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THE ROYAL TUTOR

©1989 Stuart Vail

 

I am the Royal Tutor, gladly
I instruct the King when badly
He attempts to write a simple royal speech.

He never learned pronunciation
Or the rules of punctuation,
Making English grammar difficult to teach.

In my observation
When he writes a proclamation
Oftentimes his meaning needs a helping hand.

People, in confusion,
Scratch their heads with the delusion
That they're hearing something they can understand.

His participles he would dangle
From a very awkward angle,
Verb inflection is where I put down my foot!

His sentences would usually end with
Prepositions, I contend that
This is something up with which I will not put.

I would rather go to prison
Than commit a solecism,
We must try to rid the language of our flaws.

But in my occupation
I can risk decapitation
By a small correction of the King's faux pas.

With good intentions he destroys
The learned minds of girls and boys
By saying things like "King I am" and "versa vice."

He mixes metaphors and renders useless
Nouns of different genders, fruitless
Is the job of making him word-wise.

I've tried the powers of persuasion
To impress on him the ways in
Which to speak correctly and without a flaw.

Then he invents a proclamation
Ruling out all punctuation
Making periods and such against the law.

Now, questions, exclamations,
And those simple declarations
Run together in a crazy mixed-up mess.

And his subjects, in confusion,
Scratch their heads with the delusion
That they're hearing something that makes total sense.

 

N.B. "The Royal Tutor" was originally written and set to music for the Imagination Unlimited production of the play "The Punctuation Proclamation." The part of the Tutor was played by Erica Flores of Los Angeles.

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