by Stephen Masty
Canute, the king of Englishmen,
Norwegians and the Danes,
Had glib courtiers, you may be sure,
Who soothed for every sinecure
Or privilege they might procure,
And caused him royal pains.
He bade them all take up his throne
Despite the morning damp,
And carry it into the sea,
With king and court into the sea,
And hoped such sycophants might be
Inflicted with a cramp.
He ordered then the Seas to halt,
And Tides all in a minute;
His courtiers said, “As well you should!
“Your policy is very good!”
Such flattery, they understood,
Could turn some profit in it.
As he foresaw, the mighty Tide
Did tremble not with dread;
For soon did every wave begin,
From cloaks to underwear within,
To soak the courtiers to the skin;
And then their monarch said:
“Let all men know how worthless
Is the power of a king,
Apart from Him who made us all!”
Now damp and feeling rather small,
His chastened toadies heard the call
And felt the message sting.
With that from off his noble head
He took his golden crown,
And hung it on a Cross that day,
So there it evermore might stay
To help his subjects, that they may
Remember up from down.
Books on the people and events in this fine poem can be found at The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore.