Look over yonder, it does ring true that money cannot buy loyalty,
The last of my guard, turn cloaks and cowards the lot of them.
As famed as the praetorians of old, to a man, have deserted me to hide under rocks.
Or, even worse, throw their lot in with the mob.
A pox on them all; the slander they spread about me now they had a hand in orchestrating, and crimes like theirs will not stay dead forever.
How have I sunk so low, a shimmering beacon to black pit,
From being surrounded by lean and loyal servants to knaves and ne’er do wells.
It was paranoia’s icy tendrils that turned the warmest faces into grotesque masks.
Erstwhile friends sowed the seeds of this discord, foes wearing familiar faces, smiles concealing daggers,
Lickspittles and fair weather friends.
Every one of them now adorn the branches of my pear tree, they swing stiffly in the breeze.
Idiots the lot of them, my dearest friends, for plotting clandestine treachery.
I don’t envisage my name will be remembered,
The statues, all evidence of my rule will be purged.
The false idol I created of myself will be gone, but the vacuum I leave is a far more unwieldy and dangerous beast than they can comprehend.
I can rest easy in the knowledge that this won’t change; my rise to power was a similar affair.
On the back of popular support from the unwashed masses, I was ushered into the corridors of power with a riotous applause.
From the tinderbox of emotion created by this upheaval, one among them will rise to my station.
Fair and just at first but before long the bloodied and glorious revolutionaries will be met with violent oppression.
It does ring true that anyone of them down there can claim to be a mountain of fortitude when met with adversity
But the trappings of power can turn any man into a crook so don’t chastise me for taking my due.
My tenure was long and I regret nothing;
The concubines, catamites. False lords and petty Kings
From the eastern Caliphate to Western Oligarch all paid me homage in equal measures of fear and respect.
With exploits such as these I must make an end that befits a monarch,
No headman’s axe for me, I do not think. Rotting in a cell while a mock jury and slovenly judge decide my fate.
I’ll die in my palace at the foot of my throne, surrounded by hills of silver, emeralds, malachite and all manner of precious stones.
So if they expect me to come to the gates dressed in rags, arms outstretched begging for alms and mercy they are sorely mistaken,
I’ll serve them fire and steel before the end.
And with that my end draws nigh and I am eager to sate the rabble’s desire for blood.
I go now gladly, adorned in princely finery, the like of which the soon to be clamouring hands can only dream of throwing over their own backs.
My marital prowess is in check,
I am only drunk on the stench of battle,
My steel thirsts for claret of the lowliest vintage and I am sure before this is over
I’ll give the bards something to sing about.
Alas, I am ashamed that it won’t be of the strewn corpses around my feet
Or the multiple wounds adorning my body.
But instead of the desecration of my corpse,
Pulled through the streets or fed to the dogs.
I’d go to them jaws joyously as one pound of my flesh would turn the mangiest mongrel into a beast so ferocious it would make Cerberus bashful.
But I have waxed lyrical for far too long
And one could accuse me of delaying my fate,
On the contrary I hope the plebs outside have heard every word
And that my booming tenor has brought their heads low with fear and despair
That they return to their fields with their hoes and scythes and think no more of usurping their betters.
But I am a dreaming as always, and that is always the case.