Set in the Second World War

Let me take this other glove off
     As the vox humana swells,
And the beauteous fields of Eden
     Bask beneath the Abbey bells.
Here, where England’s statesmen lie,
Listen to a lady’s cry.

Gracious Lord, oh bomb the Germans.
    Spare their woman, for Thy sake,
And if that is not too easy
    We will pardon Thy Mistake.
But gracious Lord, whate’er shall be,
Don’t let anyone bomb me.

Keep our Empire undismembered
    Guide our Forces by Thy Hand,
Gallant blacks from far Jamaica,
    Honduras and Togoland;
Protect them Lord in all their fights,
And, even more, protect the whites.

Think of what our Nation stands for,
    Books from Boots’ and country lanes,
Free speech, free passes, class distinction,
    Democracy and proper drains.
Lord, put beneath Thy special care.
One-eighty-nine Cadogan Square.

Although, dear Lord, I am a sinner,
    I have done no major crime;
Now I’ll come to Evening Service
    Whensoever I have the time.
So Lord, reserve for me a crown,
And do not let my shares go down.

I will labour for Thy Kingdom,
    Help our lads to win the war,
Send white feathers to the cowards
    Join the Women’s Army Corps,
Then wash the Steps around Thy Throne
In the Eternal Safety Zone.

Now I feel a little better,
    What a treat to hear Thy Word,
Where the bones of leading statesmen,
    Have so often been interr’d.
And now, dear Lord, I cannot wait
Because I have a luncheon date.

John Betjeman’s In Westminster Abbey

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