Choose to bend
The supple knee?
Milton, Paradise Lost, Book V, 787-788
To bow to them? To bend my supple knee?
For what, I ask, what have they done for me?
I knelt before my wife, a woman who I loved,
When I offered her my heart for all eternity.
I bent before a man I saw
To whom I owe my life,
And prostrated myself in humility
When one I loved found me guilty.
But you say I should bow to the child
Because they are born of you?
Never, not in a thousand years
Will I supplicate for so little.
I will not bend before you,
I won’t twist my prideful knees;
No reverence is due to you,
And none from you to me.
As a British citizen, I am, of course, under a constitutional monarchy. While I respect my sovereign – both as an individual and as a sovereign – I prefer not to praise a baby who has, very visibly, achieved a fairly average amount for a child that age. This poem was written shortly after the birth of Prince George of Cambridge or, as the tabloids call him, baby George. I’ll admit, this is reflected in the poem. I apologise if I offend any monarchist readers – I do not seek to do so. I have my beliefs, but I hold them quietly. I strive to keep them out of my actions – otherwise my mother and sister would cease to speak to me.
The Hapless Neo-Romantic