Dante Gabriel Rossetti

(12 May 1828 – 9 April 1882 / London / England)

The English Revolution Of 1848


HO ye that nothing have to lose! ho rouse ye, one and all!
Come from the sinks of the New Cut, the purlieus of Vauxhall!
Did ye not hear the mighty sound boom by ye as it went—
The Seven Dials strike the hour of man's enfranchisement?
Ho cock your eyes, my gallant pals, and swing your heavy staves:
Remember—Kings and Queens being out, the great cards will be Knaves.
And when the pack is ours—oh then at what a slapping pace
Shall the tens be trodden down to five, and the fives kicked down to ace!
It was but yesterday the Times and Post and Telegraph
Told how from France King Louy-Phil. was shaken out like chaff;
To-morrow, boys, the National, the Siècle, and the Débats,
Shall have to tell the self-same tale of “La Reine Victoria.”
What! shall our incomes we've not got be taxed by puny John?
Shall the policeman keep Time back by bidding us move on?
Shall we too follow in the steps of that poor sneak Cochrane?
Shall it be said, “They came, they saw,—and bolted back again”?
Not so! albeit great men have been among us, and are floor'd—
(Frost, Williams, Jones, and other ones who now reside abroad)—
Among the master-spirits of the age there still are those
Who'll pick up fame—even though, when smelt, it makes men hold the nose.
What ho there! clear the way! make room for him, the “fly” and wise,
Who wrote in mystic grammar about London's “Mysteries,”—
For him who takes a proud delight to wallow in our kennels,—
For Mr. A. B. C. D. E. F. G. M. W. Reynolds!
Come, hoist him up! his pockets will afford convenient hold
To grab him by; and, if inside there silver is or gold,
And should it be found sticking to our hands when they're drawn out,
Why, 'twere a chance not fair to say ill-natured things about.
Silence! Hear, hear! He says that we're the sovereign people, we!
And now? And now he states the fact that one and one make three!
Now he makes casual mention of a certain Miscellany!
He says that he's the editor! He says it costs a penny!
O thou great Spirit of the World! shall not the lofty things
He saith be borne unto all time for noble lessonings?
Shall not our sons tell to their sons what we could do and dare
In this the great year Forty-eight and in Trafalgar Square?
Swathed in foul wood, yon column stood 'mid London's thousand marts;
And at their wine Committeemen grinned as they drank “The Arts”:
But our good flint-stones have bowled down each poster-hidden board,
And from their hoarded malice our strong hands have stript the hoard.
Yon column is a prouder thing than Cæsar's triumph-arch!
It shall be called “The Column of the Glorious Days of March!”
And stonemasons' apprentices shall grow rich men therewith,
By contract-chiselling the names of Jones and Brown and Smith.
Upon what point of London, say, shall our next vengeance burst?
Shall the Exchange, or Parliament, be immolated first?
Which of the Squares shall we burn down?—which of the Palaces?
(The speaker is nailed by a policeman)
Oh please sir, don't! It isn't me. It's him. Oh don't, sir, please!

Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010

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