Was Herod Such a Nasty Chap?
Was Herod such a nasty chap;
Not raised well by his mother?
He told his men, “Go kill a child;
Then go and kill another”.
His men ranged far and wide, they say,
In search of little infants
But not to pat their little heads
But remove them in an instant.
They roamed around the countryside
As Herod had so ordered;
Cutting off each little head
Which they with knife and sword did.
The Mums and Dads were cross, of course
And, really, who could blame them?
“You’ve massacred these Innocents
And that is how we’ll name them.”
The Murder of the Innocents
Became the subject matter
In chalk and charcoal; ink and paint;
Especially the latter.
Renaissance painters did a lot
On canvas and on wood.
Let’s face it, nothing’s really bad
That can’t produce some good.
I guess the parents did feel peeved,
But everyone agrees;
Think of the lovely paintings
That hang in galleries.
The Louvre and the Guggenheim,
The National, the Tate
Are full of paintings, every one,
These acts commemorate.
So if you’d like to show your taste
And so impress your friends
The Murder of the Innocents
Does all that it intends.
The subject is an easy one
To recognise, of course,
Unlike portraits of a foreign bloke
Sitting on a horse,
Or battles full of symbolism
In places you’ve not heard of
Or explanations in the catalogue
You don’t understand a word of.
So get you to a gallery
And please do not dismiss
King Herod as a nasty chap
And just remember this:
Sing Yay! For Herod, Yay! again,
Remembering what he’s done
I think he patronised the Arts
In early A.D. 1
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