King Smith

Said great King Smith to great Guizot,
‘Does Virtue dwell in this world below?
I've travelled much, but never found
A true, good man above the ground.
How shall I curb this folk of mine—
This rampant, raging herd of swine?
To rule this people, what shall I do?
Tell me, Guizot—tell me true?’

‘The people!—bah!’said great Guizot:—
‘Bribe the needy, high and low;
Pay them, tickle them—scatter wide
Star and ribbon to please their pride;
Give them places, give them pelf;
The law of man is the love of self.
Every conscience may be sold,
Every man has his price in gold.’

Said great King Smith to great Guizot,
‘Thou art the wisest man I know;
Honor and Virtue are mist and cloud;—
Who looks for goodness in a crowd?
Inborn villany dwells in man,
And we will work it as we can:—
In one hand bribes, in the other a sword,
And Smith shall rule, unquestioned Lord!’

So great King Smith and great Guizot
Opened the sluice for the mud to flow,
And cast about for needy knaves,
Grovelling spirits, fawning slaves—
Paid their price, and ruled the land
With a strong and systematic hand,
Till the world avowed with stress and pith,
There was never a king so great as Smith.

Said great King Smith to great Guizot,
‘Money's the only god below;
And all my little Smiths must wed
Wives with money, or lack their bread.’
Said great Guizot, ‘The truth is plain;
There is a glorious prize in Spain—
One bride to make, and one to mar,
And cash in hand—how lucky we are!’

And great King Smith and great Guizot
Played the trick, as all men know;
And never dreamed, in their great delight,
There was a day for the longest night—
Never dreamed that, in human hearts,
There lurked a scorn of treacherous arts;
Or that Retribution's arm of pith
Might do its duty even on Smith.

Said great King Smith to great Guizot,
‘I hear a murmuring from below.’
Said great Guizot, ‘The troops are strong,
Our game is sure—there's nothing wrong:
We'll send some grape-shot into the town—
We'll keep the restless people down.
We rule, O King, on a deep-laid plan;
We know the worthlessness of man.’

But great King Smith and great Guizot
Made a fearful blunder, as we know;
The Virtue scorned, the Truth denied,
Surged o'er the land in a living tide—
It swept Guizot clean out of the track,
With all his system on his back,
And wakened Smith , as he dozed and dreamt,
And buried him in the world's contempt.
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