Americanisation (Chesterton)

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For works with similar titles, see Americanisation.

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 Cafes:
     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.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.


The author died in 1936, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.