The Special Category

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'Don't Let's Be Beastly To The Germans' - Noel Coward

We must be kind, and with an open mind
We must endeavour to find a way
To let the Germans know that when the war is over
They are not the ones who'll have to pay.
We must be sweet, and tactful and discreet
And when they've suffered defeat
We mustn't let them feel upset
Or ever get the feeling that we're cross with them or hate them,
Our future policy must be to reinstate them.

Don't let's be beastly to the Germans
When our victory is ultimately won,
It was just those nasty Nazis who persuaded them to fight
And their Beethoven and Bach are really far worse than their bite
Let's be meek to them, and turn the other cheek to them
And try to bring out their latent sense of fun.
Let's give them full air parity
And treat the rats with charity,
But don't let's be beastly to the Hun.

We must be just, and win their love and trust
And in addition we must be wise
And ask the conquered lands to join our hands to aid them.
That would be a wonderful surprise.
For many years they've been in floods of tears
Because the poor little dears
Have been so wronged and only longed
To cheat the world, deplete the world
And beat the world to blazes.
This is the moment when we ought to sing their praises.

Don't let's be beastly to the Germans
When we've definitely got them on the run
Let us treat them very kindly as we would a valued friend
We might send them out some bishops as a form of lease and lend,
Let's be sweet to them, and day by day repeat to them
That 'sterilization' simply isn't done.
Let's help the dirty swine again
To occupy the Rhine again,
But don't let's be beastly to the Hun.

Don't let's be beastly to the Germans
When the age of peace and plenty has begun.
We must send them steel and oil and coal and everything they need
For their peaceable intentions can be always guaranteed.
Let's employ with them a sort of 'strength through joy' with them,
They're better than us at honest manly fun.
Let's let them feel they're swell again,
And bomb us all to hell again,
But don't let's be beastly to the Hun.

Don't let's be beastly to the Germans
For you can't deprive a gangster of his gun
Though they've been a little naughty,
To the Czechs and Poles and Dutch,
But I don't suppose those countries really minded very much.
Let's be free with them and share the BBC with them,
We mustn't prevent them basking in the sun.
Let's soften their defeat again,
And build their bloody fleet again,
But don't let's be beastly to the Hun.

'Don't Let's Be Beastly To The Irish

Aw, sweet bejasus! Let's have dat wee toast to the Irish, to be sure!
Let's not stereotype them (at all at all!) - no dumb jokes anymore.
They went and emigrated far and wide, they traversed every sea
('Though now don't thousands of them seem in Kilburn High Road pubs to be?)

Let's we not be nasty to them...well, it's not as if they're black!
Thin Lizzy's Phil Lynott? HE might have been. Be nice to them, just for the craic!
There's Guinness, blessed with the water out of the Dublin Liffey river,
Then, three sheets to the wind, George Best...the latest wasted transplanted liver.

The bodhran, the penny-whistle, Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams,
The theme-pub, Murphy's Stout, 'Bewitched' (the tuneless little madams!)
Then there's that show 'Riverdance', with umpteen dancing feet down stamping.
The Chieftains, and Boyzone, and the effete Graham Norton, camping.

Bono (the twat) pontificating...many other blatant dead-end bores,
The blarney stone, little leprechauns, fiddley-diddley tunes, The Corrs.
Val Doonican (who had that decent wee tune 'Forty Shades Of Green'),
Then twenty shades of blue - the pretty foul mouth of Roy Keane.

Utter sentimental twaddle: Chris de Burgh twee ballads emoting,
Terry Wogan tut-tut-tutting about bent Eurovision voting.
What a wealth of literature they gave! (Between Behan, Wilde, Heaney, Shaw...)
They gave us music legend Van Morrison ('Them')...and Christy Moore.

Westlife, and The Undertones, the endless other talented bands,
The hotheaded Reverend Paisley, the Maze prison, Bobby Sands.
The potato famine, the smiling eyes...Dave Allen (now, he *was* funny!)
The tatty Boomtown Rat, Bob Geldof ("Just give us yer effin' money!")

That Newtownards motormouth Edmund Irvine, Clannad, mutton (stewed).
Bushmills, Father Ted, St Patrick, nationalist attitude.
The punt, the wolfhound mutt, Ma Kelly, hurling, tweed, shillelaghs,
Pierce Brosnan, Bloody Sunday, Stormont, Sinead O'Connor, Baileys.

They brought us Theobald Wolfe Tone, the DUP, The Pogues,
The UDF, the UDA...other wanted absolute rogues.
The esteemed Charles Haughey, the wholesome Mary McAleese,
Bullet battles, unattended bombs, Ulster stalemate, settlements...peace?

But let's have a wee word of thanks...ta to 'The Provos' (The IRA)
- Well, that flattened Brighton hotel needed total refurbishment anyway!
Let's we not be nasty to the Paddies - that rugby team, they won't be beat!
The little green men in a nutshell? Now, are they really not quite sweet?


ACT V. Scene I.
Elsinore. A churchyard.

