Works in the Herald 1935

From a little maid in Ringwood, Victoria, the Orient Company recently carried free to England, a unique chair covered with Australian and British stanmps for inspection by the King. The British Customs, however, refuses to release the chair until the duty assessed (50) has been paid.

A maid sent a chair to his Majesty the King
   All the long, long way from the far Antipodes.
I cannot say what ship it was that made the trip --
   (It might have been the Emu, or possibly Euripides)
But they freighted it free away across the sea;
It was covered o'er with postage stamps, as nice as nice can be.
   Then, Hail to his Majesty, emporer and King --
   King of all the Empire -- and a very good thing.

Said the Customs man in England, "'To his Majesty the King',
   Rightly or wrongly, that be the address on it.
But, no matter who 'tis to, it bain't passin' thro'
   Till 'tis knowed what's the duty we can rightfully assess on it.
Fair good bit it ought to bring.   An' most like 'tis for the King,
Wi' stamps all over it -- a very pretty thing."
   Then, Hail to his Majesty, sitting on his throne,
   Whose liegemen honor him in every earthly zone.

Down to the Customs rose his Majesty the King.
   "Can there be a chair here for me with some stamps on it?"
"Aye, sire, there can," quoth the doughty Customs man.
   "But till you pays me fifty pun', you don't set your lamps on it."
"Zounds!" cried the King.  "This caitiff, he shall swing
High against the heaven, an' he yield me not this thing!"
   Then, Hail to his Majesty, whose far-flung dominion
   The sun never sets on (vide scientists' opinion).

"This be high treason!" quod his Majesty the King.
   "Now, by my halidame, we shall have ye slaughtered, sir.
An ye show good reason for this loathly treason.
   Hanged by the neck, sir; drawn, sir; and quartered, sir!"
Said the Customs man then, "Aye, Regulation ten,
Section eight, Rule nine, signed wi' royal pen!
   Then, Hail to his Majesty!  But wi' all due respect,
   No royal regulation of his Customs we neglect."

Back from the Customs rode his Majesty, the King,
   With his crown on his head, his retinue attending him --
Equerries and all to obey his lightest call
   And forty thousand horse and foot bent upon defending him.
"What breaks" -- mused he then -- "Regulation ten?
Not all the King's horses, aye, nor all the King's men.
   For 'Hail to your Majesty!" they shout thro' my democracy.
   I am monarch over millions; but I can't beat Bureaucracy!"

Herald, 18 November 1935, p6

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2005