We kiss the rings
of queens and kings
as jesters laugh
and hangmen sing
as peasants toil in the field
and taxmen sieze nine-tenths their yield
to give the king and queen more jewels…
Please question not,
these are the rules,
for it was written long ago
by God’s own hand,
for all to know.
Be thankful for the tenth you keep
as you safely in the kingdom sleep.
And when the king has want for more,
be honored he sends you to war
to serve your kingdom,
your king and queen!
And if you fight most gallantly
you will get a medal for all to see!
And if you die for your queen and king,
you peasant son may kiss their rings,
then in your memory, toil in the fields
to give the kingdom nine-tenths his yield.
And if he’s lucky he may fight
for his king and queen with all his might,
just like his father and his father before,
nine-tenths is not enough
when the king wants war.
He can serve his kingdom in foreign lands
and should he die,
there’ll be outstretched hands
with royal rings for his orphans to kiss…
cry not, son
for the father you miss.
A brave, brave man
he fought real hard,
this posthumous medal is his reward.
What do you mean, it’s not enough?
It’s a token of their royal love!
The king and queen have served you well
it’s not their fault your father fell.
He died a soldier, an honorable man
helping the kingdom to expand!
Here, look at this jester
and drink this mead
or we’ll punish you
for all to see!
You refuse to toil in the fields,
to give the kingdom
nine-tenths your yield?
Your greed has brought your family shame!
You’re laughing still, like its a game?
You say the king and queen aren’t fair?
How dare you when
their clothes you wear,
fields you toil in,
air you breathe,
fish you eat, from their royal sea!
To your family they have been too kind!
Now kiss their rings
and fall in line!
You have one last chance
to repent your greed,
to laugh at the jester
and drink this mead!
Now I’ll lead you
to the hangman’s tree!
Silence! Silence! All of you!
This treasonous talk is now through!
We’ve summoned the hangman
with his strong hemp rope,
your time is over
there is no hope!
Silence, I said
unless you wish to join
this man condemned for treason,
this greedy son of peasants
who left his field without reason!
What’s this? get your hands off me!
Guards, stop these peasants now!
This is madness, this is chaos!
They have fields that they must plow!
The king is dead?
So too, the queen?
The guards abandoned post?
Please help me, Mr. Hangman
I have always loved you most!