By D.H. Lawrence
The English are so nice
so awfully nice
they are the nicest people in the world.
And what’s more, they’re very nice about being nice
about your being nice as well!
If you’re not nice they soon make you feel it.
Americans and French and Germans and so on
they’re all very well
but they’re not really nice, you know.
They’re not nice in our sense of the word, are they now?
That’s why one doesn’t have to take them seriously.
We must be nice to them, of course,
of course, naturally—
But it doesn’t really matter what you say to them,
they don’t really understand—
you can just say anything to them:
be nice, you know, just be nice
but you must never take them seriously, they wouldn’t understand.
Just be nice, you know! oh, fairly nice,
not too nice of course, they take advantage—
but nice enough, just nice enough
to let them feel they’re not quite as nice as they might be.