Trying to find comfort in an old poetry book for today as the decision about the EU is overwhelming the population and the media, I came across this by John Dryden. It is so apt and pertinent for today that I had to share it.
Vox Populi – John Dryden
He preaches to the crowd that power is lent,
But not conveyed, to kingly government;
That claims successive bear no bindings force;
That Coronation oaths are things of course;
Maintains the multitude can never err,
And sets the people in the papal chair.
The reason’s obvious: interest never lies;
The most have still the interest in their eyes;
The power is always theirs, and power is ever wise.
Almighty Crowd, thou shortenest all dispute;
Power is thy essence, Wit thy attribute!
Nor faith nor reason make thee at a stay,
Thou leapest o’er all eternal truths in thy Pindaric way!
Athens, no doubt, did righteously decide,
When Phocion and Socrates were tried:
As righteously they did those dooms repent;
Still they were wise, whatever way they went.
Crowds err not, though to both extremes they run;
To kill the father, and recall the Son.
Some think the fools were most as times went then,
But now the world’s o’er-stocked with prudent men.
The common cry is even religion’s test;
The Turk’s is, at Constantinople, best;
Idols in India, Popery at Rome;
And our own worship only true at home.
And true but for the time; tis hard to know
How long we please it shall continue so.
This side today, and that tomorrow burns;
So all are God-a’mighties in their turns.
A tempting doctrine, plausible and new;
What fools our fathers were, if this be true!
This was written in the 17th century – so apt for today.
Very best wishes – Denny Bradbury