Location: Sacramento, California

I am a retired lawyer and administrative law judge, aged but active, with a variety of interests.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Poem, Swells


With feudal roots, from a time
before the Conquest,
the landed aristocracy in 1880
was still God's elect,

the wealthiest, and most powerful
segment of the population
of the British Isles,
owned four-fifths of the land,

dominated government
at all levels, controlled
the House of Commons
as well as the House of Lords.

Their offspring filled
the upper ranks of
the Army, the Church and
the Civil Service.

But the electorate
was enlarged,
landowners were taxed,
financial pressures grew.

The landed classes
‘proved themselves’
in the Great War, but
‘vanished in blood and fire.’

The honors system changed:
in London, one could not
‘throw a stone at a dog
and fail to hit a knight.’

Lloyd George, aristocracy’s
implacable enemy,
remarked that its place
in history will be

‘like the scent on a
pocket handkerchief,’
but its history is largely
Great Britain’s history.

-James M. Moose


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