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An Expostulation To Lord King
by [?]

“quem das finem, rex magne, laborum?”


How can you, my Lord, thus delight to torment all
The Peers of the realm about cheapening their corn,[1]
When you know, if one hasn’t a very high rental,
‘Tis hardly worth while being very high born?

Why bore them so rudely, each night of your life,
On a question, my Lord, there’s so much to abhor in?
A question-like asking one, “How is your wife?”–
At once so confounded domestic and foreign.

As to weavers, no matter how poorly they feast;
But Peers and such animals, fed up for show,
(Like the well-physickt elephant, lately deceased,)
Take a wonderful quantum of cramming, you know.

You might see, my dear Baron, how bored and distrest
Were their high noble hearts by your merciless tale,
When the force of the agony wrung even a jest
From the frugal Scotch wit of my Lord Lauderdale![2]

Bright Peer! to whom Nature and Berwickshire gave
A humor endowed with effects so provoking,
That when the whole House looks unusually grave
You may always conclude that Lord Lauderdale’s joking!

And then, those unfortunate weavers of Perth–
Not to know the vast difference Providence dooms
Between weavers of Perth and Peers of high birth,
‘Twixt those who have heirlooms, and those who’ve but looms!

“To talk now of starving!”–as great Athol said[3]–
(And the nobles all cheered and the bishops all wondered,)
“When some years ago he and others had fed
“Of these same hungry devils about fifteen hundred!”

It follows from hence–and the Duke’s very words
Should be publisht wherever poor rogues of this craft are–
That weavers, once rescued from starving by Lords,
Are bound to be starved by said Lords ever after.

When Rome was uproarious, her knowing patricians
Made “Bread and the Circus” a cure for each row;
But not so the plan of our noble physicians,
“No Bread and the Treadmill,”‘s the regimen now.

So cease, my dear Baron of Ockham, your prose,
As I shall my poetry–neither convinces;
And all we have spoken and written but shows,
When you tread on a nobleman’s corn,[4]
how he winces.

[1] See the proceedings of the Lords, Wednesday, March 1, 1826, when Lord King was severely reproved by several of the noble Peers, for making so many speeches against the Corn Laws.

[2] This noble Earl said, that “when he heard the petition came from ladies’ boot and shoe-makers, he thought it must be against the ‘corns’ which they inflicted on the fair sex.”

[3] The Duke of Athol said, that “at a former period, when these weavers were in great distress, the landed interest of Perth had supported 1500 of them, it was a poor return for these very men now to petition against the persons who had fed them.”

[4] An improvement, we flatter ourselves, on Lord L.’s joke.