Ha, what a sight for the gods! Also for men,
Who’ll maybe take more interest i’ the thing!
Two fighting champions—fighting not by sword,
By word I mean—measuring one ’gainst t’other,
And clashing tongues in bluff electoral strife:
This tried in many a battle years gone by.
With long and glorious service to bis score,
A trifle bent, probably, from his toil —
That lusty, slap-dash, eager for the fray,
With possible great future, little past,
Aiming to appear taller than he is, but can’t.
And will they speak their minds, blurt out home-thrusts?
Perhaps they will. Perhaps they won’t. What odds ?
I know, you know (or ought to), what each thinks
And says to self, if not aloud. N’est-ce pas?
Pooh, pooh, a Tory stripling, ergo fool.
Who cares for grand old Rads ? Not I, i’ faith.
Age he respects not, nor experience;
I’ll make him smart, then. Sneer at my youth ? Well, well
I’ll give him a lick wi’ the rough side o’ my tongue.
Yon whipper-snapper’s opposition galls,
Affronts; you’ll ne’er desert me. Surely, now.
You’d choose me rather than such a rum old bloke.
Look at my deeds. Confound his impudence!
Look what I mean to do. Oh, d—— the Corn Laws!
And who am I that thus soliloquize?
I, Browning? Cert’nly not, but growing pale—
They’re going to make more speeches. Whoop, I’m off!
- Robert Browning (sitemap)
- Cartoon accompanying the poem
- John Bright (and cartoons about him)
- The Campaign for the Repeal of the Corn Laws
“Measured with Bright”. Fun. (21 October 1885): 177.
Last modified 22 March 2016