Act 1. Overture / Why Can't The English
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Henry Look at her, a prisoner of the gutter, Condemned by every syllable she ever uttered. By law she should be taken out and hung, For the cold-blooded murder of the English tongue. Eliza Aaoooww! Henry imitating her Aaoooww! Heaven's! What a noise! This is what the British population, Calls an elementary education. Pickering Oh, Counsel, I think you picked a poor example. Henry Did I? Hear them down in Soho square, Dropping "h's" everywhere. Speaking English anyway they like. You sir, did you go to school? Man Wadaya tike me for, a fool? Henry No one taught him 'take' instead of 'tike! Why can't the English teach their children how to speak? This verbal class distinction, by now, Should be antique. If you spoke as she does, sir, Instead of the way you do, Why, you might be selling flowers, too! Hear a Yorkshireman, or worse, Hear a Cornishman converse, I'd rather hear a choir singing flat. Chickens cackling in a barn Just like this one! Eliza Garn! Henry I ask you, sir, what sort of word is that? It's "Aoooow" and "Garn" that keep her in her place. Not her wretched clothes and dirty face. Why can't the English teach their children how to speak? This verbal class distinction by now should be antique. If you spoke as she does, sir, Instead of the way you do, Why, you might be selling flowers, too. An Englishman's way of speaking absolutely classifies him, The moment he talks he makes some other Englishman despise him. One common language I'm afraid we'll never get. Oh, why can't the English learn to set A good example to people whose English is painful to your ears? The Scotch and the Irish leave you close to tears. There even are places where English completely Disappears. In America, they haven't used it for years! Why can't the English teach their children how to speak? Norwegians learn Norwegian; the Greeks have taught their Greek. In France every Frenchman knows His language fro "A" to "Zed" The French never care what they do, actually, As long as they pronounce in properly. Arabians learn Arabian with the speed of summer lightning. And Hebrews learn it backwards, Which is absolutely frightening. But use proper English you're regarded as a freak. Why can't the English, Why can't the English learn to speak?
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