Enter two Clowns, [with spades and pickaxes].


Is she to be buried in Christian burial when she wilfully seeks her own salvation?


I tell thee she is; therefore make her grave straight.
The crowner hath sate on her, and finds it Christian burial.


How can that be, unless she drown'd herself in her own defence?


Why, 'tis found so.


It must be se offendendo; it cannot be else. For here lies the point: if I drown myself wittingly, it argues an act; and an act hath three branches-it is to act, to do, and to perform; argal, she drown'd herself wittingly.


Nay, but hear you, Goodman Delver!


Give me leave. Here lies the water; good. Here stands the man; good. If the man go to this water and drown himself, it is, will he nill he, he goes- mark you that. But if the water come to him and drown him, he drowns not himself. Argal, he that is not guilty of his own death shortens not his own life.


But is this law?


Ay, marry, is't- crowner's quest law.


Will you ha' the truth an't? If this had not been a gentlewoman, she should have been buried out o' Christian burial.


Why, there thou say'st! And the more pity that great folk should have count'nance in this world to drown or hang themselves more than their even-Christen. Come, my spade! There is no ancient gentlemen but gard'ners, ditchers, and grave-makers. They hold up Adam's profession.


Was he a gentleman?


'A was the first that ever bore arms.


Why, he had none.


What, art a heathen? How dost thou understand the Scripture? The Scripture says Adam digg'd. Could he dig without arms? I'll put another question to thee. If thou answerest me not to the purpose, confess thyself-


Go to!


What is he that builds stronger than either the mason, the shipwright, or the carpenter?


The gallows-maker; for that frame outlives a thousand tenants.


I like thy wit well, in good faith. The gallows does well. But how does it well? It does well to those that do ill. Now, thou dost ill to say the gallows is built stronger than the church. Argal, the gallows may do well to thee. To't again, come!


Who builds stronger than a mason, a shipwright, or a carpenter?


Ay, tell me that, and unyoke.


Marry, now I can tell!




Mass, I cannot tell.

Enter Hamlet and Horatio afar off.


Cudgel thy brains no more about it, for your dull ass will not mend his pace with beating; and when you are ask'd this question next, say 'a grave-maker.' The houses he makes lasts till doomsday. Go, get thee to Yaughan; fetch me a stoup of liquor.

[Exit Second Clown.]

[Clown digs and] sings.


In youth when I did love, did love,
Methought it was very sweet;
To contract- O- the time for- a- my behove,
O, methought there- a- was nothing- a- meet.



Has this fellow no feeling of his business, that he sings at grave-making?


Custom hath made it in him a Property of easiness.


'Tis e'en so. The hand of little employment hath the daintier sense.


Clown. (sings)

But age with his stealing steps
Hath clawed me in his clutch,
And hath shipped me intil the land,
As if I had never been such.

Genesis of the Theatre
(King William Version)

In the beginning Mount Olympus hatched the actors and the theatre.

But the theatre was without much humour, and monotonous,
with Greek Choruses answering on the wings of the Athens stage.
After a time, a Bard appeared over the grim footlights.

And Will said, Let there be mirth, and there was mirth.

And Will saw that mirth was fit and well;
so he split the whole canon into the mirth and the sadness.

And Will called the mirth Comedy, and the other heavy thoughts
he labelled Tragedy. And the entrances and the exits were the First Act.

And Will said, But let there be some thoughtful quiet
in the centre of the noisy action, and let it cleave
the prior acts from the latter ones.

So Will's curious innovation grew in the theatre;
and lo, he saw that it was worthwhile.

And he called his phenomenon The Interval.
And the entrances and the exits were the Second Act.

And Will said: Let the folk be put together in one holy place,
with rows of low cushions to lounge on as the action is shown: and it was so.

And The Bard dubbed his summer place The Globe, and the
subsequent grouping of paying humans he wittily called The Critics:
and lo, it was most worthwhile.

And Will spoke: Let all young folk who are gay come forth to act on the stage,
to sew the gowns and costumes, and to work with cosmetics: and it was so.

And the gay folk came forth to act on the stage, to sew the gowns and costumes,
and to work with cosmetics: and lo, their agents saw that it was worthwhile.

And the prologues and the epilogues were the Third Act.

And Will said, Let all the theatres in the city be of two sorts,
according to the chosen will of the people; and let these be shrines
to their mythology, misogyny, matrimony, and melancholy,

And the vanquishing of man's shortcomings
through the power of visible art: and lo, it was so.

Thus The Bard wrought two places for the usually humorous shows:
The West End for the unsavoury tourist, and The Fringe
for savvy men and women with high thoughts.
And, anachronistically, he made The Telly also.

And the Bard established them there, along with the occasional comic book,
for the fascination of old philosophers and the interior entertainment of the soul;

To own the world, and rule over the unwashed masses
who prefer whiskey over Hamlet: and lo, he saw that it was worthwhile.

