"HOW TO GET ON IN SOCIETY" (1958), BY JOHN BETJEMAN

A devastatingly witty poem in which Betjeman mocks the nouveau riche middle class. The narrator is shockingly pretentious, yet uses a vulgar vocabulary. The final stanza provides the final evidence that, pronounced correctly, scone should rhyme with "gone".

Phone for the fish-knives, Norman,
As Cook is a little unnerved;
You kiddies have crumpled the serviettes
And I must have things daintily served.

Are the requisites all in the toilet?
The frills round the cutlets can wait
Till the girl has replenished the cruets
And switched on the logs in the grate.

It's ever so close in the lounge, dear,
But the vestibule's comfy for tea,
And Howard is out riding on horseback,
So do come and take some with me.

Now here is a fork for your pastries,
And do use the couch for your feet;
I know what I wanted to ask you —
Is trifle sufficient for sweet?

Milk and then just as it comes, dear?
I'm afraid the preserve's full of stones;
Beg pardon I'm soiling the doileys
With afternoon tea-cakes and scones.

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