Unseen, yet seen by everyone
At the levée, one gentleman
Alone kept his hat firmly on
Throughout, a boor before the throne.
May each majority boast one,
Stiff-necked, thrawn, proud, contrarian,
Impossible, a fool, alone,
With his hat firmly, rightly, on.
About this poem
A levée was a peculiar custom, where access was informally granted to the presence of a monarch as they were getting out of bed in the morning. In this case, the figure in question is Archduke Rudolf of Austria, for whom Beethoven wrote his last piano concerto (No. 5, Op. 73, known as the Emperor).