The Bard of Brexit

Letter to Parliament

Magnum Concilium, as long ago

You had been styled, when William made great show

At London, Gloucestershire, and Winchester,

Of your assemblies, noble ancestor

Of what is now a squalid den of thieves

That, without shame, the people’s will aggrieves,

The vision of your pageants when the king,

With England’s crown upon his head, would bring

From forest palace to a midland town

The pomp of your processions of renown,

When round the sovereign throne the bishops stood,

And gaunt-faced abbots of the ashen hood,

Pillars of learning with their book-worn eyes,

Whose looks were as grave as their souls were wise,

The prelates in their gold-spun copes and clasps,

The crimson robes, the whole inspiring gasps

Of admiration and of filial fear,

To think that God should speak through men so near,

To whom the king shows special reverence

With place of honour, acts of deference;

And lords with silver quillions, ermine cape,

Buckled in gold and decked in silken drape,

Proud of bearing, towering of height,

Restless as stallions to present the plight

Of their dependents to the monarch’s court,

The interests of their vassals to support,

In lofty language arguing their case

With studied eloquence and measured grace;

Gave us to know, by such a dazzling sight,

That prudence would hold hands with truth and right;

For, you were guided by a higher form

To heaven’s ordered universe conform.


O how your ancient members’ souls must weep

To see the bunch your modern chambers keep!


The king, himself a subject of the throne

Of blessed Peter, governed not alone,

But with assistance of the Holy Ghost,

Upon receiving heaven’s mystic host

Through Christ’s anointed Vicar and his priests.

And thus the Council gathered on great feasts

Of  solemn import and of highest rank,

The better earth’s and heaven’s King to thank;

Sometimes in abbeys would the Council meet,

Three hundred holy monks and friars to greet,

Whose fervent chanting at the hour of Lauds

Dispelled the power of the pagan gods

That now run riot in the modern House

Where men bow down to Satan’s chosen louse

And crippling chaos kicks each hornet’s nest,

Unleashing havoc at a clown’s  behest,

As greedy factions cling to sinecures—

A parliament of puffed-up epicures!


Of old, it was not so, as every man

From serf to king, to one eternal plan

Was bound by piety, or, lacking this,

The presaged promise of unending bliss,

If not avoidance of the fires of hell,

In everlasting bitterness to dwell,

As He who conquered death revealed to us,

Though our world deems His words superfluous.

For, serf and king, before the Holy Rood,

Alike had seen the Grail of His Blood

Raised up to God for their redemption’s sake;

Alike the flesh of Mary’s Son to take

Upon their tongues, that His divinity

Would flood their souls with His sublimity,

Infusing life where once the weight of death

Had the sapped the mind or strained the spirit’s breath;

Alike, did every man, from serf to king,

In universal chant Christ’s praises sing,

One law of prayer expressing one belief,

One path of grace, one consecrated chief,

All nations following one moral rule,

From sunny Sicily to starry Thule,

Some died of sin, yet others died of love,

But all received their powers from above.


When William came to England, he was armed

With papal writ and left the state unharmed;

In earnest, Saxons begged him to reform

The chaos of that had come to be their norm:

The clerical neglect of discipline,

And forms of anarchy that now had been

The ruin of the people and their faith,

Who followed leaders’ deeds, not what they saith.

His feudal homage to the Holy Pope

Took forms that gave St. Gregory great hope:

The Church’s liberty the king secured,

Appointing honest bishops who insured

Ecclesiastical supremacy,

While saving Edward’s laws and clemency.


Wise counselors, good Odo of Bayeux,

Lanfranc, and Wulfstan, formed the king’s milieu.

And all remembered how the Norman duke

Endured most patiently a pope’s rebuke

Forbidding marriage to his future queen,

The pious Maud of Flanders, most serene,

Fair daughter of king Baldwin, well removed

In consanguinity, and most beloved

Of William who had summoned wise Lanfranc,

To plead with Nicolas. (Twas thus that Caen,

Proud Norman city on the river Orne,

Received two monasteries that adorn

The province to this day: the one, for men,

By William founded and called Saint-Étienne,

The other, for the Holy Trinity,

Chaste Maud had offered, that virginity

Should reign among her lady anchorites.

