Benediction (2021) Movie Script

SIEGFRIED: The audience
pricks an intellectual ear.
Stravinsky quite the concert
of the year.
Forgetting now
the hullabaloo they made,
the audience pricks
an intellectual ear.
Bassoons begin,
sonority envelopes
our auditory innocence,
and brings to me, I must admit,
some drift of things omnific,
seminal, and adolescent.
Men in boaters, far from Henley,
girls in pink and blue taffeta.
In that long summer,
I hunted, played cricket,
but only watched tennis.
God was in His heaven
and there were sausages
for breakfast.
And in small recruiting offices,
dull young men wait
to inscribe in paper quires,
the names of the living
and the dead.
Mr Sassoon.
BOTH: Yes.
I'm Siegfried.
And I'm Hamo, younger brother.
And we've both
come for our fitting.
TAILOR: Just so, sir.
I think we should
start with the shirts.
You can't have your shirts
too dark, sir.
Ah, war! A la mode!
said goodbye to him.
On the idle hill of summer,
sleepy with the flow of streams,
far I hear the steady drummer,
drumming like a noise in dreams.
Far and near and low and louder,
on the roads of Earth go by,
dear to friends
and food for powder,
soldiers marching, all to die.
East and west
in fields forgotten
bleach the bones
of comrades slain.
Lovely lads and dead and rotten.
None that go return again.
Far the calling bugles hollo,
high the screaming fife replies.
Gay the files of scarlet follow:
Woman bore me, I will rise.
I was anxious to know
what you were suffering from.
It's only trench fever,
nothing fatal,
just debilitating.
I dread everything now.
The telephone...
the telegram.
There's only one thing worse
than remaining
in the past, Mother,
and that's begrudging
the future.
The future,
without either of my sons,
is to be dreaded, not enjoyed.
SIEGFRIED: I am writing you
this private letter
with the greatest
possible regret.
I must inform you
that it is my intention
to refuse to perform
any further military duties.
I am doing this as a protest
against the policy
of the government
in prolonging the war
by failing to state
their conditions for peace.
I have written a statement
of my reasons,
of which I enclose a copy.
I am making this statement
as an act of wilful defiance
of military authority
because I believe that the war
is being deliberately prolonged
by those who have
the power to end it.
I am a soldier
convinced that I am acting
on behalf of soldiers.
I believe that the war
upon which I entered
as a war of defence
and liberation
has now become a war
of aggression and conquest.
I believe that the purpose for
which I and my fellow soldiers
entered upon this war
should have been
made so clearly stated
as to have made it impossible
to change them.
And that had this been done,
the objects that actuated us
would now be attainable
by negotiation.
I have seen and endured
the sufferings of the troops
and I can no longer be a party
to prolong these sufferings
for ends
which I believe
to be evil and unjust.
I am not protesting against
the conduct of the war,
but against the political errors
and insincerities for which
the fighting men
are being sacrificed.
On behalf of those
who are suffering now,
I make this protest
against the deception
which is being practised
upon them.
Also, I believe
it may help to destroy
the callous complacency
with which the majority
of those at home
regard the continuance
of agonies
which they do not share
and which they have not
enough imagination to realize.
I suppose this was your doing.
Yes, and Eddie Marsh.
I take this very ill, Robbie.
Why did you involve Marsh?
Because he's Principal Private
Secretary to Winston Churchill
and he wanted to help.
He was instrumental
in getting you
a Medical Board examination
instead of a court martial.
If you were found guilty
at a court martial,
you could be shot.
That was a risk
I was prepared to take.
But there are those
who care for you
and who were not.
A court martial would
have been a platform
to state my opposition
to the conduct of the war,
and you have
prevented me doing so.
And not only
for this Times article
but for my statement
to be read out
on the floor of the House.
You've rendered me
impotent, Robbie.
You've robbed me of my dignity.
Better that than a firing squad.
That is a matter of opinion.
Don't be angry
with me, Siegfried.
My intentions were honourable.
An old cowpoke went ridin' out
One dark and windy day
Upon a ridge he rested
as he went along his way
When all at once, a mighty
herd of red-eyed cows he saw
A-ploughing through
the ragged skies
And up a cloudy draw
The ghost herd in the sky
Their brands were still on fire
And their hooves
were made of steel
Their horns were black and shiny
And their hot breath
he could feel
A bolt of fear went through him
As they thundered
through the sky
For he saw the riders
coming hard
And he heard
their mournful cries
Ghost riders in the sky
As the riders loped on by him
He heard one call his name
If you wanna save
your soul from hell
A-riding on our range
Then, cowboy
change your ways today
Or with us you will ride
Trying to catch the devil's herd
Across these endless skies
Ghost riders in the sky
I'm intrinsically against
any kind of conversion.
It's too much
like wishful thinking.
Besides, in a poet,
it seems to imply he has
nothing interesting left to say.
I said I was only
thinking about it.
Surely you're not
looking for God?
That's one way of putting it.
Well, speaking as one of the
if you find him, make sure
he's still an Englishman,
doesn't live on the wrong side
of the park.
I assume that was
supposed to be amusing.
Why Catholicism, Father?
Something permanent,
You can get that from dressage
but without the guilt.
There is no need to be snide.
If all you can do is ridicule,
it would be better
if you remained silent.
Better still, go outside
and wait in the car.
Well, it's a long drive
back to London,
so the sooner we
can get started, the better.
PRIEST: Siegfried,
what do you ask
of the Church of God?
PRIEST: What does
faith offer you?
Life everlasting.
PRIEST: If you then desire
to enter into life,
keep the commandments.
"Thou shalt love the Lord
thy God with thy whole heart
"and with thy whole soul
and with thy whole mind."
do you renounce Satan?
I do renounce him.
And all his works?
I do renounce him.
And all his pomps?
I do renounce him.
Receive this burning light
and keep thy baptism
so as to be without blame.
Keep the commandments of God,
that when the Lord
shall come to the nuptials,
thou mayest meet Him
together with all the Saints
in the heavenly court,
and mayest thou have eternal
life for ever and ever.
Siegfried, go in peace
and the Lord be with you.
The fool hath said in his
heart there is no God.
You will be drawn up
in your feelings
above understanding
to the radiance
of divine darkness
that transcends all being.
Christ, receive my soul
and release me from
the imprisonment of doubt.
And grant me peace.
ROSS: I'm quite appalled
by what you've done.
I can only hope
your CO in Liverpool
will ignore your letter.
I'm terrified that you will
be put under arrest.
We read your statement,
Lieutenant, with some alarm.
You may sit
if you wish, Lieutenant.
Thank you, sir.
Why did you make it?
I wanted to state my position
regarding the conduct
of the war.
It is not your place to question
how the war is being prosecuted.