And the comings and the goings were the Fourth Act.
Hence the works of Will Shakespeare begat all manner of unique visions:
the plays of famous authors such as Beaumont, Fletcher, Congreve, Wycherley,
Marlowe, Mortimer, Shirley, Galsworthy, and the notorious Anonymous;
variations which ultimately lead to numerous harsher things, such as:

The horrible British University Varsity Revue,
a film heroine called Hermione Granger,
the laboured modernism of Stephen Fry,
and the nearly inharmonic music of Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Pondering this, The Bard saith: Right, that's enough.
That last one is overly shrill, inherently senseless, and a right wanker.
Forsooth, it is no longer worthwhile!

There is no Fifth Act. Exeunt omnes.


[Each line of this poem is an anagram of "Shark-Infested Waters"]

Shark-Infested Waters

There was feast, drinks,
steak, friends, wreaths.
When started, safe. Risk
was after these drinks.

Shark-infested waters,
where dates first sank.
Fish wanted streakers --
sweet, dark, tan fishers.

Fast, wide sharks enter.
Kristen F. was there, sad,
at desk. Her sister, Fawn,
saw three stark fiends.

She saw drifters taken.
Warn these daft skiers:
"Fear wettish darkness."
Eek! A shrewd fin starts!

A swift, resented shark
strikes raw hands, feet,
eats fresh naked wrist,
hits knees afterwards.

Distress! Waken Father!
She knew raft disaster.
Witnesses heard: "Farkt!"
Few aid; the rank stress.

Freak death stirs news:
"Wet rafter's head sinks."
Wise sharks end fatter,
were fed artist's shank.

Safest waders rethink
shark-infested waters.
A few risks; threat ends.
Winter defeats sharks.


[Psalm #46 contains some amazing coincidences:
The 46th word counting forward from the beginning is "shake".

The 46th word counting backward from the end (omitting the final "Selah") is "spear".
In 1611, the year in which the King James Version was first printed, Shakespeare was 46 years old.

The following verse level anagram reveals yet another Shakespeare/46 connection. Can you spot it?]

  1. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. =
    Ever the friend in struggles, turn to a generous Lord, be happy.

  2. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; =
    Refrains which the downbeat righteous often emitted, Heaven heareth, though all of it seemed abhorrent utter doom;

  3. Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. =
    Although the sea fountain foameth berserk with rage, and the blue surge to the shore throweth down the hills.

  4. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. =
    Emerging as from cool heights, a creek of faith that heals floweth by the Lord's sacred home, that verily pleaseth thee.

  1. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. =
    Perish the darned theory men hold that the Lord has moods; he shall be giving all gifts.
  2. The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. =
    Sheikdoms thundered, however Heaven targeteth the heretic; I am God, delete them!

  3. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. =
    Elect of Judah, we boast God's our hero; He fights for us, this soil.

  4. Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth. =
    Koranic bloodletter death wish? Ha! He endeth the sad home of the loath worms.

  5. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. =
    Arms He shattered in wrath; hated nukes He chaineth; the wicked heathen brute bent on torture, He thrasheth to the benefit of our peace;

  6. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. =
    Halt talk, ban the heated debate, end herewith the imagining. Lo, I exist; all will bow and extol me.

  7. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. =
    Safe is our House; O behold, it's clear how God fights for the just.


November Graveyard

The scene stands stubborn: skinflint trees
Hoard last leaves, won't mourn, wear sackcloth, or turn
To elegiac dryads, and dour grass
Guards the heard-hearted emerald of its grassiness
However the grandiloquent mind may scorn
Such poverty. So no dead men's voices

Flower forget-me-nots between the stones
Paving this grave ground. Here's honest rot
To unpick the elaborate heart, pare bone
Free of the fictive vein. When one stark skeleton
Bulks real, all saint's tongues fall quiet:
Flies watch no resurrections in the sun.

At the essential landscape stare, stare
Till your eyes foist a vision dazzling on the wind:
Whatever lost ghosts flare,
Damned, howling in their shrouds across the moor
Rave on the leash of the starving mind
Which peoples the bare room, the blank, untenanted air.

December Shrine

The dark falls floridly: colors
Dazzle vision, streak over granite boulders, or stand
Over iron angels, while an unseen grayness
Moves and turns through a spotless stellar space,
Where the metaphysical soul might
Squander better revelation. Another year's

Worthless harvest stands over him.
Those blue waves, by the orange and fuchsia
Patchwork of leaves, should have known better.
These eccentric stones,
Worth less than the earth, stand in the forest -
Divine language of a lost otherworld.

At the outermost fringe of mundane vision, see
The dreaming skull, see the fading apparition:
The rotten queen, in tarnished modes, maundering
Among the wastes, entirely sacrosanct, drowsed stoneward,
Forever drinking to the point of blackness,
Obstinate voice of that burning carrousel.


First morning of Spring
Wildflowers speckle the meadow
Nature's confetti.

First Winter morning
Swirling flakes, cold feet, no dew
Ma's hot soup. Perfect!