Corrections to the blogosphere, the consensus, and the world

Monday, April 14, 2014

Commonplace Songbook

Lord Elderly, Lord Borrowmere,
Lord Sickert and Lord Camp.
With every virtue, every grace,
Ah, what avails the sceptred race.

Here you see the four of us,
And there are so many more of us-
Eldest sons
That must succeed.
We know how Caesar conquered Gaul,
And how to whack a cricket ball;
Apart from this, our education
Lacks co-ordination.
Though we're young,
And tentative,
And rather rip-representative
Scions of a noble breed,
We are the products of those homes,
Serene and stately,
That only lately,
Seem to have run to seed.

The stately homes of England
How beautiful they stand,
To prove the upper classes
Have still the upper hand.
Though the fact that they have to be rebuilt,
And frequently mortgaged to the hilt
Is inclined to take the gilt
Off the gingerbread,
And certainly damps the fun
Of the eldest son-
But still, we won't be beaten,
We'll scrimp and scrape and save.
The playing fields of Eton
Have made us frightfully brave.
And though if the Van Dycks have to go
And we pawn the Bechstein Grand,
We'll stand
By the stately homes of England.

Here you see
The pick of us.
You may be heartily sick of us.
Still, with sense
We're all imbued.
Our homes command extensive views,
And with assistance from the Jews,
We have been able to dispose of
Rows and rows and rows of
Gainsboroughs and Lawrences,
Some sporting prints of Aunt Florence's,
Some of which were rather rude.
Although we sometimes flaunt our family conventions,
Our good intentions
Mustn't be misconstrued.
The stately homes of England,
We proudly represent.
We only keep them up
For Americans to rent.
Though the pipes that supply the bathroom burst,
And the lavatory makes you fear the worst,
It was used by Charles I
(Quite informally),
And later by George IV,
On a journey north.
The state departments keep their
Historical renown.
It's wiser not to sleep there,
In case they tumble down.
But still, if they ever catch on fire,
Which, with any luck, they might,
We'll fight
For the stately homes of England.

The stately homes of England,
Though rather in the lurch,
Provide a lot of chances
For psychical research.
There's the ghost of a crazy younger son,
Who murdered in 1351
An extremely rowdy nun,
Who resented it,
And people who come to call
Meet her in the hall.
The baby in the guest wing
Who crouches by the grate,
Was walled up in the west wing,
In 1428.
If anyone spots
The Queen of Scots
In a hand-embroidered shroud,
We're proud
Of the stately homes of England.

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