1. Explain how the poem is in fact an example of extended verbal irony.

2. What specific grievances does Dickens level against the Tory or Conservative Party?

3. Why does Dickens forecast that the new Tory regime will be accompanied "in Ireland, [by] sword and brand"?

4. Explain what Dickens means by "This brave old code, like Argus, had a hundred watchful eyes."

5. How might "at more than railroad speed" constitute both a topical and a scientific allusion?

6. Why does Dickens refer to the late eighteenth-century Prime Minister William Pitt?

7. To what period is Dickens referring in "Those were the days for taxes, and for war's infernal din"?

8. How does Dickens connect general illiteracy with tyrannical government?

9. Since this poem was published in a Whig journal, Dickens may be preaching to the converted. What response or reaction is he attempting to provoke in this poem?

10. The last two lines of each stanza constitute a chorus or refrain; explain the slight variations in wording from one stanza to the next.

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Last modified July 28, 2004