Friday, 4 November 2011

The Grotesque Englishman - Daniel Defoe

Thus from a mixture of all kinds began,
That het'rogeneous thing, an Englishman:
In eager rapes, and furious lust begot
Betwixt a painted Britain and a Scot.
Whose gend'ring off-spring quickly learn'd to bow,
And yoke their heifers to the Roman plough:
From whence a mongrel half-bred race there came,
With neither name, nor nation, speech nor fame.
In whose hot veins new mixtures quickly ran,
Infus'd betwixt a Saxon and a Dane
While their rank daughters, to their parents just,
Receiv'd all nations with promiscuous lust.
This nauseous brood directly did contain
The well-extracted blood of Englishmen.

from The True-Born Englishman by Daniel Defoe (1701). He was also the author of one of the earliest British novels Robinson Crusoe.

Origins of Man
"I only infer that an Englishman, of all men, ought not to despise foreigners as such, and I think the inference is just, since what they are to-day, we were yesterday, and to-morrow they will be like us. If foreigners misbehave in their several stations and employments, I have nothing to do with that; the laws are open to punish them equally with natives, and let them have no favour. But when I see the town full of lampoons and invectives against Dutchmen only because they are foreigners, and the King reproached and insulted by insolent pedants, and ballad-making poets for employing foreigners, and for being a foreigner himself, I confess myself moved by it to remind our nation of their own original, thereby to let them see what a banter is put upon ourselves in it, since, speaking of Englishmen ab origine, we are really all foreigners ourselves." 

See, Daniel Defoe's Explanatory Preface in A true collection of the writings of the author of the True Born English-man (1703)

Another version of the Englishman represents him as a Lord of the Country; as a Colonial Master; as a Trader; as a Slave Owner.

Andrew Selkirk - Robinson Crusoe & Man Friday

Two Englishmen dressed for hunting

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