England Expects: Ogden Nash


Let us pause to consider the English,
Who when they pause to consider themselves they get all reticently thrilled and tinglish.
Englishmen are distinguished by their traditions and ceremonials,
And also by their affection for their colonies and their condescension to their colonials.
When foreigners ponder world affairs, why sometimes by doubts they are smitten,
But Englishmen know instinctively that what the world needs most is whatever is best for Great Britain.
English people disclaim sparkle and verve,
But speak without reservations of their Anglo-Saxon reserve.
After listening to little groups of English ladies and gentlemen at cocktail parties and in hotels and Pullmans, of defining Anglo-Saxon reserve I despair,
But I think it consists of assuming that nobody else is there.
All good young Englishmen go to Oxford or Cambridge and they all write and publish books before their graduation,
And I often wondered how they did it until I realised that they have to do it because their genteel accents are so developed that they can no longer understand each other’s spoken words so the written word is their only means of intercommunication.
England is the last home of the aristocracy, and the art of protecting the aristocracy from the encroachments of commerce has been raised to quite an art, Because in America a rich butter-and-egg man is only a rich butter-and-egg man or at most an honorary LL.D of some hungry university, but in England why before he knows it he is Sir Benjamin Buttery, Bart.
Anyhow, I think the English people are sweet,
And we might as well get used to them because when they slip and fall they always land on their own or somebody else’s feet.

Ogden Nash

The illustration is copyright: Eric Isselee via Shutterstock

About layanglicana

Author of books on Calcutta, Delhi and Dar es Salaam, I am now blogging as a lay person about the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. I am also blogging about the effects of World War One on the village of St Mary Bourne, Hampshire.
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