G.K. Chesterton

Britannia needs no Boulevards,
  No spaces wide and gay:
Her march was through the crooked streets
  Along the narrow way.
Nor looks she where, New York’s seduction,
The Broadway leadeth to destruction.

Britannia needs no Cafés:
  If Coffee needs must be,
Its place should be the Coffee-house
  Where Johnson growled for Tea;
But who can hear that human mountain
Growl for an ice-cream soda-fountain?

She needs no Russian Theatre,
  Where Father strangles Mother,
In scenes where all the characters
  And colours kill each other:
Her boast is freedom had by halves,
And Britons never shall be Slavs.

But if not hers the Dance of Death,
  Great Dostoievsky’s dance,
And if the things most finely French
  Are better done in France—
Might not Americanisation
Be best applied to its own nation?

Ere every shop shall be a store
  And every Trade a Trust . . .
Lo, many men in many lands
  Know when their cause is just.
There will be quite a large attendance
When we Declare our Independence.

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Last modified: 2nd January, 2016
Martin Ward, De Montfort University, Leicester.