In the film
The song serves as the introductory one as well as the leitmotif for George and is performed by him as he is walking home from work. It describes the punctual, efficient, but distant way in which he runs his household. Through it, he reveals that he likes order and consistency, going so far as to mention specific times for when events must happen. One lyric contains the only reference to the time period of the film, 1910 England under the rule of King Edward.
The song is later reprised several times. At one point, Mary Poppins sings a verse from it. It also appears near the end, in a much more somber tone. George performs it after he thinks that his dreams have been shattered.
George:I feel a surge of deep satisfaction
Much as a king astride his noble steed
When I return from daily strife to heart and wife
How pleasant is the life I lead!
Winifred: [Spoken] Dear, it's about the children...
George: Yes, yes, yes!
I run my home precisely on schedule
At 6:01, I march through my door
My slippers, sherry, and pipe are due at 6:02
Consistent is the life I lead!
Winifred: [Spoken] George, they're missing...
George: That's splendid, splendid
It's grand to be an Englishman in 1910
King Edward's on the throne; it's the age of men
I'm the lord of my castle, the sov'reign, the liege!
I treat my subjects: servants, children, wife
With a firm but gentle hand, noblesse oblige!
It's 6:03 and the heirs to my dominion
Are scrubbed and tubbed and adequately fed
And so I'll pat them on the head
And send them off to bed
Ah! Lordly is the life I lead!
A British nanny must be a gen'ral!
The future empire lies within her hands
And so the person that we need to mold the breed
Is a nanny who can give commands!
A British bank is run with precision
A British home requires nothing less!
Tradition, discipline, and rules must be the tools
Without them – disorder, catastrophe, anarchy!
In short, we have a ghastly mess!