With holy offices and Roman rites,

And chant from richly sculpted choir stalls

Resounding through the long abbatial halls,

These houses were the boast of Normandy,

A royal tribute to the Holy See!

The lovers, well and truly marrièd,

Are now in their own abbeys burièd.)


Such men of wisdom, supernatural,

Were also eminently pastoral.

Good William knew that England should survive

As long as truth and Holy Faith would thrive

Among the people who had welcomed him

At Westminster, one Christmas Day so dim,

When he was crowned with their expressed consent,

In French and English shouting their assent.

By papal law, the Norman conquerors,

For having killed so many in these wars,

Would offer penances of charity,

Erecting churches with celerity,

None more than William who, in parallel,

Established on the spot where Harold fell

An abbey where the sons of Benedict,

Would all of eastern Sussex benefit.


And you, false “parliament” of our own day,

Incompetent to honour yea or nay,

What consecrated princes of the Church

Are found among your members who besmirch

The very name of English Christendom,

O you who march to Europe’s godless drum?

Who are your clergy, who your patriarch,

Since bloody Henry jumped Salvation’s Barque?

Your temples, by apostates occupied,

Where sin and sodomy are sanctified,

The true religion parody and mock,

Transforming you into a laughing stock,

Since you to this New Order order genuflect,

To cosset the politically-correct.


Beware that once you bless depravity,

Your nation fall into barbarity!


In William’s day, the parliament was true

To God’s commands, the opposite of you:

Before an altar, not some lowly board,

The knights in penance laid their sword,

And meditated on the life of Christ,

Whose gentle precepts perfectly sufficed

To serve as model for their noble gests

And raise their courage on their holy quests;

Whilst you, by contrast, every truth deny

Of all He taught, His every law defy;

Never is God upon your wagging tongues,

Never a breath of God expands your lungs;

Your own Prime Minister, his mother’s Creed,

For which many an English saint did bleed,

Rejects, before the world’s dark prince to bend:

As men thus fall, so fallen nations end.

Your empty laws have now become a scourge,

The soul of Britain’s government to purge,

A punishment by God Himself imposed,

Whose throne your infidelity deposed.


How are your “monarchs” crowned, or do you know?

Or from on high, pray tell, or from below?

Their substance is a shadow of what was:

Who “rules but does not govern,” neither does.

Did any raise a sword in England’s name

Upon a field of battle of great fame?

Mere stewards of Britannia’s decor,

These would be butlers in the days of yore,

When England’s orb and sceptre had the weight

Of sovereign dignity and royal state.

Did not their Tudor forbears steal and rob,

Run off with fiefdoms, as their pompous mob

Broke off from all divine authority

By Christ bestowed on Peter’s primacy,

To raise false altars against Holy Church,

Whilst courtiers preened on vile ambition’s perch?


With whom do you take council: Men of state,

Or pseudo-academics full of hate,

Unread in Latin, ignorant of Greek,

Whose English no true gentlemen would speak,

Who, lacking knowledge of philosophy,

Content themselves with pop theosophy?


Please tell, sad vassals of a foreign state,

What holy monuments did you create

Since Pugin rubbed your noses, through his art,

In your own history? In London’s heart

We see today but glass and iron towers

And each, more ugly than the next, now lowers

All Britain to the level of the brute

Whose horrid buildings are the rotten fruit

Of those who have forsaken their own past,

Barbaric wigwams never made to last!

(to be continued)

Joseph Charles MacKenzie is a traditional lyric poet of New Mexico. He is First Place winner of the Scottish International Poetry Competition (Times Literary Supplement, Jan 27, 2017) and a Pushcart Prize nominee. His verses have appeared in The New York Times, The Scotsman (Edinburgh), The Independent (London), US News and World Report, Google News, and many other outlets. He writes for Trinacria (New York) and the Society of Classical Poets (New York).

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