"British" by W.T. Goodge

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At the quarterly meeting of the council of the Victorian Scottish Union in Melbourne it was stated that Mr. G.H. Reid, having been remonstrated with by the secretary for using in his speeches the words "England" and "English" instead of "Britain" and "British," had replied, " I must plead guilty in some cases, although in many others I used the terms 'Britain' and 'British.'"

The adjective "British" both right and precise is!
   (Its origin may be inscrutable!)
For Davises, Joneses and Pritchards and Prices
   The term is remarkably suitable!
It also may serve for the English and Scottish,
   The Browns and Greens and MacAlisters;
      Since Jamie's inducture
      It fits the whole structure,
   The cornices, friezes and balusters!

For Thompson and Wilson and Johnson and Jackson
   And Robson and Hobson and Harrison,
Or anyone else of an original Saxon
   'Twill suit beyond any comparison!
But what of McCarthy, O'Donnell and party?
   Bejabers they'd never get cool again!
      A good name to lavish
      On Smith or McTavish
   But devil a bit for O'Hooligan!

First published in The Bulletin, 15 August 1907

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Poetry Library

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on August 15, 2012 8:57 AM.

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