To Hell with the Hoi Polloi

A droll from the Man of Mode

To hell with the hoi polloi, I say,
democracy is démodé;
aristocrats, by troth, know best,
who needs a scurvy IQ test?

A pox upon the under-class,
salute the King and raise a glass;
the Devil take the working poor;
equality’s a royal bore.

What good are beggars who can’t laugh,
let’s legislate against riff-raff;
the law should puff up the beau monde
and drag the rest through the horse pond.

Good breeding is the source of wit
and should be governed by permit;
the commoners have no éclat
and ought to be against the law.

We’ll warrant silks, perruques and dice
‘cause being rich is the best vice;
the masses want life more humane,
but why waste all that good champagne?

Let’s sign a formal declaration
that makes laboring high treason;
at the risk of being rigid,
wages are prohibited.

Utopia’s a bellyache,
let ‘em eat cake, for Heaven’s sake;
noblesse oblige takes us so far
and then it’s time for caviar.

We’ll have no revolution, thanks,
‘cause freedom’s just for Mountebanks;
the House of Bourbon had it right,
the rabble should be more polite.

To hell with the hoi polloi, I say,
gentility has more cachet;
all power to the monarchy,
long live entitled foppery!

 

Dapperwit’s Distinctions

A droll from Love in a Wood

The degrees of wits, as I see it
are four, which I shall now remit.

The Foppish Wit plies trade uptown
with trillibubs of sparked renown;
his verses don’t exceed sonnets
and always nims their better bits;
endeavoring to make dames swoon,
if failed, revenges with lampoon;
his meetest trait is his perruque
and, gauging yours, a pert rebuke.

The Café Wit’s a vain coxcomb
who’s always seen with some vast tome;
he’ll haul to parties book reviews,
discoursing Latin ’til you snooze;
he rails upon best-seller lists
and thinks footnotes will interest trysts;
his utterings are recondite,
his learnedness is done in spite.

The Romantic Wit’s a misanthrope
who thinks it’s hip to pine and mope;
his hair is tousled with panache
and when he sees you, asks for cash;
he censures mankind with rhymed taunts,
esteeming just the Renaissance;
certes, his staunchest raillery
impugns those more well-off than he.

And, last, the Critic Wit — the worst
of all those wits condignly curst;
he holds the court of surquedry,
condemning those more deft than he;
he’ll have all aphorisms slapped,
all bon mots lashed, all sallies strapped;
and, since he governs the wits’ gate,
the wits cosset this addlepate.

’Tis certain, wits come in classes
but, rest assured, they’re all asses.

 

Craig Kurtz has vexed aesthetic circles since the 1981 release of The Philosophic Collage. Recent work appears in Aerie Literary Journal, Drunk Monkeys, Floor Plan Journal, Penumbra, The Road Not Taken: A Journal of Formal Poetry, The Transnational and Xanadu; many others would just as soon string him up. He resides at Twin Oaks Intentional Community.

Featured Image: “Marie_Antoinette” by Vigée-Lebrun

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