England and America

Original Text: 
J. K. Stephen, Lapsus Calami, new edn. (Cambridge: Macmillan and Bowes, 1891), pp. 59-62. PR 5473 S4L3 1891 Robarts Library.
1Republic of the West,
2  Enlightened, free, sublime,
3Unquestionably best
4  Production of our time.
5The telephone is thine,
8  Intense electric star.
9To thee we likewise owe
10  The venerable names
13In short it's due to thee,
14  Thou kind of Western star,
15That we have come to be
16  Precisely what we are.
17But every now and then,
18  It cannot be denied,
19You breed a kind of men
20  Who are not dignified,
21Or courteous or refined,
22  Benevolent or wise,
23Or gifted with a mind
24  Beyond the common size,
25Or notable for tact,
26  Agreeable to me,
27Or anything, in fact,
28  That people ought to be.
1Britannia rules the waves,
2  As I have heard her say;
3She frees whatever slaves
4  She meets upon her way.
5A teeming mother she
6  Of Parliaments and Laws;
7Majestic, mighty, free:
8  Devoid of common flaws.
10  His admirable plays:
13Her sturdy common sense
14  Is based on solid grounds:
15By saving numerous pence
16  She spends effective pounds.
17The Saxon and the Celt
18  She equitably rules;
19Her iron rod is felt
20  By countless knaves and fools.
21In fact, mankind at large,
22  Black, yellow, white and red,
23Is given to her in charge,
24  And owns her as a head.
25But every here and there--
26  Deny it if you can--
27She breeds a vacant stare
28  Unworthy of a man:
29A look of dull surprise;
30  A nerveless idle hand:
31An eye which never tries
32  To threaten or command:
33In short, a kind of man,
34  If man indeed he be,
36  As any that we see:
37Unspeakably obtuse,
38  Abominably vain,
39Of very little use,
40  And execrably plain.


6] Pullman car: a luxurious passenger railway car, named after the American George Pullman. Back to Line
7] caucus: a closed meeting of (elected) members of a political party. Back to Line
11] Edgar Allan Poe: US poet and story writer (1809-49). Back to Line
12] Mr. Henry James: US fiction writer, best known later for works such as The Wings of the Dove (1902) and The Ambassadors (1903). Back to Line
9] William Shakespeare (1564-1616). Back to Line
11] Horatio Nelson (1758-1805), admiral and victor over Napoleon. Back to Line
12] Wolseley: Garnet Joseph Wolseley (1833-193), British field marshall. Back to Line
35] ban: censure. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1997.