Your duty lies
in obeying orders.
That word covers
a multitude of sins.
In the face of such slaughter,
one cannot simply
order one's conscience.
One can do better than that.
One can ignore it.
That reply was so disgraceful,
you ought to be in politics.
That was impertinent,
Are you pro-German?
No. I'm pro-human.
We are not here
to discuss humanity,
that is religion's sphere
of operations.
And what of morality?
Morality is a luxury
that we can only afford
during peace time.
I would be very grateful
if you would take
that offensive tone
out of your voice.
Voices raised in anger
only perpetuates war.
And passive resistance
only invites defeat.
I simply cannot remain silent
in the face of such casualties.
Someone must,
should be brought to book.
The casualties, young man,
are a matter for the
Imperial General Staff.
And your statement,
indeed your entire attitude,
is both offensive
and detrimental
to military discipline.
My colleague is quite right.
It is not your place
to question your superiors,
much less to imply
that they are not honourable.
Perhaps, sir,
if you, if any of you
were to visit the front,
then you might at least
spare a thought
for the many bereaved families
and the pain they suffer.
You are out of order, sir!
I thought that was
the very reason
for my being brought before you.
This has gone far enough.
- Yes, of course.
ARMY DOCTOR 1: Yes, I agree.
Myself and my fellow officers
feel that your mind
is still in chaos
and that you are unfit to be
trusted with men's lives.
It is therefore
the Board's decision
that you should
be sent to a hospital
for nervous diseases
in Scotland.
We therefore order you
to report immediately
to Craiglockhart, in Edinburgh.
Good morning, Lieutenant.
You may leave your coat
and luggage here.
A porter will take them
up to your room.
Sassoon, Siegfried.
- SIEGFRIED: Second Lieutenant.
- Age?
Years of complete service?
SIEGFRIED: Two years,
eleven months.
Completed months
with Field Force?
SIEGFRIED: Thirteen months.
I've had some sort of breakdown.
Nervous debility?
Yes, I believe
that's what they call it.
Enter it as
neurasthenia, Matron.
As we came in, sir,
I noticed several men
with blue dots on their faces.
MATRON: Morphine.
The dots denote that
they've had their doses,
so that they are given no more
until the appropriate time.
Who will be treating this man?
- MATRON: Doctor Rivers.
- Rivers' office is next door.
I think it would be polite
if you introduced yourself.
Yes, sir.
And in your room,
you will find an armband.
It is to be worn at all times,
especially outside
the hospital grounds.
It is to show that you are
a serving soldier in hospital
and not
a conscientious objector.
We wouldn't want you
to be attacked
in Princes Street,
now, would we?
Which arm
shall I wear it on, sir?
The pleasure of that
choice, Lieutenant,
is entirely yours.
Your room is on the upper floor
at the end of the corridor.
Sassoon, Siegfried, Lieutenant.
Your burgeoning fame
precedes you.
I enjoyed The Old Huntsman
very much.
You may not know,
but we have
a house magazine, The Hydra.
I'm sure it would welcome
a contribution from you.
Well, I'll, erm,
try to write something
light and amusing.
Oh, there's no need
to go that far.
You have an appointment to see
me at 10:30 in the morning.
Dear Mother,
have arrived in Dottyville.
Wish you were here.
Good morning, Doctor.
Good morning, Sassoon.
Please, sit down.
We're quite relaxed here.
Although we do seem
to go through
rather too many
chief medical officers,
some are more flexible
than others.
Then they're replaced by someone
who wants everything
to be as taut as Aldershot.
Then they too are replaced.
And what's your persuasion?
Oh, I prefer a certain
measure of laxity.
One can't be
at attention forever,
it plays havoc with the nerves.
From the, er, little I know of
your method of treatment here,
I understand that
from whatever I say
you can deduce whether or not
my grandmother
was a dipsomaniac.
Was she?
Alas, no, no.
Just a sweet sherry at
Christmas and on birthdays.
Well done, your grandmother.
She didn't know
what she wasn't missing.
Well, just tell me whatever
it is you want me to do,
and I'll comply
with your wishes.
It isn't a question
of what I want.
It's a question
of what you think you need.
Am I to start? Or do you?
Is there anything you feel
you wish to say?
What I feel cannot be talked
away or soothed into silence.
Too many have died.
Too much has been destroyed.
There can be
an easement of pain.
A move towards acceptance.
Pain is not the only terror.
There are many more.
Can you name them?
If I could name them, they
would cease to be terrors.
That's a very elegant way
of avoiding an answer.
All evasions are elegant.
Think of politics.
I've always thought
that politicians
were too stupid to be subtle.
Perhaps they're just
too subtle to be inelegant.
Are you a good soldier?
I was a poor marksman.
I never knew which eye to shut.
I understand you were
awarded the MC.
It's supposed
to signify gallantry.
Bravery is only cowardice
in extremis.
At the root of bravery
lies terror
and the fear of fear.
But you were conspicuous
by your courage.
Why did you discard
the Military Cross?
Disgust at my own
dwindling standards
and the men I felt
I had betrayed.
It was nothing short
of duplicity.
And yet the men
under your command
held you in the highest
esteem, I'm told.
And I them.
They seemed to me to be all
that was good and true
in this world.
Are you searching for truth?
Isn't everyone?
And if you find it,
what then?
Peace of mind, contentment.
No longer yearning
for what's been lost.
Loveliest of trees
The cherry now
Is hung with bloom
Along the bough
And stands about
The woodland ride
Wearing white
For Eastertide
Come in.
Lieutenant Sassoon?
(STUTTERS) I'm Wilfred Owen.
There was howling last night.
Like a wolf. (EXHALES DEEPLY)
Strictly speaking,
wolves ululate.
But howling will do.
Now, don't make light of it
like that, Doctor, please.
That isn't what I'm doing.
I'm merely keeping it
in perspective.
I'm sorry if I sounded uncaring.
His screams were terrible.
Worse than an animal.
Such anguish in them.
Why do all the worst terrors
come at night? (CHUCKLES)
The night is, I think,
like the unconscious.
Waiting all day so that it can
steal over you in the dark.
You make it sound almost benign.
Perhaps it is.
I believe Wilfred Owen
introduced himself to you
the other day.
He seems so gentle.
Feel rather protective of him.
Does that protectiveness
hide something deeper?
All my friendships do.
But I've never allowed my
emotions to mar or spoil them,
I remain passive.
It's how I cope.
You never act on impulse?
No, never.
I'm unable to take risks.
It's the hero in me.
Why not?
Too afraid,
too inhibited.
Shamed by an inner corruption.
Or perhaps
it's simply because of...
What's the phrase?
"The love that dare not
speak its name."
You are not alone
in that respect.
Frankly, Doctor, I'm surprised.
The world is full of anomalies.
