Works in the Bulletin 1908

Regarding the "New Protection," as distinct from the old, Mr palmer further showed his particular brand of "liberalism" by saying that the Constitution was of "too sacred a kind to be tampered with for a twopenny half-penny thing favored by one section of the community." - Parliamentary Report.

   Read ye here the song as sung
   By a chief named, briefly, Ung.
In the days when arguments were manly axes:
   "O my people, this my Law
   Is without defect or flaw,
And it governs ways and mneans and rates and taxes.
   To amend it were unwise;
   And if any tribesman tries,
He will meet with swift unerring retribution.
'Tis omnipotent, infallible, as all may recognise;
In short, it is out Noble Constitution."

   When this neolithic man
   Gave the world his early plan
Of tribal laws to bind his nascent nation,
   He opined, with fine conceit,
   That his System was complete,
And the acme of all human legislation.
   "For all time this Law shall stand!"
   He decreed with manner grand
And a splendid disregard for evolution;
And the Tory crowd that followed, bore this tenet in its hand:
"You must never touch the Sacred Constitution."

   So the Party then in power,
   To improve the shining hour,
Contracted quite a pleasing little habit:
   Safely guarded in their "right,"
   If they fancied aught in sight,
Being "constitutionally safe," they'd grab it.
   And they told the rank and file,
   With a patronising smile,
When the People talked of "wrongs" and "persecution,"
"It is very, very sad, and, no doubt, your case is bad;
But we cannot tamper with the Constitution."

   But meat-winners of the day
   (Rabid Socialists were they)
By slow degrees arrived at this conclusion:
   That the hide-bound Tory joss
   Totalled mainly bluff and dross,
And its "sacredness" was wholly an illusion.
   Then with yells and growlings vile,
   In their quaint primeval style
They planned a prehistoric revolution;
And with bits of teriary rock they wrecked the Torries' smile
And, incidentally, the Constitution.

   All this happened, as you know,
   Quite a long, long time ago;
And the world has since known Greece and Rome and Sparta,
   Medes and Persians and such fools
   Who were bound by cast-iron rules --
Which reminds us of Old England's Magna Charta.
   There's no doubt when England pressed
   Hard to have her wrongs redressed,
And "persuaded" John to sign the resolution,
That hard-shell old Tory King thought it quite a shocking thing
To meddle with the Holy constitution.

   So on, ever since King John,
   As the world moves surely on,
And the People cry for reformation drastic,
   You can hear right down the line
   E'er the same old Tory whine
Protesting, "It is most iconoclastic!"
   'Tis the same old Tory way,
   Same old "everlasting nay."
'Tis the same reactionary elocution.
But, who stood for "Progress" yesterday is "Retrograde" today;
And we've got to meddle with the Constitution.

   While the Fatman waxes fat,
   He's content to stop at that;
He will bless the Constitution and defend it;
   But whene'er it needs repair.
   'Tis the man who works his share
That uprises, patriotic, to amend it.
   Oh, it's not the slightest use
   When your "right" becomes "abuse".
'Tis the law of legislative evolution
That every Great Reform is won, 'spite arguments abtuse
By altering the blessed Constitution.

   Gentle Tory, prithee hark
   Back to Ung of ages dark,
And defend his blessed code with sandstone axes.
   Mayhap in that murky bourne
   You'll escape a fate forlorn,
Full of New Protection and Progressive Taxes.
   And you won't be sorely missed,
   If you fall beneath some fist,
For young Progress shouts for men of execution.
And, as regards reform and such, WE'LL DO JUST AS WE LIST,
For it's Ours, this High and Holy Constitution.

"C.J. Dennis"
The Bulletin, 3 December 1908, p39

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002-07