Velvet Underground once sang a song about Lady Godiva, a female figure that went down in history for refusing to pay taxes.
Even though her name is mostly known from the Belgian chocolate brand, Godiva was actually the wife of the Earl of Mercia, Leofric. And if it was one thing about her husband that she couldn’t stand, it was the tremendous taxation he imposed on his subjects.
Legend has it that Godiva begged Leofric to reduce the tithe and he, in turn, promised that he would do it, only if she would ride around the town naked on a horse.
And so she did, after she ordered the people of the city to close their eyes of course.
That’s what the legend says anyway. In reality every single historian you ask, will explain to you that Leofric and Godiva actually crushed the common folk through fierce taxation and offered the money to monasteries.
The people were hungry and their prince not only refrained from taxing the property of the church but also engaged on a constant effort of wealth redistribution that favored only the few and the rich of that era.
As for Velvet Underground, for some reason they decided to end the song with a description of a surgical procedure.
Lady Godiva here dressed so demurely Pats the head of another curly haired boy, just another toy Sick with silence she weeps sincerely Saying word that have oh so clearly been said So long ago Draperies wrapped gently ’round her shoulder Life has made her that much bolder now That she’s found out how Dressed in silk, Latin lace and envy Pride and joy of the latest penny faire Pretty passing care Hair today now dipped in the water Making love to every poor daughter’s son Isn’t it fun Now today propping grace with envy Lady Godiva peers to see if anyone’s there And hasn’t a care Doctor is coming the nurse thinks sweetly Turning on the machines that neatly pump air The body lies bare Shaved and hairless what once was screaming Now lies silent and almost sleeping The brain must have gone away Strapped securely to the white table Ether caused the body to wither and writhe Underneath the white light Doctor arrives with knife and baggage Sees the growth as just so much cabbage That now Must be cut away Now come the moment of Great! Great! Decision! The doctor is making his first incision One goes here – one goes there The ether tube’s leaking says someone who’s sloppy The patient it seems is not so well sleeping The screams echo up the hall Don’t panic someone give him pentathol instantly Doctor removes his blade Cagily slow from the brain By my count of ten The head won’t move