Blogs > Cliopatria > London Pride

Jul 7, 2005 3:03 pm


London Pride



London Pride - Noel Coward, 1941.

London Pride has been handed down to us.
London Pride is a flower that's free.
London Pride means our own dear town to us,
And our pride it for ever will be.

Woa, Liza, see the coster barrows,
Vegetable marrows and the fruit piled high.
Woa, Liza, little London sparrows,
Covent Garden Market where the costers cry.

Cockney feet mark the beat of history.
Every street pins a memory down.
Nothing ever can quite replace
The grace of London Town.

There's a little city flower every spring unfailing
Growing in the crevices by some London railing,
Though it has a Latin name, in town and countryside
We in England call it London Pride.

London Pride has been handed down to us.
London Pride is a flower that's free.
London Pride means our own dear town to us,
And our pride it for ever will be.

Hey, lady, when the day is dawning
See the policeman yawning on his lonely beat.
Gay lady, Mayfair in the morning,
Hear your footsteps echo in the empty street.

Early rain and the pavement's glistening.
All Park Lane in a shimmering gown.
Nothing ever could break or harm
The charm of London Town.

In our city darkened now, street and square and crescent,
We can feel our living past in our shadowed present,
Ghosts beside our starlit Thames who lived and loved and died
Keep throughout the ages London Pride.

London Pride has been handed down to us.
London Pride is a flower that's free.
London Pride means our own dear town to us,
And our pride it for ever will be.

Grey city, stubbornly implanted,
Taken so for granted for a thousand years.
Stay, city, smokily enchanted,
Cradle of our memories and hopes and fears.

Every Blitz your resistance toughening,
From the Ritz to the Anchor and Crown,
Nothing ever could override
The pride of London Town.

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Rob D. Priest - 7/7/2005

What the notion of "London Pride" betrays today is probably not the kind of unity Coward imagined, but disjunction. Lots of Londoners don't feel that "they", or "London", is under attack; but that they have been made the stage -- yet again -- for a conflict in which many of us do not feel engaged. Proud, perhaps; but pissed off too.

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