Well, speaking as
one anomaly to another,
how do you cope with the law?
I adopt a less than honest
respect for it.
So evasion is not confined
solely to second lieutenants?
No, it affects all ranks.
I trust after this disclosure,
you will be discreet.
Discretion is my middle name.
Well, it's better
than Ethel anyway.
One assumes these theatricals
have some deeper purpose.
Well, sir, I think
they help to give
some sort of ease
away from the front line.
I doubt that.
Should the enemy perceive
that the British Army is
always preparing for a tango,
the war is lost.
Besides, the spectacle of men
dancing with men
is never palatable.
I had always thought
such creatures
went into the library
with their service revolvers
and did the decent thing.
And how is your treatment
progressing, Lieutenant?
Oh, it has
its unique moments, sir.
Well, let us hope
these unique moments
coalesce enough to get you
back to active service,
fighting fit, as it were.
Doesn't that rather depend, sir,
on what's fit to fight for?
But perhaps
I'm just being syndromatic.
Or is that a lapsus linguae?
I beg your pardon?
Lapsus linguae, sir.
Slip of the tongue.
I know what it means,
The rest of us may be unable
to read Beowulf in the original,
but we're not all
complete Philistines.
Of course not, sir.
Carry on.
- Ready?
- Yes.
(SINGING) Halitosis!
Your first poem in Hydra.
Long live the editor!
I am the editor.
Hooray for nepotism!
And what do you think
of my verse, Siegfried?
It seemed a little too dependent
on 19th century models.
You make it sound like
The Courtship of Miles Standish.
SIEGFRIED: Oh, God, no.
Nothing's ever as bad as that.
But you do find
my work derivative?
While I was at Clare,
I wasted far too much time
reading Swinburne.
It was very bad
for my adjectives.
You have to speak directly,
not with another's voice.
Look, at first,
everyone's work is derivative.
We all have to start somewhere.
At Cambridge,
apart from Swinburne,
I did nothing except read
William Morris in a punt
and staggered through Maud.
Perhaps, er, my latest effort
will please you.
It's called Disabled.
It's magnificent.
It pierces the heart.
What a gift you have.
I have been passed
by the Medical Board
as fit for active service.
When do you rejoin
your regiment?
WILFRED: December.
Just before Christmas.
(SINGING) There was I
waiting at the church
Waiting at the church
Waiting at the church
When I found
he left me in the lurch
Lord, how it did upset me
All at once
he sent me round a note
Here's the very note
This is what he wrote
"Can't get away
to marry you today
"My wife won't let me"
There was I
Waiting at the church
Waiting at the church
Waiting at the church
When I found
he left me in the lurch
Lord, how it did upset me
All at once
he sent me round a note
Here's the very note
This is what he wrote
"Can't get away
to marry you today
"My wife won't let me"
What is it, Siegfried?
Wilfred's about to return
to duty. (CLEARS THROAT)
I know.
What will you do?
I will not do anything to make
the parting even more painful.
I'd give everything I possess
to have him stay
just one more hour.
One more minute.
Quick to tears, slow to love.
You know, when I first met him,
he had a slight stammer.
And spoke, I thought,
with a grammar school accent.
How could I be such a snob?
He really is a lovely man.
And I think the greater poet.
What about your poetry?
It's egotism, really.
That seems a little harsh.
Truth often is.
I have no idea why I come here.
It's really done
no good at all, this.
Think of it as a cleansing
of the soul.
Why do you have
to put it so beautifully?
Will you stay just
for a few more moments?
DRIVER: Whenever
you're ready, sir.
SIEGFRIED: Wilfred was killed
just a week
before the war ended.
What passing-bells
for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger
of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles'
rapid rattle
can patter out
their hasty orisons.
No mockeries for them
from prayers or bells,
nor any voice of mourning,
save the choir's.
The shrill, demented choirs
of wailing shells
and bugles calling for them
from sad shires.
What candles may be held
to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys,
but in their eyes
shall shine the holy glimmers
of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls' brows
shall be their pall,
their flowers, the tenderness
of silent minds,
and each slow dusk
a drawing-down of blinds.
The woman posing, who appears
to be wearing a spinnaker
is Lady Ottoline Morrell.
More hair than self-restraint,
but definitely nobody's fool.
She looks as though
she hasn't heard a joke
since the Boer War.
For Ottoline, the Boer War
was the joke.
May we pause
for a moment, Dorothy,
- before rigor mortis sets in?
- Of course, Ottoline.
Who is this extremely
beautiful young man, Robbie?
Sassoon, Siegfried.
It sounds Wagnerian.
It's just Home Counties,
I'm afraid.
So you are not a keeper
of the flame at Bayreuth?
No, no, I'm afraid not.
What are your
musical tastes then?
Er, Ravel, Albeniz, Chausson.
Scriabin, if I must.
Cesar Franck,
when I'm in the mood.
And Bartok?
Oh, no. Never Bartok, no.
His music always sounds to me
like a lunatic
playing the xylophone.
(LAUGHS) Vice versa.
I once heard Paderewski play
Bartok at Tunbridge Wells,
but I found it
rather disappointing.
Well, what did you
expect, Robbie?
It was Tunbridge Wells.
Come into the main house
and have tea.
May I join you, Ottoline?
Of course. Dorothy,
you are not a servant,
but an honourable.
Now come along, Mr Bassoon,
and tell me what you really
have against Mr Bartok.
SIEGFRIED: Not a great deal.
I just don't like his music.
ROSS: Oh, a word
into your shell-like,
she'll ask you
to stay the night.
She always asks attractive
young men to stay the night.
So lock your bedroom door
or wear something
very, very severe.
I thought that I might be
more interesting than cocoa.
I'm afraid I prefer cocoa.
Sleep badly.
SOLDIER: Dickie. Curse
the Wood! It's time to go.
(GROANS) O Christ,
what's the good?
We'll never take it,
and it's always raining.
- They snipe like hell!
O Dickie, don't go out!
SIEGFRIED: I fell asleep.
Next morning, he was dead.
And some slight wound
lay smiling on the bed.
Ivor Novello...
of Keep The Home-Fires Burning
Hmm, yes.
That loathsome little tune.
Ah, he always writes
at the top of his voice,
but we must try
to be charitable.
Ah, Sybil, you ought to be
ashamed of yourself.
Ragtime indeed.
Yes, I know.
But Mr Novello plays it
so well, it's almost music.
Besides, at the moment,
he's appearing in the West End
in a very successful play
called The Rat.
I know.
Someone asked me
if it was autobiographical,
but I said I wasn't sure.
One day, Robbie,
you will go too far.
Oh, one day, Sybil,
we will all go too far.
Thank you for coming,
Mr Sassoon.
We're all very eager
to hear your recitation.
- Thank you, Lady Colefax.
Ladies and gentlemen,
pray silence for
one of our greatest poets,
Mr Siegfried Sassoon.
When I'm among
a blaze of lights,
with tawdry music and cigars
and women dawdling
through delights
and officers in cocktail bars,
sometimes I think
of garden nights
and elm trees
nodding at the stars.
I dream of a small
fire-lit room.
Yellow candles burning straight,
and glowing pictures
in the gloom,
and kindly books
that hold me late.
Of things like these
I choose to think
when I can never be alone.
And then someone says,
"Another drink,"
and turns my living heart
to stone.
- Hmm.
Thank you, Mr Sassoon.
That was very touching.
We both thank you, Sybil,
and now go
and rejoin Lady Cunard
before she starts
launching something.
And to think he once played
the triangle so beautifully.
- What a waste. (LAUGHING)
(SINGING) I seem to be
the victim of a cruel jest
It dogs my footsteps with
the girl I love the best
She's just the sweetest thing
that I have ever known
And yet we never get
the chance to be alone
My car will meet her
and her mother comes, too
It's a two-seater
Still her mother comes, too
At Ciro's when I am free
at dinner, supper or tea
She loves to shimmy with me
And her mother does, too
We buy her trousseau
And her mother comes, too
Asked not to do so
Still her mother comes, too
She simply can't take a snub
I go and sulk at the club
Then have a bath and a rub
And her brother comes, too
To golf we started
And her mother came, too
Three bags I carted
When her mother came, too
She fainted just off the tee
My darling whispered to me
"Jack dear, at last we are free"
But her mother came, too
ROSS: He is considered
very beautiful.
Look at those shoulders.
Yeah, and look at his.
Are we leaving, Ivor?
No, precious.
I'm anxious to meet
our distinguished guest,
Mr Sassoon.
I'm eager to have your advice
on my next musical.
I'm thinking of writing
in terza rima.
That's near Naples, isn't it?
Oh, dear Robbie,
whose silences are always
so much more eloquent
than speech.
Robbie will give you a paw
to guide you home, Glen.
- C'est la vie.
C'est la guerre.
Just leave the keys
on the dresser, Glen.
You know how absent-minded
I am with them.
I think he's still
in love with you.
The main drawback with love
is that it descends,
all too quickly,
into possessiveness.
That really is a bore.
What shall I do with these?
Oh, they're for you.
Hamo died so far away.
While I have his sword,
I still have him.
We never grieved
properly for him, Mother.
Before grief, there's anger.
SIEGFRIED: I watch you
on your constant way,
in selfless duty
long grown grey.
And to myself,
I say that I have
lived my life to learn
how lives like your
unasking earn.
Aureoles that guide and burn
in heart's remembrance
when the proud who snared
the suffrage of the crowd
are dumb and dusty browed.
For you live onward
in my thought
because you have not sought
rewards that can be bought.
And so when I remember you,
I think of all things
rich and true
that I have reaped and wrought.
Thank God you survived.
Good night, darling.
Good night, Mother.
Give me your hand, my brother.
Search my face.
Look in these eyes
lest I should think of shame.
For we have made an end
of all things base.
We are returning
by the road we came.
Your lot is with the ghosts
of soldiers dead,
and I am in the field
where men must fight.
But in the gloom,
I see your laurelled head
and through your victory
I shall win the light.
Sleep in heavenly peace
3,500 copies of
Counter-Attack sold.
Your fame
is spreading, Siegfried.
Like a virus?
Oh, don't be contrary.
So I wake up famous.
Like Byron.
And I believe you've
been overwhelmed
by visits from all the great
and the good.
Massine, Lydia Lopokova, Keynes,
Winston Churchill and mother.
Even "boy actor" Noel Coward.
Have I left anyone out?
- The Pope.
That's right, Siegfried,
think small.
How did you find Mr Churchill?
And Mr Coward?
What would you have done
if Royalty had paid a call?
Oh, well, then I'd
have tried to curtsey
- from a sitting position.
Speaking of Royalty,
I've come with a command
from Her Majesty Edith Sit well.
You are to attend a performance
at Carlyle Square
of her Entertainment-Faade.
Poetry, by Edith.
Music, Willie Walton.
I've gone
to a great deal of trouble
to get this
so don't let me down.
If you don't attend, La Sit well
has threatened
to come to your flat
at Half Moon Street
and hum the whole
of Tannhauser to you.
You have been warned.
Oh, I, er...
Ottoline Morell popped in
and wished to be
remembered to you.
How was she?
Let's just say I've always
found lime green
a very unforgiving colour.
Poor Ottoline.
She'll go to her grave
I'm looking forward
to meeting your mother.
I said I was looking forward
to meeting your mother.
All mothers, good or bad
are always fascinating.
I tried to set fire
to mine once,
but she was all asbestos.
IVOR: Oh, do come on!
We shall never get down
to Kent at this rate.
Oh, and I found this
for you on the floor.
Oh, it'll be from Robbie Ross.
Why are you so antipathetic
towards him?
Because I resent the way
that he speaks to me.
Like he's always
putting me in my place.
You know, the only problem
with knowing one's place
is that other people
never seem to know theirs.
He's acerbic, I grant you,
but he's never malign,
and as a friend, very steadfast.
Robbie Ross took
some considerable risk
when he publicly supported
Oscar Wilde.
He's been hounded ever since
by Lord Alfred Douglas.
Oh, please,
Bosie was always vindictive.
Robbie should have known that
from the beginning.
He's really only got
himself to blame.
That's really unfair.
His loyalty to Wilde
was exemplary.
All right, all right.
Robbie's a saint.
Now, how about
we drop the subject?
Oh, that's a very fine sword.
It was my brother's.
He was killed at Gallipoli.
Oh, God.
What is it?
It's the first performance
of Faade,
and I was supposed to go to it.
Well, where's it
being performed?
Some private performance
in Carlyle Square.
Well, even if we drove
like the wind,
we should never make it.
Robbie will be furious.
And so will Edith Sit well.
It's being given
to a very select audience.
I'm sure she'll understand
once you explain
why you weren't able
to be there.
Oh, no,
I don't think so, Mother.
Edith can be a very
captious woman.
She isn't a woman.
She's an animated meringue.
And those teeth.
Don't be horrible, Ivor.
She suffers, I believe,
from a complaint
known as receding gums.
She's so autocratic,
I'm surprised she gave
them permission to.
Oh, well, come along then.
Might as well see
if we can catch some of it.
I'm sorry to have to rush off
like this, Mother.
It doesn't matter.
Is he just another one
of your pretty boys?
No, it's deeper than that,
much deeper.
You don't like him,
do you, Mother?
He's amusing, but unpleasant.
It's his eyes.
I think they're cruel.
SIEGFRIED: Good night, Mother.
Good night, Siegfried.
You never came.
Please forgive me, Edith.
I shall try.
I'm entirely to blame.
We visited my mother
in Kent and I simply
lost all sense of time.
- We?
Myself and Ivor Novello.
A man at the cheaper end
of poetry.
I do hope you can
forgive me, Edith,
for I am mortified
by my thoughtlessness.
How was the work received?
They tittered.
I overheard someone say,
in the most odious manner,
"It's this sort of thing
"that makes one glad
to be semi-conscious."
- I was deeply wounded.
My poetry has wonderful
assonances and dissonances.
I use words for their colour,
not merely for what
they are supposed to mean.
Great art may sometimes be
so ahead of its time, Edith,
that its initial reception
can be considered
a succs d'estime.
Think of Stravinsky.
But I do not wish
to think of Stravinsky.
We are performing Faade
at the Aeolian Hall next week.
I shall expect you there.
Of course, Edith.
I shall come with the speed
of a thousand gazelles.
No need for hyperbole,
A taxi will do.
In the early springtime
after their tea,
through the young fields
of the springing Bohea,
Jemima, Jocasta, Dinah and Deb
walked with their father
Sir Joshua Jebb.
An admiral red
whose only notion,
a butterfly poised
on a pigtailed ocean
is of the peruked sea
whose swell
breaks on the flowerless rocks
of Hell.
For Hell is just
as properly proper,
as Greenwich, or as Bath,
or Joppa!
Oh, Christ!
I have to go backstage.
Rather you than me.
- Ah.
The prodigal.
Well, Edith,
you've done it again.
All the fine young cannibals.
You make it sound
like a raiding party.
Isn't it?
Stephen Tennant.
I am...
Yes, we already know
who you are, Stephen.
But who is this absolute dream
in oyster grey silk?
Hester Gatty.
Lady Gatty's daughter?
She once invited you
to Carlton House Terrace.
But you hardly noticed me.
Then I apologize
for my lack of taste.
We're great admirers
of your poetry, Siegfried.
Before you take of fence, Ivor,
we like your work, too.
Careful, Stephen,
that was almost enthusiasm.
Perhaps they will play
one of your charming songs,
Mr Novello, and then
we can dance to it.
I can't tempt Stephen, though.
Why not?
Because I only do the valeta
and only when pressed.
I do love dancing.
So do I.
Come on, then.
I didn't know great poets
did the Charleston.
I didn't know the Charleston
did that to gay young things.
I think everyone should
be gay, don't you?
Only in the wider sense.
And this young man is...
Alexander Fenton.
Doesn't it sound as though
it should have a title
in front of it?
Sir Alexander Fenton.
For his services to the theatre.
Well, that hasn't happened yet.
It will, Ivor.
It will.
I hardly see you
these days, Ivor.
How are you?
Horizontally speaking.
Oh, busy, old thing.
Very, very busy.
Still gathering lilacs?
You could say that.
Well, when you've
exhausted botany,
you might consider moving
into the field of blood sports.
I'm told that the men
who indulge in them
are very, very rugged.
Isn't that so, Mr Sassoon?
You know, I think that's what
I'm going to miss most
about you, Glen,
your quaint sense of humour.
And how have you been
passing your time?
Seeing lots of musical theatre.
IVOR: Mmm, such as?
Rose-Marie, very enjoyable.
Yes, but so Rudolph Friml-ly.
But it is by Rudolph Friml.
It was a joke, Siegfried.
And how about tonight?
Lady, Be Good!
Gershwin, an unsurpassed genius.
Oh, we really mustn't
keep you then, Glen.
You have to admit it,
Gershwin is an
exceptional talent.
I don't have to admit anything.
What's wrong?
We're leaving.
But I thought you wanted supper.
I'm no longer hungry!
- Name, sir?
Mr Sassoon.
Sassoon, you say.
- Yes.
- Oh.
Would you mind spelling it
for me, please, sir?
I'm afraid you're not
on the list, sir.
Well, I'm going up anyway.
Telephone me in a couple
of days, won't you?
I practically
had to force my way in
past the stage doorman.
Hmm. You were lucky.
He's been told to shoot anyone
not on my list.
Why wasn't I on the list?
Oh, for Christ's sake!
Look, it's been
a long run, Siegfried.
I am tired.
I am exhausted.
- You still want supper?
- Yes!
I'm surprised to see
Fenton here.
I know lots of people.
- Fenton is just another...
- Admirer.
You both seemed to me
to be very friendly
after so short an acquaintance.
Now, I get the
distinct impression
that I am being grilled.
And that a storm
in an egg cup is brewing.
I'm sorry, I don't mean
to be petty, but I am...
I am very jealous
of you. (CHUCKLES)
Yes, well,
affairs are always messy.
Who can know the secrets
of a human heart?
Usually the people
who don't have one.
Oh, my, my,
hasn't it gone chilly in here?
But I love you.
you've said.
Let me pass.
I'm sorry, sir.
I can't let you go up.
Mr Novello never sees anyone
after a matinee.
Well, would you please
inform Mr Novello
that I've booked a table
for 8 PM?
(SHOUTING) And I'll be
expecting him for dinner!
Yes, sir.
Thank you.
Is there someone else?
(SIGHS) There's always
someone else.
How do you justify
your behaviour?
By asking myself questions
to which I already
know the answers.
And when all is said and done,
my career comes before anyone
or anything.
And my work
is as popular as I am.
There is a school of thought
that regards musical theatre
as a second-rate
means of expression.
Before you judge other
people's work, Siegfried,
I would make sure
your own is above criticism.
- What does that mean?
- IVOR: Just this,
that since 1918,
your poetry has gone
from the sublime
to the meticulous.
And tell me, Mr Novello,
what did you do during the war?
I gave my talent to my country.
I boosted morale by playing
every theatre in the land!
Oh, weren't you the lucky one!
We had the Somme
and you had Rhyl!
Well, I see no point
in prolonging
this unpleasant conversation.
- No.
Oh, no.
After what's been said,
I don't expect you
to foot the bill as well.
Oh, always the gentleman,
eh, Siegfried?
It's better than being a cad.
I suspect this is goodbye then.
Au revoir
might have been kinder.
Please don't undermine
yourself, Siegfried.
That's what friends are for.
If you wish to see me again,
I'll be at my flat.
Well, at least
that's more original
than going home to mother.
GLEN: May I sit down?
Yes, of course.
Do you still dine here?
- Of course.
- Why?
Let's just say I like
the trips down memory lane.
What next?
Well, I suppose, in a bad
melodrama, I'd kill myself.
And in a really bad melodrama,
you kill Ivor.
Seriously, are you all right?
The moment passes,
but the hurt remains.
And I was supposed to go
and visit my mother
and now I've missed the train.
Drive down, why don't you?
I have no car. I can't drive.
I was going to motor
down to the coast.
Why don't I give you a lift?
That would be very kind of you.
Where does she live?
Then let's get going.
I have absolutely
no idea where we are.
Although I, erm,
don't possess the wit to woo,
may I see you again?
I live in Margate.
Pity Margate is so far away.
It's not at the moment.
What about Ivor?
Ivor's already been to Margate.
SIEGFRIED: At dawn, the ridge
emerges massed and dun
in wild purple
of the glow'ring sun,
smouldering through spouts
of drifting smoke
that shroud the menacing
scarred slope.
And, one by one,
tanks creep and topple
forward to the wire.
The barrage roars and lifts.
Then, clumsily bowed with bombs
and guns and battle-gear,
men jostle and climb
to meet the bristling fire.
Lines of grey, muttering
faces, masked with fear,
they leave their trenches,
going over the top,
while time ticks blank
and busy on their wrists,
and hope, with furtive eyes
and grappling fists,
flounders in the mud.
O Jesus, make it stop.
We have a guest.
Oh, he's not a guest.
He's an afterthought.
This is my life partner,
Bobby Andrews.
Bobby, Siegfried.
Siegfried, Bobby.
Well, don't look so shocked.
Love has nothing
to do with monogamy.
Or are you the faithful type?
I suppose I must be.
If you want fidelity,
Siegfried, buy a pet.
You kept very quiet about this.
Well, that's because
I didn't want anyone else
to shake him down from the tree.
You really are a bastard,
aren't you?
I do my best.
Now you must excuse us.
We have a casserole waiting.
Where shall I put your key?
Back on the floor.
I can't face tea before 11 AM.
Drink it, you misery.
I don't do this for everyone,
you know.
I'm the invalid, remember?
Like Chekhov.
Oh, what should I do
about my hair?
Have you considered topiary?
I think I might dye it.
Or I could leave it
in its natural colour.
When I'm sun burnt,
it looks like spun gold.
I'll be with you in a moment.
It's Glen Byam Shaw.
Isn't that good news?
Siggy will be down in a trice.
He's suitably undressed.
We've just been
talking about you.
So I hope your ears
were burning,
all three of them.
Is Stephen naturally unpleasant
or does he take private tuition?
I heard that!
You were supposed to.
Siggy! Siggy!
I'm sorry.
What can I say?
There's nothing to say.
It's one of the inconveniences
of the shadow life we lead.
Friends may come,
friends may go.
Enemies are always faithful.
How is Ivor?
I have no idea.
I don't see him any more.
Did you know about Bobby?
You might have warned me.
I didn't want
to seem vindictive.
Sour grapes and all that.
I wanted to tell you personally
that I'm planning to marry.
She's an actress
and a good sort,
I think, and we're very
fond of each other.
When did you decide?
GLEN: Some months ago.
You should give
a thought to it, too.
No, if the intention
wasn't pure,
I don't think
I could go through it.
Purity is like virginity.
As soon as you touch it,
it becomes corrupt.
I hope you both
will be very happy.
Thank you, Siegfried.
I shall do my best.
What's the matter? TB?
You should have told me.
There's nothing
you can do about it.
I could have taken you
to a warmer, drier climate.
That rules out Frinton then.
Is there somewhere
we can go to help you?
I've been there before.
In Germany.
Haus Hirt in Bavaria.
All cow bells, lederhosen
and very, very thick thighs.
So idyllic,
you'll want to scream.
But the German men...
I wonder what the
collective noun for them is.
Oh, don't look so glum, Siggy.
I'm not about to join
the Hitler Youth.
Yes. Who is it?
(OVER PHONE) Hello, Siegfried,
it's Alexander.
Is Stephen there?
- Hello?
- Don't call here again.
It was Fenton.
I don't like this at all.
We bumped into each other
on Piccadilly the other day.
We had a harmless drink
and I gave him your number.
Don't do it again!
If that were a request,
I might consider it.
If it's an order, I'll make
a point of disobeying it.
What did Glen want?
- He's getting married.
The ultimate capitulation.
I'm sure they'll be very happy.
She's probably
as mediocre as he is.
You'll be doing it next.
Thought I'd try my hand
at some watercolours.
- Hmm.
- Landscapes and things.
It's the Magritte in me.
This is not a pipe.
- Rene will be pleased.
How would you describe
your style?
But then I'm giving this
to a friend
- whom I really detest.
You don't remember me
at all, do you?
The spa?
Ivor Novello? Stephen Tennant?
Oh, yes, of course.
The oyster grey silk.
You're supposed to
remember me, not the dress.
Before I met you for the first
time, I'd always thought
you'd be either mercurial
or dark.
And what am I,
dark or mercurial?
Oh, neither.
You're more opaque, I think.
So what brings you down here?
I... I should like to say
the picturesque,
but it wouldn't be true.
I came down in the hope
of seeing you again.
I used the painting as a ploy.
Well, I'm touched.
No one's ever used subterfuge
before in order to see me.
It's the modern thing,
liberated woman and all that.
It would be very pleasant
if you invited me to lunch.
It would be very pleasant
if you accepted.
You really are very lovely.
May I kiss you?
You don't have to ask.
I've never had an affair
with a woman.
Only men.
Stephen told me
all I needed to know.
All my life, I feel as though
I've been waiting
for a catastrophe to happen.
that's optimism for you.
My whole future
could depend on you.
You must redeem
my life for me, Hester.
That sounds like
some sort of proposal.
If I was selfish enough,
I'd ask you to marry me.
If I were foolish enough,
I'd accept.
Oh, I look 500 years old.
Some say I am beautiful.
And, as an aesthete,
I feel that beauty is eternal.
We see it in the eyes
of those who love us.
Although my mother thinks
that my eyes
are like cold seawater.
My buttocks and my shoulders
are very well-shaped.
But my best feature
is the beauty of my hands.
Almond milk and lemon creams
are perfect for them,
and one must never
laugh too much.
It coarsens one's face,
especially if the laughter
is gleeful.
Stephen, how can you
be so narcissistic?
It is my defence against
nihilism and the vulgar.
You cannot conduct a life
in that way.
Course one can.
My life is my art.
Yours isn't a life,
it's barely a hobby.
That was an ugly thing to say.
I know sometimes it's better
to be kind than honest,
but you are frittering
your life away
in pomades and powder.
And if you don't believe me,
ask someone with more sense
and less love.
You've made your antipathy
to me very obvious.
I don't need a second opinion.
I'm going to Salisbury
for the weekend.
Edith Oliver has found me
a cottage to rent
in Teffont Magna.
I thought we could
spend weekends there.
Will you come?
