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A Welshman and an Englishman disputed
Which of their lands maintained the greatest state;
The Englishman the Welshman quite confuted
Yet would the Welshman naught his brags abate.
"Ten cooks," quoth he, "In Wales one wedding sees."
"True," quoth the other, "each man toasts his cheese.
--Henry Parrot, c1613

All that I heard him say of it was, that instead of bleak and
barren mountains, there were green and fertile ones; and that one of
the castles in Wales would contain all the castles that he had seen in Scotland.
--James Boswell, quoting Dr. Johnson, in _Life of Johnson_

Each section of the British Isles has its own way of laughing, except Wales which doesn't.
--Stephen Leacock, 1935

There are still parts of Wales where the only concession to gaity is a striped shroud.
--Gwyn Thomas, _Punch_ 18 June 1958

I can still remember Dylan Thomas, drunk as a lord, yelling scornfully in the streets of Soho: "Land of my fathers! They can
bloody well keep it!"
--James Kirkup, c1953

They value themselves much upon their antiquity: The antient race of their houses, and families, and the like; and above all, upon their antient heroes: their King Caractacus Owen ap Tudor, Prince
Lewellin, and the like noblemen and princes of British extraction; and as they believe their country to be the pleasantest and most agreeable in the world, so you cannot oblige them more, than to make them think you believe so too.
--Daniel Defoe, _A Tour through the Whole Island of Great Britain_, 1724-7.

FLUELLEN: Your majesty says very true: if your majesties is remembered of it, the Welshmen did good service in a garden where leeks did grow, wearing leeks in their Monmouth caps; which, your majesty know, to this hour is an honourable badge of the service; and I do believe your majesty takes no scorn to wear the leek
upon Saint Tavy's day.
KING HENRY V: I wear it for a memorable honour;
For I am Welsh, you know, good countryman.
--Shakespeare, Henry V

Hooray for English culture
To Wales it's such a blessing
Tuneless songs and tasteless jokes
And blowsy bags undressing.
--Harri Webb, 1969

Rene Cutforth said that the Welsh were Mediterraneans in the rain.
--Nancy Banks-Smith, in _The Guardian_, 17 October 1979

The way to make a Welch-man thirst for blisse
And say his prayers on his knees:
Is to perswade him, that most certaine 'tis,
The Moone is made of nothing but greene Cheese.
And hee'l desire of God no greater boone,
But place in heaven to feed upon the Moone.
--John Taylor, _All the Works of John Taylor_, 1630

Sais Sais y gach yn ei bais,
Y Cymro glan y gach allan.
(The Saxon shites in his breech,
The cleanly Briton in the hedge.)
--Old Welsh proverb


Those are great quotes! Thanks very much. Diolch yn fawr iawn!


This is very funny, unless you think it's serious. Anyway who does think it's serious should remember it's being said by a character, not by Waugh himself, who looked (and drank) remarkably like Dylan Thomas and whose name, as pointed out elsewhere on the blog, is the singular of "Welsh".


As an American I can say with absolute sincerity that I am not prejudiced against the Welsh. However I admit I love prejudiced rants of this kind -- it's so funny what people manage to be prejudiced against.

I'm a fan of Evelyn Waugh although he himself tended to rant a bit on other subjects.

Alexander Hay-Whitton

The quotation from Waugh has been a bit Bowdlerised.


Really? What's the real one? I copied it directly from the book—is there another one?

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  • Quotations from my commonplace book. Hope you find something interesting.

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