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STATELY HOMES OF ENGLAND Noel Coward Lord Elder, Lord Borrowmere, Lord Sickert and Lord Camp With ev'ry virtue, with ev'ry grace, Are 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 conquer'd Gaul And how to whack a cricket ball, Apart from this, our education Lacks coordination. Tho' we're young and rather tentative We're rip-re-presentative, Scions of a noble breed, We are the products of those homes serene and stately Which only lately seems to have run to seed! The stately homes of England how beautiful they stand, To prove the upper classes have still the upper hand; Tho' the fact they have to be rebuilt And frequently mortgag'd to the hilt Is inclin'd 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 screw and save, The playing fields of Eton have made us frightfully brave And tho' if the Van Dykes have to go And we pawn the Bechstein grand We'll stand by the stately homes of England Have you seen 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 Florences Some of which we rather rude Altho' 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. Tho' the pipes that supply the bathroom burst And the lavat'ry makes you fear the worst It was used by Charles the first (quite informally), And later by George the fourth on a journey north, The state apartments keep their historical reknown, 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 tho' rather in the lurch, Provide a lot of chances for psychical research There's a ghost of a crazy younger son, Who murder'd in thirteen fifty one, 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 wall'd up in the west wing in fourteen twenty eight. If anyone spots the Queen of Scots in a hand embroider'd shroud, We're proud of the stately homes of England.


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