Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Great Regulars: [Charles] Dickens attacks Tory stupidity

in his very subtitle: "To be said or sung at all Conservative dinners". Only idiots would chant this litany of self-mockery at a celebratory dinner. The poem runs tirelessly through a roster of political injustice and corrupt practice, and every verse hits its targets. Sometimes, there's a sketched-in backstory: verse three suggests a connection between the spy network, embodied in the "brave old code", and the mythological, many-eyed monster Argus, and the Peterloo Massacre, when "the good old yeomanry" attacked a peaceful crowd of demonstrators.

from Carol Rumens: The Guardian: Poem of the week: 'The Fine Old English Gentleman' by Charles Dickens


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