One-time dean of McGill Law school (1961-1964) and renowned Canadian constitutional lawyer Frank Reginald Scott (1899-1985) was known to dabble in poetry in his spare time. A well-known socialist, Scott (pictured below), was a co-founder of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), the precursor to the New Democratic Party.

One case he was involved in for many years was defending the rights of the publishers of Lady Chatterley Lover, written by D. H. Lawrence in 1928, and which contains explicit descriptions of sexual intimacy between characters.

When the publication was made available in Canada, it was promptly seized by the government as obscene pursuant to the criminal code. Although Scott lost his case in all the lower courts, he was finally vindicated by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1962.

I went to bat for the Lady Chatte
Dressed in my bib and gown
The judges three glared down at me
The priests patrolled the town

My right hand shook as I reached for that book
And rose to play my part
For out on the street were the marching feet
Of the League of the Sacred Heart

Frank ScottThe word obscene was supposed to mean
Undue exploitation of sex
This wording’s fine for your needs and mine
But it’s far too free for Québec’s

I tried my best, with unusual zest
To drive my argument through
But I soon got stuck on what rhymes with “muck”
And that dubious word “undue”

So I raise their sights to the Bill of Rights
And cried “Let freedom ring!”
Showed straight from the text that freedom of sex
Was as clear as anything

Then I plunged into love, the spell that it wove
And its attributes big and bold
Till the legal elect all stood erect
As my rapturous tale was told

The judge's sighs and rolling of eyes
Gave hope that my case was won
Yet Mellor and Connie still looked pretty funny
Dancing about in the sun

What hurt me not that they did it a lot
And even ran out in the rain
‘Twas those curious poses with harebells and roses
And that dangling daisy-chain

Then too the sales made in the paperback trade
Served to aggravate judicial spleen
For it seems a high price will make any book nice
While it’s mass distribution’s obscene

Oh Letters and Law are found in the raw
And found on the heights sublime
But D.H. Lawrence would view with abhorrence
This Jansenist pantomime

REFERENCES: