Noel Coward

Noel Coward

Noel Coward was born in Teddington on 16th December, 1899. Coward began acting at the age of 12 and appeared in Peter Pan in 1913. His first play was produced in 1917. However, it was the play, I'll Leave It to You (1920) that first brought him national recognition. This was followed by The Vortex (1924), Hay Fever (1925) and This Year of Grace (1928).

Coward was also a singer who wrote his own music. His operetta Bitter Sweet, was produced in 1929. Other popular plays and musicals included Private Lives (1930), Cavalcade (1931) and Words and Music (1932), which featured his most famous song, Mad Dogs and Englishmen. Coward also published an autobiography, Present Indicative in 1937.

Other popular songs by Coward include Poor Little Rich Girl, A Room With a View, Dance Little Lady, Someday I'll Find You, Alexander's Ragtime Band, Mrs Worthington, Mad About the Boy, London Pride and Don't Let's Be Beastly to the Germans, a song that was banned by the BBC for being pro-German.

During the Second World War Coward began to write film scripts. This included In Which We Serve (1942), Blithe Spirit (1945) and Brief Encounter (1945).

After the war Coward published a second volume of autobiography, Future Indefinite (1954) and wrote several plays and musicals There Are Bad Times Just Around the Corner (1952), Nude With Violin (1956) and Sail Away (1961).

Noel Coward died in Port Maria, Jamaica, on 26th March, 1973.

Primary Sources

(1) Noel Coward, Don't Let's Be Beastly to the Germans (1943)


We must be kind

And with an open mind

We must endeavour to find

A way -

To let the Germans know that when the war is over

They are not the ones who'll have to pay.

We must be sweet

And tactful and discreet

And when they've suffered defeat

We mustn't let

Them feel upset

Or ever get

The feeling that we're cross with them or hate them,

Our future policy must be to reinstate them.

Refrain 1

Don't let's be beastly to the Germans

When our victory is ultimately won,

It was just those nasty Nazis who persuaded them to fight

And their Beethoven and Bach are really far worse than their bite

Let's be meek to them-

And turn the other cheek to them

And try to bring out their latent sense of fun.

Let's give them full air parity

And treat the rats with charity,

But don't let's be beastly to the Hun.

Verse 2

We must be just

And win their love and trust

And in addition we must

Be wise

And ask the conquered lands to join our hands to aid them.

That would be a wonderful surprise.

For many years-

They've been in floods of tears

Because the poor little dears

Have been so wronged and only longed

To cheat the world,

Deplete the world

And beat

The world to blazes.

This is the moment when we ought to sing their praises.

Refrain 2

Don't let's be beastly to the Germans

When we've definately got them on the run

Let us treat them very kindly as we would a valued friend

We might send them out some Bishops as a form of lease and lend,

Let's be sweet to them

And day by day repeat to them

That 'sterilization' simply isn't done.

Let's help the dirty swine again

To occupy the Rhine again,

But don't let's be beastly to the Hun.

Refrain 3

Don't let's be beastly to the Germans

When the age of peace and plenty has begun.

We must send them steel and oil and coal and everything they need

For their peaceable intentions can be always guaranteed.

Let's employ with them a sort of 'strength through joy' with them,

They're better than us at honest manly fun.

Let's let them feel they're swell again and bomb us all to hell again,

But don't let's be beastly to the Hun.

Refrain 4

Don't let's be beastly to the Germans

For you can't deprive a gangster of his gun

Though they've been a little naughty to the Czechs and Poles and Dutch

But I don't suppose those countries really minded very much

Let's be free with them and share the B.B.C. with them.

We mustn't prevent them basking in the sun.

Let's soften their defeat again - and build their bloody fleet again,

But don't let's be beastly to the Hun.