A Rhyming History of Britain

James Muirden

Read April 2004

James Muirden's imagination
Sets out the story of his nation.
In charming couplets that mostly rhyme,
He tells a tale from hoary time
To the triumph of 66---
Won, some think, by dubious kicks---
With the sun setting on the Empire,
Auspicious for the prose to expire.

The cartoons shower much levity
To events that reduce lives to brevity:
By invading hordes, public hangings,
The stuff of historical meanderings.
But there is much happiness too,
'specially when Britain rules the roost---
From India to the American Plain,
Or singeing the beard of the King of Spain.

Some events don't fit his lit device,
And often he must resort to advice
The reader more honestly of the truth
In marginal notes, properly couth---
Rendered in a lovely scriptic font
That keeps facts perky in this jaunt.

Fun aside, the book may challenge
Those who don't know Lord's from Stonehenge.
A little bit of prior knowledge
Acquired from TV (if not from college)
Goes some way to elucidating events,
Especially when the going gets tense---
When Cromwell becomes Protector,
Or France's "Boney" declares war.

Muirden may lack the deadly candor,
And rapier wit of Walter Landor;
But his scope is broader and focus keen,
And the cadence better once you glean
That the British pronounce Prunella
To rhyme with caustic ammonia-r.