I remember, I remember when my world was hardly grown
And the daughter of a dead dull king ascended to the throne
And though I was just a lad at school, I saw it all with scorn
The solemn, sacred emptiness, the monumental yawn
And the slime exuding daily from the sycophantic slugs
And the Coronation ash trays and the Coronation mugs
And the rows of ermined mummies with their maggot-eaten brains
All the swarms of bloated blowflies the majestic turd sustains.
Droves of decorated duchesses like newly painted slums
Kneeling flunkeys, praying monkeys, loyal holes for royal crumbs
And the well-heeled sharks discreetly selling tickets for the show
Park Lane balconies with champagne at a thousand quid a throw.
Come and cheer the golden fairy Queen, forget your daily cares
For she radiates a glory that a grateful nation shares
And the pageantry, the panoply, the sanctified decay –
But I knew the hour was coming that would sweep it all away.
Now time has me in a corner and I’m moth-eared from the fray
But Her Majesty is reigning still today.
With a glass cage around her and an absence in her eyes
And though regiments surround her, they can’t take her by surprise
She’s as poised as a picture, she’s a sight for all to see
With a glass cage around her on her Silver Jubilee
with a glass cage around her she feels free.
I remember 1956, division East and West
British paratroops in Suez, Russian tanks in Budapest
And the peaceful marchers singing for the dream that must come true
Of a world freed from the nightmare we’ve since grown accustomed to
And the Cuban missile crisis with the rumours flying round
That the Queen was in her secret bomb-proof palace underground
And the violence exploding when anger made a stand
For a peasant people burning in a torn and tortured land.
And the Monarch walked her corgis behind the palace wall
Never once betraying what she felt or if she felt at all.
While her husband shot his mouth off like a walking blunderbuss
She gave birth to royal children with the minimum of fuss
Maintained her waxwork dignity as she trod the royal dance
Fulfilled her royal functions in a kind of royal trance
Balmoral, Ascot, Sandringham, the ship launching routine,
Palace banquets, garden parties ever smiling and serene
Unique symbol, model woman, never seeing, always seen
so we watched her as she played at being Queen.
With a glass cage around her etc.
She seems so commonplace a woman in her fuddy-duddy hats
But she doesn’t stand in bus queues or live in high-rise flats
And she doesn’t ride the rush hour or cycle down the Strand
And she doesn’t play maraccas in the Ivy Benson band.
And she doesn’t shop for bargains, she’s never on the dole
And if she does the football pools she doesn’t tell a soul.
And she never used to bother with the Inland Revenue
Though she’s royally rewarded for the things she doesn’t do
With palaces and properties and to keep her in good cheer
A working wage of 36.7 million pounds a year
A royal train, a royal plane, a costly royal yacht
And lucrative investments in only God knows what.
Oh the magic of the monarchy, the mystery sublime
Growing gracefully and effortlessly richer all the time.
She’s the rock of hope and glory in the quicksand of despair
For although the pound may tumble, although panic fills the air
Although governments may crumble and the cupboard’s nearly bare
Though the stairs begin to rattle and the rats begin to stare
She enfolds in mystic unity her subjects everywhere
And we know we’re safe from harm while Nanny’s there.
With a glass cage etc.