Friday, 26 February 2010

How full of cant you are!

I have just finished re-reading H. Montgomery Hyde's biography of the Rt. Hon. Stanley Baldwin, M.P. (1867 - 1947), who was three times Prime Minister and who headed the Government at the time of the Abdication of King Edward VIII. I thought - again - that it is a very fair biography of a political leader who was regarded with derision in his latter days but who, to me, epitomised an admirable Englishness.

I won't go into detail nor do I desire to get into an argument. Suffice to say, I believe that Baldwin handled the then king with kindness and correctness, which is more than can be said for the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Cosmo Gordon Lang (1864 - 1945). Archbishop Lang, as is customary, signed himself as 'Cosmo Cantuar' and his cruel and ignorant criticism of the king led to the composition of the splendid verse:

My Lord Archbishop, what a scold you are!
And when your man is down, how bold you are!
Of Christian charity how scant you are!
And, auld Lang swine, how full of cant you are!

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