Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > British
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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vols. VI–IX: British
 
Idées Napoléoniennes
By William Edmondstoune Aytoun (1813–1865)
 
COME, listen all who wish to learn
  How nations should be ruled,
From one who from his youth has been
  In suchlike matters school’d;
From one who knows the art to please,        5
  Improve, and govern men—
Eh bien! écoutez aux Idées
  Napoléoniennes!
 
To keep the mind intently fixed
  On number One alone;        10
To look to no one’s interest,
  But push along your own,
Without the slightest reference
  To how, or what, or when—
Eh bien! c’est la première Idée        15
  Napoléonienne.
 
To make a friend, and use him well,
  By which, of course, I mean
To use him up until he’s drain’d
  Completely dry and clean        20
Of all that makes him useful, and
  To kick him over then
Without remorse—c’est une Idée
  Napoléonienne.
 
To sneak into a good man’s house        25
  With sham credentials penn’d;
To sneak into his heart and trust,
  And seem his children’s friend;
To learn his secrets, find out where
  He keeps his keys, and then        30
To bone his spoons—c’est une Idée
  Napoléonienne.
 
To gain your point in view; to wade
  Through dirt, and slime, and blood;
To stoop to pick up what you want        35
  Through any depth of mud;
But always in the fire to thrust
  Some helpless cat’s-paw, when
Your chestnuts burn—c’est une Idée
  Napoléonienne.        40
 
To clutch and keep the lion’s share;
  To kill or drive away
The wolves, that you upon the lambs
  May, unmolested, prey;
To keep a gang of jackals fierce        45
  To guard and stock your den,
While you lie down—c’est une Idée
  Napoléonienne.
 
To bribe the base; to crush the good,
  And bring them to their knees;        50
To stick at nothing, or to stick
  At what or whom you please;
To stoop; to lie; to brag; to swear;
  Forswear, and swear again;
To rise—Ah! voilà, des Idée        55
  Napoléonienne.
 
 
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