I, too, have had an invitation.
From whom?
A German prince whom
I think you more than know.
Philip of Hesse, yes.
And one of
Edith Sitwell's proteges.
A concert pianist
called Tchelitchew.
Very Cyrillic, very Russian
and very divine.
And where are you going to?
Paris first.
Then we'll motor down to
Bavaria so I can recuperate
from life.
After Bavaria, they're going
to go on to Venice.
Philip told me that he once
tried to make love in a gondola,
but that there wasn't
enough privacy.
So it was with you, was it?
You sly old thing.
This all seems very sudden.
Yes, it does, doesn't it?
But then, that's my life.
All go.
Older than God, but without
any of the influence.
Am I welcome, Hester?
Come in and see.
How dreadful we all look.
But I still have
beautiful hands, I think.
I'll make some tea.
I suppose you've heard
of Ivor's death.
They say the funeral attracted
a thousand people.
Probably made up mostly by
all the people he slept with.
I still have a soft spot
for Ivor's work, though.
All those tortured
princesses and lovers
who have no money,
but plenty of sex appeal.
His work was always
sentimental nonsense.
He cheapened everything
he touched.
I've always thought his
particular kind of mawkishness
was a kind of catharsis
for the dimmer members among us.
That's because
you have never known
the difference between the two.
We can't all possess
your purity of thought.
It isn't a question of purity,
but of discernment.
And you were never very good
at discernment.
That was rather too acerbic.
Mordant would be
the more accurate word.
Are you still very angry?
What do you expect?
You ended our relationship
with a letter from your doctor.
How was I supposed to feel?
Still clearly very hurt, I see.
I had hoped that
you might have been
a little more forgiving.
If I had treated you the way
in which you treated me,
how forgiving would you be?
when the parade's gone by,
you have to have
enough sense to realize
that you are no longer
a part of it.
I'm trying to apologize.
You're 30 years too late!
Can't we still be friends?
You once meant so much.
Now you mean so little.
- Sieg...
- Don't trivialise it
by saying something glib.
Can I see you again?
In London perhaps?
I rarely go to London now.
And how is George?
He's like all children.
He has the worst aspects
of both his parents.
his parents' virtues?
He's cursed with those as well.
I am...
very lonely, Siggy.
Is it agony?
One does hope so.
George has an independent mind,
which sometimes
shocks Siegfried.
It isn't independence,
it's wilfulness.
Who's died?
All of us.
George, the pipe
was not a good idea.
Looks as if it's smoking you.
Old silver tongue.
We could do without the smoke.
OLDER HESTER: Tea, darling?
No, thank you, Mother.
Thank you for the tea.
George will see you out.
- Goodbye.
- OLDER HESTER: Goodbye.
- Charming as ever.
But there's still malice
at the edge of his voice,
as there always was.
Sometimes, Siegfried,
it's more humane
to be kind than to be honest.
He constantly goaded
my jealousy.
It was like being killed
by degrees.
He once told me
he thought you were matchless.
We are unique only to the
people who really loathe us.
HESTER: Will you come
to dinner tonight at Mother's?
She'd have invited God
if she thought He'd come.
I'm uncomfortable
with all that distinction.
I'm not at all an intellectual,
I have a very cumbersome mind.
Oh, please come.
Max Beerbohm said he
might drop in for a drink.
- Then I shall come.
Just to hear Max's
delectable gossip.
You know, he, er... (LAUGHS)
He once described TS Elliot as
"Poor old Tom
who sits there ironically
an empty sardine tin."
Well, you better
get your skates on,
and I better get my glad rags
out of mothballs.
Now don't miss me
too much, all right?
MAN: Bye!
Goodbye, darlings!
No welcome?
No bunting?
Not even, "You're looking
frightfully well, Stephen."
Am I going to get
the silent treatment?
Or are we going to conduct
the rest of this conversation
entirely in Braille?
Beware the wrath
of a patient man.
STEPHEN: Who said that?
Confucius, I think.
On one of his better days.
Well, if you're going to get
all profound on me,
perhaps you could throw in
Ol' Man River as a bonus.
How was Bavaria?
Did your companion stay long?
Long enough.
And what did you do, Stephen?
Apart from cough?
I... Ooh, what's the phrase?
I lived life to the full.
- All three of you?
- Yes.
It's called troilism, I believe.
- Or an orgy.
- Yes.
That's probably more accurate,
but I won't go into detail.
You know how discreet I am
in these matters.
My spies tell me you've been
seeing a lot of Hester Gatty.
Hester Gatty's been seeing
a lot of me.
I'm beginning to see the light.
A new, secretive you.
Surely you're not jealous?
Of course not.
Now we can all
be girls together.
Like Roedean.
Have you slept with her?
Our relationship is as deep
as it is decorous.
I've even bought myself
some passion-killing pyjamas.
Are you going to marry her?
Yes, I think I probably shall.
You'll make
a vile partner, Siggy.
Perhaps, but then I have
been taught by a master.
You'll be taking a great risk.
I'll be taking the same risk
I took with you.
Couldn't be much worse.
May even be better.
I can see years ahead
for both of you.
Filled with passionless silences
and compulsory cocoa at bedtime.
Oh, by the way,
as we intend to be
living in the country,
I'll be giving up the lease
on this flat.
I didn't want to leave you
in the dark unnecessarily.
But once we've found a house,
you'll have to move out.
That sounds almost
like a threat.
It almost is.
So you're going to throw baby's
little body out into
the cold, cold snow?
No, not immediately, no.
We'll wait for warmer weather.
OLDER HESTER: Can I get you
anything before I leave?
I'll write
once I get to Scotland.
I said I'll write once...
I heard you. I'm trying
to listen to the radio.
- Shall I phone?
- No!
What time's your train, Mother?
Not for an hour.
We've got plenty of time
to get to the station.
I'll come back for you later.
ROBERT: Remember,
marry in haste,
repent at leisure.
I was shocked
when you got married
and for exactly the same reason.
And now it's my turn
to be shocked.
I have given you all a bit
of a surprise, haven't I?
- Who's officiating?
- Er, Canon Gay.
- Ah.
Oh, I'm sorry, Lawrence,
have you met Glen Byam Shaw?
Glen this is TE Lawrence.
Of Arabia?
(CHUCKLES) Not recently.
Are you sure you know
what you're doing?
I think so.
In the end, we few,
we happy few
are always exogamous.
Christ, what does that mean?
To marry outside
of one's tribe or group.
Do you specialise in using
words no one understands?
Yes. It's my revenge on people
who don't know
what exogamous means.
Have you chosen any music?
Oh, I'm disappointed.
I thought we'd get something
English and dismal.
What are you doing here?
Hester invited me.
I'm her maid of hon our.
