The English weren’t very nice to D.H. Lawrence. They booted him out of Cornwall during WWI under the pretence of being a spy. They censored his work and banned his books. When he exhibited his art at the Warren Gallery, thirteen of his paintings were seized and placed in a prison cell for daring to show pubic hair. The English weren’t very nice to D.H. Lawrence and so he let them know in this wonderfully acidic poem.

The above video includes footage of some very nice English people. Boris Johnson, the former foreign secretary who recently referred to Muslim people as ‘letterboxes’ on account of their cultural dress; Nigel Farage, that very nice Englishman who has fought for British independence from the E.U while drawing a European paypacket in the process; and let’s not forget Keith Vaz, the extremely nice politician who met Romanians at Luton airport on 1 January 2014 to tell them how welcome they were to the country. Yes, England continues to remain a very nice country and our current batch of politicians seem to be even nicer than the nice English people Lawrence mentions below.

The English are so nice
so awfully nice
they are the nicest people in the world.

And what’s more, they’re very nice about being nice
about your being nice as well!
If you’re not nice they soon make you feel it.

Americans and French and Germans and so on
they’re all very well
but they’re not really nice, you know.
They’re not nice in our sense of the word, are they now?

That’s why one doesn’t have to take them seriously.
We must be nice to them, of course,
of course, naturally.
But it doesn’t really matter what you say to them,
they don’t really understand
you can just say anything to them:
be nice, you know, just nice
but you must never take them seriously, they wouldn’t understand,
just be nice, you know! Oh, fairly nice,
not too nice of course, they take advantage
but nice enough, just nice enough
to let them feel they’re not quite as nice as they might be.

 

Other short Promo videos from our YouTube channel D.H. Lawrence: A Digital Pilgrimage.

 

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