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The Policeman's Story

Time, 1 - May 1879


Illustration by Gilbert

Some time ago I met a Duke as tipsy as could be;
And when I urged him home to go, he rounded onto me;
He hit me in the eye, which caused considerable pain;
He knocked me down, and picked me up, and knocked me down again.
  So I took him into custody, and knew no fear;
For there's but one law for the peasant and the peer.

The magistrate he says, "To such assaults I do assign
A month's imprisonment, without the option of a fine.
A man of education too! What is his name, I pray?"
And I says, "So please your worship, it's the noble DUKE OF A."
  And I didn't care a rap; for it seems quite clear
That there's but one law for the peasant and the peer.

The worthy beak he hummed and hawed, and looked extremely blank,
And said, "I didn't know you were a gentleman of rank.
To see you standing in the dock gives me a moral wrench;
Pray take your scat with me upon the magisterial bench.
  You'll see more plainly, if you'll step up here,
That there's but one law for the peasant and the peer."

My evidence I gave in my uneducated way.
The beak remarks, "Your grace has heard this poor policeman's say;
I needn't say how kind 'twould be, if you should think it right,
On his Boeotian words to throw a little ducal light.
  You'll pardon me, I'm sure; when I sit up here,
I've but one law for the peasant and the peer."

Illustration by Gilbert

The Duke he up and says, says he, "I haven't any doubt
I most unmercifully banged that officer about.
I had been dining very free on port and sherry-wine,
And richly I deserve to suffer in a heavy fine;
  And I beg to say I rejoice to hear
That there's but one law for the peasant and the peer."

The beak replies, "I'll measure even justice to your grace.
I hold the magistrate who would deal hardly with a case
Because the prisoner's a Duke would not be worth his salt.
That you're the DUKE OF A. is your misfortune-not your fault.
  And I don't see why I should be severe
Because you're not a peasant, but a first-class peer
.
"Your grace's noble conduct in consenting to a fine
Reflects the brightest lustre on your proud ancestral line.
The two assaults at less than half-a-crown I cannot fix;
The summons is two shillings — and the total's one and six.
  And I trust your grace won't think it dear —
There's but one law for the peasant and the peer."

And the Duke did wed the daughter of that beak — a girl of charms.
And, on the strength of it, the beak did buy a coat-of-arms;
And as he had to choose a crest, the whole affair to clench,
It was a Flunkey Rampant on a Magisterial Bench,
  With the pregnant motto, on a scroll, "Up here
There is but one law for the peasant and the peer."

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