Pur Autre Vie

I'm not wrong, I'm just an asshole

Thursday, November 06, 2014


Sarang once wrote, of Hailey Leithauser, "Naturally delighted to find a contemporary poet so precisely to my taste."  That is roughly how I feel about William Cobbett, though he is not a contemporary poet (he was a newspaper editor in 19th-century England).  I discovered the passage below in The Irish Famine:  A Documentary, by Colm Tóibín and Diarmaid Ferriter.  This is Cobbett's reaction to the conditions in Ireland (this is more than a decade before the famine, so it illustrates how bad conditions were even in "normal" times):

"Gentlemen, it is impossible that Ireland can be suffered to remain in its present state!  What!  Vessels laden with provisions ready to sail for England, while those who have raised the provisions are starving on the spot where they raised them!  What!  Landlords living in England, having a 'RIGHT' to drive the King's subjects out of this island, on pain of starvation from hunger and cold!  What!  Call upon England for meal and money to be sent in charity to save the people of Ireland from starving, and make the relieved persons pay rent the same year!  What!  Demand allegiance from a man whom you toss out upon the road, denying that he has any right to demand from any part of the community the means of sustaining life! ...What!  Give to 349,000 of the English people as many representatives in Parliament as you give to the whole Irish nation, and bid the latter be content ..."

The passage gains much from the use of repetition.


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