(Touching his Audience of the King)

My dear Mr. Chamberlain,
Since you last heard from me,
Many curious things have happened,
Both in Birmingham and abroad.
As to the happenings in Birmingham,
Nobody cares tuppence for them.
The happenings abroad, however, are a different matter,
Inasmuch as they have brought you great fame,
And cost us a lot of money.
Your influence in the governance of this great country, my dear Mr. Chamberlain,
Is undoubted.
When you say things,
It is understood that all your fellow-ministers
Sit up and look good.
"We don't like it," they say in their decent hearts;
"But Joseph says it must be so, and be so it must."
To the delicate souls of Arthur James,
And George, and Broddy, and the rest of 'em,
You must, my dear Mr. Chamberlain, be a good deal of a trial,
But, somehow, they have to put up with you,
Even as the honest martyr has to put up with his shirt;
And, for my own part, I rather like to see it:
At any rate, in a sort of way, don't you know.
But, my dear Mr. Chamberlain,
In the daily papers of Monday morning,
What did I read? Why, I read:
"Mr. Chamberlain had an audience of the King
Yesterday afternoon."
And yesterday afternoon was Sunday afternoon.
Now, my dear Joseph, I do not mind in the least
What you do to Arthur James,
Or what you do to George,
Or what you do to Broddy,
Or whether you do it on Sunday afternoons,
Or on any other afternoon.
But I really must draw the line somewhere,
And I wish you to understand
That if you go to see His Majesty the King
On Sunday afternoons
(On the afternoon of the Sabbath, as they would say in Birmingham),
You do so entirely without my approval.
I think it is scandalous, and, not being a politician,
I have no hesitation in saying what I think.
Somehow, while I know you to be a competent man of business,
You never figure in my mind's eye, Joseph,
As the sort of man who ought to have
Personal communication with his Sovereign,
Particularly on Sunday afternoons.
Birmingham men were not born to grace the Court;
And, when it comes to the furnishing of Pleasant Sunday Afternoons for Monarchs,
In my opinion, they are quite out of it.
When business presses,
As it no doubt did press on Sunday, Joseph,
It is your business, as a Birmingham man,
To remember your origin,
And, if you have anything on your mind
Which really must be communicated
To His Gracious Majesty King Edward the Seventh,
To look up the peerage and send round somebody
Who is, as one might say, fit for the job.
There is always Salisbury,
There is always Arthur James,
There is always George,
And there is always Broddy:
These men, my dear Joseph, are gentlemen,
And have known the Court all their lives.
What they do on Sundays I neither know nor care
But I have no doubt that, if you told them to go round and see the King,
They would go hotfoot and see him.
So that you have no excuse, Joseph.
Birmingham will, no doubt, forgive you this once:
As for me, I solemnly swear that I never will.