I've got until tomorrow night to learn a poem. And it's written is bloody Scottish dialect, so I won't even understand it. And I don't do poetry.
"When chill November's surly blast ..." oh, here we go, it's a dirge. It's the Son of Ancient Mariner, written in Scottish, by a bloke who died 200 years ago and of whom nobody south of Hadrian's Wall would have heard, if someone hadn't named a day after him and filled the shops with haggis.
Eleven verses of it. And you have to look up words, like Lordling. Lordling. An immature or insignificant lord. Surprise, surprise. But hold on - it used to mean, especially in Government or Politics, a young lord.
I do some research. Rabbie was writing about the scumbags in power even then!
I read on. Gets better.
Seventh verse has this "man's inhumanity to man" bit - I always thought that was the English bloke, Shakespeare, but no.
And then verse eight - this is the tear-jerker: lordling doesn't really give a bollocks as long as his nest is feathered, the working man can't afford to treat his wife and kids properly.
Verse nine is the nub: if we were born to be free, and not to be enslaved, why are we working for these shysters?
Verse ten then offers hope. Things will get better.
Verse eleven drops you right back in it. I'll let you read it for yourself, it's at the end of this post.
But it made me think. It made me think "stuff it, my kids aren't going to be the next in a long line of poor sods who are, if they're lucky, going to work their butts off for this sponging, thieving, pile of crooks. They're not going to get brainwashed at school then shoved into the next bit of the social engineering production line so some fat bankers and big company fat cats can fill their boots."
I've had enough.
Here's the poem. It really is rather good. Please let me know what you think after reading it (probably several times).
1.When chill November's surly blastMade fields and forest bare,One ev'ning, as I wand'red forthAlong the banks of Ayr,I spied a man, whose aged stepSeem'd weary, worn with care,His face was furrow'd o'er with years,And hoary was his hair.2.'Young stranger, whither wand'rest thou?'Began the rev'rend Sage,'Does thirst of wealth thy step constrain,Or youthful pleasure's rage?Or haply, prest with cares and woes,Too soon thou hast beganTo wander forth, with me to mournThe miseries of Man.3.The sun that overhangs yon moors,Out-spreading far and wide,Where hundreds labour to supportA haughty lordling's pride:I've seen yon weary winter-sunTwice forty times return;And ev'ry time has added proofs,That man was made to mourn.4.'O Man! while in thy early years,How prodigal of time!Mis-spending all thy precious hours,Thy glorious, youthful prime!Alternate follies take the sway,Licentious passions burn:Which tenfold force gives Nature's law,That Man was made to mourn.5.Look not alone on youthful prime,Or manhood's active might;Man then is useful to his kind,Supported is his right:But see him on the edge of life,With cares and sorrows worn;Then Age and Want - O ill match'd pair! --Shew Man was made to mourn.6.'A few seem favourites of Fate,In Pleasure's lap carest;Yet think not all the rich and greatAre likewise truly blest:But oh! what crowds in ev'ry land,All wretched and forlorn,Thro' weary life this lesson learn,That Man was made to mourn.7.'Many and sharp the num'rous illsInwoven with our frame!More pointed still we make ourselvesRegret, remorse, and shame!And Man, whose heav'n-erected faceThe smiles of love adorn,--Man's inhumanity to manMakes countless thousands mourn!8.'See yonder poor, o'erlabour'd wight,So abject, mean, and vile,Who begs a brother of the earthTo give him leave to toil;And see his lordly fellow-wormThe poor petition spurn,Unmindful, tho' a weeping wifeAnd helpless offspring mourn.9.'If I'm design'd yon lordling's slave--By Nature's law design'd--Why was an independent wishE'er planted in my mind?If not, why am I subject toHis cruelty, or scorn?Or why has Man the will and pow'rTo make his fellow mourn?10.'Yet let not this too much, my son,Disturb thy youthful breast:This partial view of human-kindIs surely not the last!The poor, oppressed, honest man,Had never, sure, been born,Had there not been some recompenseTo comfort those that mourn!11.'O Death! the poor man's dearest friend,The kindest and the best!Welcome the hour my aged limbsAre laid with thee at rest!The great, the wealthy fear thy blow,From pomp and pleasure torn,But, oh! a blest relief to thoseThat weary-laden mourn!'