PRIEST: The vows that you
are about to take
are to be made
in the presence of God,
who is the judge of all
and knows all the secrets
of our hearts.
Therefore, if either of you
know any reason
why you may not lawfully marry,
you must declare it now.
SIEGFRIED: How are you?
Just very tired.
Is there anything I can get you?
Have you thought of a name?
HESTER: I thought
we might call him George.
My whole future depends on him.
You once said that about me.
Do you want to hold him?
...with homes that are rented
So I have invented my own
Darling, this place
is a lover's oasis
Where life's weary chase
is unknown...
I'm very happy.
And this is the reason.
Cosy to hide in
To live side by side in
Don't let it abide in my dream
Picture me upon your knee
Just tea for two and two for tea
Just me for you and you for me
Nobody near us
to see us or hear us
No friends or relations
on weekend vacations
We won't have it known, dear
That we own a telephone, dear
Day will break and I'll awake
And start to bake a sugar cake
For you to take
for all the boys to see
We will raise a family
A boy for you, a girl for me
Oh, can't you see
How happy we would be?
How beautifully blue the sky.
The glass is rising very high.
Continue fine I hope it may.
And yet it rained but yesterday.
Tomorrow, it may pour again.
I hear the country
needs some rain.
I stood with the dead.
SIEGFRIED: Come down
from Heaven to meet me
when my breath chokes.
And through drumming shafts
of stifling death
I stumble towards escape,
to find the door opening on morn
where I may breathe once more
clear cock-crow airs
across some valley
dim with whispering trees.
While dawn along the rim
of night's horizon
flows in lakes of fire,
come down from
Heaven's bright hill,
my song's desire.
Belov'd and faithful,
teach my soul to wake
in glades deep-ranked
with flowers that gleam
and shake and flock
your paths with wonder.
In your gaze, show me,
the vanquished vigil of my days.
Mute in that golden silence
hung with green,
come down from Heaven
and bring me in your eyes
remembrance of all beauty
that has been.
And stillness from
the pools of Paradise.
rising the voices
of the muffled dead.
Are you going to keep
this silence up
for the rest of the day?
Look, I brought you
down to London
because I was worried about you!
- I'm fine.
- No, you're not!
There was no food
in the house! No heating!
And you were sitting there
in the dark
like a Protestant bishop!
- I can manage!
- No, you can't!
If you're going to sulk,
I'm going upstairs.
Turn that rubbish off!
GEORGE: I'll do as I like!
It's my house!
- It's my music!
- That isn't music!
It's commercially
grotesque noise
made by stupid people
for stupid people!
don't be so bigoted!
MAN: The official numbers
of those killed
in the First World War.
The United Kingdom
and its colonies:
France: 1,697,798.
Germany: 2,476,897.
Austria-Hungary: 1,567,202.
Russia: 3,311,251...
the statistics of catastrophe.
Yet from Prime to Compline,
life goes slowly on.
Are you thinking great thoughts?
Just sitting here being petty.
Trying to understand
the enigma of other people.
So many have died.
Too many.
Most people live for the moment.
You live for eternity.
- Don't say that.
- Why not?
Because I'm afraid
I might believe it.
I would have liked to have
been recognised, though.
In some significant way
for my work.
Eliot got the Order of Merit
and the Nobel Prize.
I've had to make do with
the Queen's Award for Poetry.
But Sir Siegfried Sassoon,
it would have been nice.
- Despite all the sibilants.
- Oh, Father.
How can you be seduced by
all that Ruritanian nonsense?
The greatest argument against
Damehoods and Knighthoods is...
Just look at the people
who've got them.
Why do you hate
the modern world, Father?
Because it's younger than I am.
Well, you've got to bathe
and change.
We're going to the theatre,
Do I have to?
Yes, you promised.
Besides, it's a witty
and elegant score.
Even you might enjoy it.
I'm sorry I shouted.
It's... So am I.
My mother said I never should
Play with the young man
in the wood
If I did, she would say
"Naughty little girl to disobey"
I'm a typically English rose
But born of typically
English stock
With a typically Anglo-Saxon
family tree
I received my education
from a typically English way
In a typically
English girl's academy
I play typically English tennis
At a typically English club
With my typically
English feelings for fair play
I eat typically English crumpets
With my typically English tea
At the end
of every typically English day
Father is a typically
English colonel
Home is a typically
English county town
Mummy and I play
typically English patients
As the typically English rain
is pouring down
With a typically English spaniel
Who likes typically
English walks
Cause there's typically
English trees
Upon the heath
And if anyone asked me
How I like
this typically English life
I am fed up
to my typically English tea
Shall we take a cab?
No, I'll walk home.
Are you sure?
It's getting very chilly.
I'd rather walk.
WILFRED: Perhaps my latest
effort will please you.
It's called Disabled.
I'll come and get you.
Thank you.
in a wheeled chair,
waiting for dark
and shivered in his ghastly
suit of grey, legless,
sewn short at elbow.
Through the park,
voices of boys rang
saddening like a hymn.
Voices of play and pleasure
after day.
Till gathering sleep
had mothered them from him.
About this time,
town used to swing so gay
when glow-lamps budded
in the light blue trees,
and girls glanced lovelier
as the air grew dim
in the old times,
before we threw away his knees.
Now he will never feel again
how slim girls' waists are
or how warm their subtle hands.
All of them touch him
like some queer disease.
There was an artist
silly for his face,
for it was younger
than his youth, last year.
Now he is old,
his back will never brace.
He's lost his colour
very far from here.
Poured it down shell-holes
till the veins ran dry,
and half his lifetime lapsed
in the hot race.
And leap of purple
spurted from his thigh.
One time he liked
a blood-smear down his leg,
after the matches
carried shoulder-high.
It was after football
when he'd drunk a peg,
he thought he'd better join.
He wonders why.
Someone had said
he'd looked a god in kilts.
That's why.
And maybe, too,
to please his Meg.
Aye, that was it,
to please the giddy jilts,
he'd asked to join.
He didn't have to beg.
Smiling they wrote his lie:
aged 19 years.
Germans he scarcely
thought of, all their guilt,
and Austria's, did not move him.
And no fears of fear came yet.
He thought of jewel led hilts
for daggers in plaid socks,
of smart salutes,
and care of arms, and leave,
and pay arrears,
esprit de corps,
and hints for young recruits.
And soon, he was drafted out
with drums and cheers.
Some cheered him home,
but not as crowds cheer goal.
Only a solemn man who brought
him fruits thanked him.
And then inquired
about his soul.
Now he will spend a few
sick years in institutes
and do what things
the rules consider wise,
and take whatever pity
they may dole.
Tonight he noticed
how women's eyes
passed from him to the
strong men who were whole.
How cold and late it is.
Why don't they come
and put him into bed?
Why don't they come?