Saturday Morning Poetry
by J. Kb
I was tempted to post the last stanza of this as a comment to Miguel’s Under Armour post, but decided it would be better served as a post of its own.
For historical context, Danegeld, which means Danish Tax or Danish Gold, was a “tribute” that was paid by locals to Viking (Dane) raiders to keep the Vikings away. It was protection money.
Vikings fought every viciously, which was part of their reputation. Rape and slaughter one town, let the few survivors spread the word of just how terrible the Vikings were. When the Vikings showed up at a nearby town a little while later, they would demand tribute or they would repeat the rape a slaughter. Most villages would pay tribute and the Vikings would go away. The Vikings operated a very effective protection racket across Scandinavia, The British Isles, Ireland, and the coastal countries of Northern Europe for several hundred years with this tactic.
Rudyard Kipling, who is by far my favorite classical English poet, wrote a poem about the Danegeld, as a warning. I have committed it to memory, it is not long.
As a warning it is every bit as appropriate today as it has ever been.
It is always a temptation to an armed and agile nation To call upon a neighbour and to say: -- "We invaded you last night--we are quite prepared to fight, Unless you pay us cash to go away." And that is called asking for Dane-geld, And the people who ask it explain That you've only to pay 'em the Dane-geld And then you'll get rid of the Dane! It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation, To puff and look important and to say: -- "Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you. We will therefore pay you cash to go away." And that is called paying the Dane-geld; But we've proved it again and again, That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld You never get rid of the Dane. It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation, For fear they should succumb and go astray; So when you are requested to pay up or be molested, You will find it better policy to say: -- "We never pay any-one Dane-geld, No matter how trifling the cost; For the end of that game is oppression and shame, And the nation that pays it is lost!"
October 24, 2016
October 23, 2016
October 23, 2016