A Transport of Delight: Flanders and Swann

 

Flanders: “Omnibus”, my friend Mr Swann informs me, comes from the Latin, “omnibus”, meaning to or for, by, with, or from everybody – which is a very good description! This song is about a bus, it’s wittily subtitled – (I thought of this) – “A Transport of Delight”.

Both: Some people like a motorbike, some say, “A tram for me!”,
Or for bonny army lorry, they’d lay them down and dee.
Such means of locomotion seem rather dull to us,
Swann: The driver…
Flanders: … and conductor of…
Both: … a London omnibus!

Hold very tight please, ting ting.
Hold very tight please, ting ting.

Flanders: When you are lost in London, and you don’t know where you are,
You’ll hear my voice a-calling, “Move further down the car!”.
Both: And very soon you’ll find yourself inside the terminus,
In a London transport, diesel engine, ninety-seven horsepower omnibus.

Swann: Along the Queen’s great highway, I drive my merry load,
At twenty miles per hour in the middle of the road.
Both: We like to drive in conveys, we’re most gregarious,
The big six-wheeler, scarlet painted, London transport, diesel engine, ninety-seven horsepower omnibus.

Earth has not anything to show more fair,
Flanders: Mind the stairs, please,
Swann: Mind the stairs…
Flanders: Mind the stairs…
Both: Earth has not anything to show more fair,
Swann: Any more fares?
Flanders: Any more fares, any more fares?

Swann: When cabbies try to pass me before they overtakes,
I sticks me flippin’ hand out and I jams on all me brakes.
Flanders: Those jackal taxi drivers can only swear and cuss,
Behind that monarch of the road,
Swann: Observer of the highway code,
Flanders: That big six-wheeler,
Swann: Scarlet painted,
Flanders: London transport,
Swann: Diesel engine,
Both: Ninety-seven horsepower omnibus.

Swann: I stops when I’m requested, although it spoils the ride,
So we can shout,
Flanders: “Get out of it! We’re full right up inside”.

Both: We don’t ask much for wages, we only want fair shares,
So cut down all the stages, and stick up all the fares.
If tickets cost a pound apiece, why should you make a fuss?
Flanders: It’s worth it just to ride inside,
Swann: That thirty-foot long by ten-foot wide,
Flanders: Inside that monarch of the road,
Swann: Observer of the highway code,
Both: The big six-wheeler,
London transport,
Diesel engine,
Ninety-seven horsepower,
Ninety-seven horsepower omnibus!

Flanders: Hold very tight, please!
Swann: (On piano) Ting ting!


There is a delicious tip of the hat to Wordsworth:
William Wordsworth: Upon Westminster Bridge

Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth like a garment wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour valley, rock, or hill;
Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!

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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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