The Rigours of Indolence

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The Ball on Shipboard by James Tissot

The Rigours of Indolence

Ah, those aristos, who never worked a day,
Just sit back and wait for Papa to pass away.
While armies of servants and hard-working-clarsses
Would feed their fat faces and wipe their fat arses,
And loans would be brokered to fund wars of nations,
While riches would pour in from ex-slave plantations.

Ah, those aristos, who feasted on our sweat,
Those patrons of the arts, that lavish social set –
With artists and craftsmen and tailors and tours,
And houses and horses and operas and balls.
They almost were worth it, their style could defend it –
They didn’t deserve it, but knew how to spend it.

Usually I resist any attempt to rhyme ‘class’ with ‘arse’, but this poem was written in with a definite accent in ear.  ‘Papa’ of course should be pronounced with its stress on the second syllable.  This is an early poem, but I’ve started to preach a little less and let a little satire slip in.  The title incidentally comes from a line in Alan Bennett’s The Madness of George the Third.

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