Thursday, June 02, 2016


It Cannot Be Denied

James Kenneth Stephen (1859-1892), "England and America. I. On a Rhine Steamer," Lapsus Calami and Other Verses (Cambridge: Bowes and Bowes, 1909), pp. 83-84:
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.

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