell —

their politics can go to hell.

The Bourbons or the Bonapartes —

they’re all the same, just smell their farts;

these governments all come and go —

it’s damsels I most fancied, though.

Scuttlebutt

Lady Sneer: [T]here’s no possibility of being witty without a little ill nature.

— Richard Sheridan, The School for Scandal, act I, sc. I.

Have you heard the latest, dear —

it’s guaranteed to make you sneer;

Lord Vinegar, from parliament —

his daughter went to a convent;

it’s said, and this I can’t confirm,

the damsel played roulette with sperm;

they say that she’ll be gone for good —

but who induced the motherhood?

Lord Vinegar’s career’s on hold —

it serves him right for getting old;

I hear that he wears a hairpiece

and soon enough will be obese.

And Lady Harridan, do tell,

has good reason to be unwell;

it’s said her finances have went

the way of the last government;

her husband accrued gaming debts —

his courtesan spent his assets;

he was so dashing, hat and cane —

his suicide was so urbane;

it’s such a shame, I do deplore

his wife who’s been blocked at the door;

we know it’s arbitray, but

the etiquette means she gets cut.

Lord Puffery’s in the headlines

and, no, it’s not his concubines;

it’s not about the horses, or

that indiscretion from before;

it’s said the office where he’s chief

has contretemps beyond belief;

the scuttlebutt that I have heard

is factitious, or so’s the word.

they claim it’s something expletive —

oh no, we won’t live and let live;

they say it’s something he has said —

you so know how these stories spread.

The Baron and the Baroness

are going through the same process;

it starts with tattles and with fibs —

next thing, someone is calling dibs;

we heard a rumor on the fly,

an innuendo to deny;

the Baron sure was caught off guard

and made a sound we disregard;

the Baroness cried, It Ain’t Fair!

as if she’d be the first to care;

we’re going to cancel somebody

and it is better you than me.

The Monument

I used to be the statue that

people respected and looked at;

but now I am the source of shame

as all my friends forget my name.

There was a time, a war got won –

we didn’t tweet, we used a gun;

we didn’t have deodorant

and liked a big, fat monument.

As I recall, most folks I knew

were proud to see me a statue;

but now it seems their relatives

are vituperating me, what gives?

I used to get a lot of praise

synonymous with holidays;

they put me on a coin one time

but now my face ain’t worth a dime.

You should have seen the paintings I

got painted in, a real good guy;

but now they call me a villain

and scorn the color of my skin.

The times have changed, and tipped the scales

so no one likes us dead white males;

they canceled me in my birthplace

and threw red paint across my face.

I used to live in the town square,

admired for ancient warfare;

but now they want to melt me down

and deconstruct my past renown.

Back in the day, most things were good

with patriotic, stout manhood;

the only people less than thrilled

were mainly bad guys, who got killed.

We didn’t have a bunch of gripes

from haters of the stars and stripes;

we didn’t find ourselves canceled

because our mustaches got old.

One day I was exemplary,

next day they’re throwing rocks at me;

it’s hard to be a monument

consid’ring what I represent.