We must all be very kind to auntie Jessie,
and encourage her to see the sunny side,
it isn’t kind to rush at her
and hurl the blacking brush at her,
it’s things like this that trample on her pride,
don’t molest her with a pail of icy water,
if when wandering at night she chanced to roam,
Though the attic stairs are steep
death comes peacefully in sleep
and charity we hope begins at home.
Noël Coward, “We Must All Be Very Kind to Auntie
Jessie.” Born fifteen days before the century turned,
Coward began acting professionally at the age of twelve
and established himself as a playwright with the drama
The Vortex in 1924. He starred in the Broadway version
of his musical Bitter Sweet in 1929; the following year
he wrote one of his most famous comedies, Private lives.
He played the secret agent in the Carol Reed-Graham
Greene film Our man in Havana in 1959. Coward
died in Jamaica in 1973.