ENGLAND AND AMERICA - Edmund Spenser Poems


Poems » edmund spenser » england and america


Republic of the West,
  Enlightened, free, sublime,
Unquestionably best
  Production of our time.

The telephone is thine,
  And thine the Pullman Car,
The caucus, the divine
  Intense electric star.

To thee we likewise owe
  The venerable names
Of Edgar Allan Poe,
  And Mr. Henry James.

In short it's due to thee,
  Thou kind of Western star,
That we have come to be
  Precisely what we are.

But every now and then,
  It cannot be denied,
You breed a kind of men
  Who are not dignified,

Or courteous or refined,
  Benevolent or wise,
Or gifted with a mind
  Beyond the common size,

Or notable for tact,
  Agreeable to me,
Or anything, in fact,
  That people ought to be.

Britannia rules the waves,
  As I have heard her say;
She frees whatever slaves
  She meets upon her way.

A teeming mother she
  Of Parliaments and Laws;
Majestic, mighty, free:
  Devoid of common flaws.

For here did Shakspere write
  His admirable plays:
For her did Nelson fight
  And Wolseley win his bays.

Her sturdy common sense
  Is based on solid grounds:
By saving numerous pence
  She spends effective pounds.

The Saxon and the Celt
  She equitably rules;
Her iron rod is felt
  By countless knaves and fools.

In fact, mankind at large,
  Black, yellow, white and red,
Is given to her in charge,
  And owns her as a head.

But every here and there--
  Deny it if you can--
She breeds a vacant stare
  Unworthy of a man:

A look of dull surprise;
  A nerveless idle hand:
An eye which never tries
  To threaten or command:

In short, a kind of man,
  If man indeed he be,
As worthy of our ban
  As any that we see:

Unspeakably obtuse,
  Abominably vain,
Of very little use,
  And execrably plain.