Lapsus Calami (Apr 1891)/An Election Address

First published in the Pall Mall Gazette, 23 November 1882, and later included as the final poem in the first edition of Lapsus Calami. In the third edition it immediately followed "Early School" and was followed by "The Poet's Prayer," the first poem in the "Novi Lapsus" section.

1787893Lapsus Calami — An Election AddressJ.K.S.

An Election Address.
(To Cambridge University, 1882.)

I venture to suggest that I
Am rather noticeably fit
To hold the seat illumined by
The names of Palmerston and Pitt.

My principles are such as you
Have often heard expressed before:
They are, without exception, true;
And who can say, with candour, more?

My views concerning Church and State
Are such as Bishops have professed:
I need not recapitulate
The arguments on which they rest.

Respecting Ireland, I opine
That Ministers are in a mess,
That landlords rule by Right Divine,
That Firmness will remove Distress.

I see with horror undisguised
That freedom of debate is dead:
The Liberals are organised:
The Caucus rears its hideous head.

Yet need'st thou, England, not despair
At Chamberlain's or Gladstone's pride,
While Henry Cecil Raikes is there
To organise the other side.

I never quit, as others do,
Political intrigue, to seek
The dingy literary crew,
Or hear the voice of science speak.

But I have fostered, guided, planned
Commercial enterprise: in me
Some ten or twelve directors and
Six worthy chairmen you may see.

My academical career
Was free from any sort of blot:
I challenge anybody here
To demonstrate that it was not.

At classics too I worked amain,
Whereby I did not only pass,
But even managed to obtain
A very decent second class.

And since those early days, the same
Success has crowned the self-same plan;
Profundity I cannot claim:
Respectability I can.

Pall Mall Gazette, Nov. 27, 1882.