Was it on the wheel that they broke you down,
Arched back to the limit of endurance?
Or before a court of fearful renown,
The enforcers of faithful observance?
Was it hunger’s anvil that bent your mind,
Or the cold desolation of a cell?
Or did a caustic shame dissolve your pride,
Before their harness slipped over your will?
Are there ennobling torments you can plead,
That will acquit such mean indiscretions?
Martyrs make errors, but suffer and bleed.
Your few setbacks rate hardly a mention.
What could induce you to take up their cause,
To enlist in their ranks as a soldier?
Unrestrained by the emoluments clause,
Have you grown venal as you’ve grown older?
The allurements of power wane and dim,
In a provincial principality.
Did the capital’s luster draw you in,
With its pageant of prodigality?
Unending struggle is not a lost cause,
Though it may deprive you of the conceit,
Of heroism on the Field of Mars,
Chasing your enemies in their retreat.
But your lot, as you see it, is to lead.
And the prospects at home are too modest,
To offer you the platform that you need,
To be loved by a larger audience.
Were we just a plateau for your ascent,
To your ambition’s cloud-covered summit?
Faceless footholds you were bound to forget,
While pursuing the name that you covet?
Why did you salt the wound, and place a call,
To a tabloid, accusing your parents,
Of fanciful crimes, intended to gall,
Your rich backers, and loyal adherents?
You severed your ties at home and moved on,
But, with pestilent intent, this is worse:
You crossed the river to move against home,
Against blood, who had given you their trust.
The list of those who’ve done so is not long,
A roster of ignominy and shame.
Have no illusions about what you’ve wrought,
Your acts are in every way the same.
What changed you brother, to break with the laws,
For an empire of despots and killers?
To caper onstage for easy applause,
And for your thirty pieces of silver?