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J-The Two Kings Of 'Angleterre' (A Jacobite Poem)

It was here in St Germain en Laye
long long ago and many a day
where jacobite James held his court
by seventeen o' one 'il est mort...'
still, trace along these balconies
once resonant with laughter and glee
as ran the princess called Louise
after a brother she loved - to tease
sprung from the beauty of 'Modene'
and the exiled British King.

A handful had condemned him thus
who caused such grief and a terrible fuss
daughters royal were hardly loyal
babes were born with various boils
yet with exuberance and mirth
welcomed the little prince's birth;
now abdicate Jacques deux did not
though circumstance proved somewhat hot!
So in that green and pleasant land
crown passed down from hand to hand.

Usurped, invaded; one by one
first the Dutch then the Hanovarian
'invited' always reads the claim
while 'occupation' was their game
for it is writ in records here
there were once two Kings of 'Angleterre'
Granted, silly Billy's mandatory oath
garenteed that he was free to boast
himself, was monarch for all the see
even if not quite - quite legally.

For here in St Germain en Laye
long long ago and many a day
the sovereign who lived 'over the water'
toast him! Raise a glass - of port-er
square toed, red heeled, and curly old whigs
they frequently went to hunt wild pigs
and boar and entertain each other
dressed in silks, lace, tricorn and feather
diamonds glister; rubies glisten
to music baroque they would listen.

While across 'la Manche' in London Town
however, this story is not well-known;
England's Freddie's last word spake a truth
'Respect the British Prince's claim and youth! '
So 'twas here in St Germain en Laye
long long ago and many a day
then when he grew to man's estate
they stole his title and denied his fate
Drummossie Moor, forty-six - the date
for some sort of justice we await!

The Butcher committed genocide
from the fact one cannot hide
while Stevenson with ink and quill
wrote how the jacobite is frozen still
his body deep under the ground
buried alive without a sound:
so if you dig you just might grasp
a written truth lost in the past
though you could never find today
on a visit to St Germain en Laye.

Victoria upon herself
decided to construct - with all her wealth
a plaque to comemerate the long dead Jim
who after all wasn't buried within
conveniently she just forgot
his majesty had ruled the lot
the Ruler of Britain - for that he was
these lines writ here just because
it is the principal you see
and it seems its just left up to me
so do remember do recall
King James the second was sovereign of all.

After a visit to St Germain en Laye
April 2009

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Langston Hughes


Comments (1)

Brilliant Gillian, I particularly loved the 4th verse - You are reminding me of fashions I am aware of from other memories. You have put this all together beautifully - well done. Up the jacobites that is what I say! (and of course their boots!) Sincerely Egal..