HEAD-MONEY, n. A capitation tax, or poll-tax.In ancient times there lived a king Whose tax-collectors could not wring From all his subjects gold enough To make the royal way less rough. For pleasure’s highway, like the dames Whose premises adjoin it, claims Perpetual repairing. So The tax-collectors in a row Appeared before the throne to pray Their master to devise some way To swell the revenue. “”So great,”” Said they, “”are the demands of state A tithe of all that we collect Will scarcely meet them. Pray reflect: How, if one-tenth we must resign, Can we exist on t’other nine?”” The monarch asked them in reply:””Has it occurred to you to try The advantage of economy?””””It has,”” the spokesman said: “”we sold All of our gray garrotes of gold; With plated-ware we now compress The necks of those whom we assess. Plain iron forceps we employ To mitigate the miser’s joy Who hoards, with greed that never tires, That which your Majesty requires.”” Deep lines of thought were seen to plow Their way across the royal brow.””Your state is desperate, no question; Pray favor me with a suggestion.””””O King of Men,”” the spokesman said,””If you’ll impose upon each head A tax, the augmented revenue We’ll cheerfully divide with you.”” As flashes of the sun illume The parted storm-cloud’s sullen gloom, The king smiled grimly. “”I decree That it be so –and, not to be In generosity outdone, Declare you, each and every one, Exempted from the operation Of this new law of capitation. But lest the people censure me Because they’re bound and you are free,’Twere well some clever scheme were laid By you this poll-tax to evade. I’ll leave you now while you confer With my most trusted minister.”” The monarch from the throne-room walked And straightway in among them stalked A silent man, with brow concealed, Bare-armed –his gleaming axe revealed! –G.J.
It was pitiful for a person born in a wholesome free atmosphere to listen to their humble and hearty outpourings of loyalty toward their king and Church and nobility; as if they had any more occasion to love and honor king and Church and noble than a slave has to love and honor the lash, or a dog has to love and honor the stranger that kicks him! Why, dear me, ANY kind of royalty, howsoever modified, ANY kind of aristocracy, howsoever pruned, is rightly an insult; but if you are born and brought up under that sort of arrangement you probably never find it out for yourself, and don't believe it when somebody else tells you. It is enough to make a body ashamed of his race to think of the sort of froth that has always occupied its thrones without shadow of right or reason, and the seventh-rate people that have always figured as its aristocracies -- a company of monarchs and nobles who, as a rule, would have achieved only poverty and obscurity if left, like their betters, to their own exertions... The truth was, the nation as a body was in the world for one object, and one only: to grovel before king and Church and noble; to slave for them, sweat blood for them, starve that they might be fed, work that they might play, drink misery to the dregs that they might be happy, go naked that they might wear silks and jewels, pay taxes that they might be spared from paying them, be familiar all their lives with the degrading language and postures of adulation that they might walk in pride and think themselves the gods of this world. And for all this, the thanks they got were cuffs and contempt; and so poor-spirited were they that they took even this sort of attention as an honor.
Layer upon layer it comes, dense and rich within the texts, echo upon echo, allusion and resonance tumbling over one another, so that for those with ears to hear it becomes un-missable, a crescendo of questions to which in the end there can be only one answer. Why are you speaking like this? Are you the one who is to come? Can anything good come out of Nazareth? What sign can you show us? Why does he eat with tax-collectors and sinners? Where did this man get all this wisdom? How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Who are you? Why do you not follow the traditions? Do the authorities think he’s the Messiah? Can the Messiah come from Galilee? Why are you behaving unlawfully? Who then is this? Aren’t we right to say that you’re a Samaritan and have a demon? What do you say about him? By what right are you doing these things? Who is this Son of Man? Should we pay tribute to Caesar? And climactically: Are you the king of the Jews? What is truth? Where are you from? Are you the Messiah, the son of the Blessed One? Then finally, too late for answers, but not too late for irony: Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us! If you’re the Messiah, why don’t you come down from that cross?…And Jesus had his own questions. Who do you say I am? Do you believe in the Son of Man? Can you drink the cup I’m going to drink? How do the scribes say that the Messiah is David’s son? Couldn’t you keep watch with me for a single hour? And finally and horribly: My God, my God, why did you abandon me? …The reason there were so many questions, in both directions, was that–as historians have concluded for many years now–Jesus fitted no ready-made categories
If they come to this forest, to us here, seeking shelter from the havoc that has been brought upon their lands, at the hands of evil, I say come. I say join us in this fight! The royal throne of Northbrook no longer resides in Gamlock. It is here. Now. In this place. You are its soldiers, I am its king, and we will work together to unite all who are willing to fight alongside us! (Wharick)
Higgledy piggledy, my black hen,She lays eggs for gentlemen.Gentlemen come every dayTo count what my black hen doth lay.If perchance she lays too many,They fine my hen a pretty penny;If perchance she fails to lay,The gentlemen a bonus pay.Mumbledy pumbledy, my red cow,She’s cooperating now.At first she didn’t understandThat milk production must be planned;She didn’t understand at firstShe either had to plan or burst,But now the government reportsShe’s giving pints instead of quarts.Fiddle de dee, my next-door neighbors,They are giggling at their labors.First they plant the tiny seed,Then they water, then they weed,Then they hoe and prune and lop,They they raise a record crop,Then they laugh their sides asunder,And plow the whole caboodle under.Abracadabra, thus we learnThe more you create, the less you earn.The less you earn, the more you’re given,The less you lead, the more you’re driven,The more destroyed, the more they feed,The more you pay, the more they need,The more you earn, the less you keep,And now I lay me down to sleep.I pray the Lord my soul to takeIf the tax-collector hasn’t got it before I wake.
OPPOSITION, n. In politics the party that prevents the Government from running amuck by hamstringing it. The King of Ghargaroo, who had been abroad to study the science of government, appointed one hundred of his fattest subjects as members of a parliament to make laws for the collection of revenue. Forty of these he named the Party of Opposition and had his Prime Minister carefully instruct them in their duty of opposing every royal measure. Nevertheless, the first one that was submitted passed unanimously. Greatly displeased, the King vetoed it, informing the Opposition that if they did that again they would pay for their obstinacy with their heads. The entire forty promptly disemboweled themselves.""What shall we do now?"" the King asked. ""Liberal institutions cannot be maintained without a party of Opposition.""""Splendor of the universe,"" replied the Prime Minister, ""it is true these dogs of darkness have no longer their credentials, but all is not lost. Leave the matter to this worm of the dust."" So the Minister had the bodies of his Majesty's Opposition embalmed and stuffed with straw, put back into the seats of power and nailed there. Forty votes were recorded against every bill and the nation prospered. But one day a bill imposing a tax on warts was defeated --the members of the Government party had not been nailed to their seats! This so enraged the King that the Prime Minister was put to death, the parliament was dissolved with a battery of artillery, and government of the people, by the people, for the people perished from Ghargaroo.