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Oh, we might have a marvellous city
Were we only less keen on cash
Less avid for things - more's the pity
That fade and are gone in a flash,
A city where duffers in my line
In wrapt adoration fall flat
To behold its superlative skyline
But there isn't much money in that.
Oh, we might have a city most splendid
Were sordid self-seeking denied.
Were good taste and culture attended
By pride that transcends money-pride.
Then, urged by more glorious dreaming
Than moved beneath Pericles' hat,
We would out-Athens Athens in scheming
But - there isn't much money in that.
So let's build our city according
To canons commercial and sane.
Where every house is a hoarding
And every 'palace' a pain.
Let us mingle the Gothic and Moorish
In the nice neo-Georgian flat.
What odds, tho' they blither it's boorish?
Who cares? For there's money in that.
Oh, let's have a conglomeration
Of all architectural ills.
We build for ouselves, not th enation,
And to advertise somebody's pills
With piles that are proud and pretentious
And styles that are 'pretty' and fat.
And a fig for their strictures sententious!
There's not a brass farthing in that.
And so we'll grow richer and richer
While curleywigs crawl the facade
Of the home of the sur-super-picture
Or pubs where the profits are made.
Yet - We might have a marvellous city
If we only knew how to grow fat
At the game. But we don't - more's the pity.
So there isn't much money in that.
And when we have piled up the riches,
And pass, and leave never a trace,
A grave-digger, with clay on his breeches,
Will come and pitch dirt on our face.
And our passing may serve to remind him,
As he gives the grave-mound a last pat:
'Well, he's gone; and he's left nought behind him,
And there isn't much honor in that.'
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