The Sons of the Suburbs
The sons of the suburbs were carefully bred
And quite unaccustomed to strife;
The lessons they learned in the books they had read
Had taught them the value of life.
From Erith to Ealing they cherished a feeling
That battle and slaughter were sin;
From Hendon to Tooting they didn't like shooting
And did not intend to begin.
If the clergyman's daughter drinks nothing but water
She's certain to finish on gin
The tribes of the Teutons were otherwise trained,
And accustomed to bloodshed from birth.
Their ministers preached and their masters maintained
That they had only one duty on earth,
And what they were for was sanguineous war
The rest didn't matter a damn.
Being also intent on culture, they went
For the voters of Wanstead and Ham;
But reading the name on the tin of the same
Doesn't give you the taste of the jam.
The sons of the suburbs were firm but polite;
Each rose in his place with a gun
And a live bayonet to express his regret
At the actions of Herman the Hun.
It likewise appears they flung bombs round his ears,
Which caused a percentage of slain,
And finding it sport, I regret to report,
They did it again and again.
If the wife of the vicar never touched liquor,
Look out when she finds the champagne.
The sons of the suburbs awoke to the fact
That fighting has points of its own,
As giving a spice their existence had lacked
So they rarely left Herman alone.
They were young it was true, and the business was new,
But youth is the key to all arts,
That's why a beginner's so often a winner
At capturing trenches or hearts.
If the churchwarden's wife never danced in her life
She'll kick off your hat when she starts.
There are things in the breast of mankind which are best
In darkness and secrecy hid;
For you never can tell, when you've opened a hell,
How soon you can put back the lid.
Now Herman's annoyed with East Finchley and Croyd-
On, Penge, Tottenham, Bromley and Kew.
It wasn't their fault they commited assault
But the rest, I'll leave it to you.
If you and your friend never go on a bend
It's Bow-street and gaol when you do.