â€˜The Rule of the Manyâ€™, The Bulletin, 15 November 1890.
Democracy, feudalism, inequality, natural law, merit, poem, privilege, wealth, workers rights
This poem provides a vigorous denunciation of â€œthe English caste systemâ€ and â€œcelebrates the decay of feudalism,â€ at least in the Australian rural locale (Louise D'Arcens, Old Songs in the Timeless Land: Medievalism in Australian Literature 1840-1910, Turnhout: Brepols, 2011, p. 143). It praises â€œmuscle and brainâ€ (merit) while condemning the undeserving ruling classes, who it refers to as â€œPampered idlersâ€. The point of the exercise is demonstrated in the lines: â€œKing, prince and lord are a useless load and must by that law abide! / No Parliament can alter that fact, / Or the march of mankind stay.â€ The law that this section of the poem acknowledges is simply the law of Nature, for no law of man can usurp natural law. Underpinning everything else is the firm belief that the â€˜fruits of the earthâ€™ (its wealth and resources) are made not just for a select and powerful minority, but for everyone equally. The inescapable conclusion of the poem is that with the removal of the medieval â€˜baggageâ€™ of the past, i.e. feudalism, nostalgia, overlordship and the monarchy, the earth will return to an extended period of serenity and harmony under the sure-handed guidance of â€œthe Peopleâ€.
A. X. C. (Unknown)
15 November 1890 (p. 17)
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