The Whipping BoyMature

A poem inspired by King Edward VI who, because of his fragility, could not be beaten when he answered incorrectly in lessons. As a result of this, the palace hired a 'whipping boy', who would be beaten in Edward's stead. This had a profound effect on Edward, which I hope to relay in this poem.

A boy was sat behind his desk,
a pen betwixt his pale hands,
his tutor rambled on and on,
the boy dreamt of other lands.

"Recite the first declension, please,"
The tutor asked in altered tone,
Startled by this swift request,
he found the first declension, gone.

With this revelation, guilt,
he knew what trouble was to come,
the guilt weighed heavy on his heart,
when the little bell was rung. 

Another boy passed through the door,
simply dressed, with hair of red,
the tutor approached him, whip in hand,
the youth, same age as Edward, bled.

A tear ran down our young king's cheek,
hearing the boy as he cried in pain,
and deep within his heart he vowed
that boy would not be whipped again.

Edward listened to every word,
and read his books, even when tired,
he became clever, wise and above all,
when the whipping boy saw the king, he smiled.

The End

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