Hilaire Belloc

(27 July 1870 – 16 July 1953 / La Celle-Saint-Cloud)

Charles Augustus Fortescue


The nicest child I ever knew
Was Charles Augustus Fortescue.
He never lost his cap, or tore
His stockings or his pinafore:
In eating Bread he made no Crumbs,
He was extremely fond of sums,

To which, however, he preferred
The Parsing of a Latin Word--
He sought, when it was within his power,
For information twice an hour,

And as for finding Mutton-Fat
Unappatising, far from that!
He often, at his Father's Board,
Would beg them, of his own accord,

To give him, if they did not mind,
The Greasiest Morsels they could find--
His Later Years did not belie
The Promise of his Infancy.
In Public Life he always tried
To take a judgement Broad and Wide;

In Private, none was more than he
Renowned for quiet courtesy.
He rose at once in his Career,
And long before hus Fortieth Year

Had wedded Fifi, Only Child
Of Bunyan, First Lord Aberfylde.
He thus became immensely Rich,
And built the Splendid Mansion which

Is called The Cedars, Muswell Hill,
Where he resides in affluence still,
To show what everybody might
Become by SIMPLY DOING RIGHT.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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  • John Cake (2/23/2012 12:51:00 AM)

    Dear Mr. Ian Fraser,

    What do you mean by readable? What do you mean by impossible Fortescue? What do you mean by rather well for himself? What do you mean by what is the point? Your question can be answered if you answer all of my questions.

    If you are not good yourself, of course you will believe it is impossible to be good. Not everyone has the same definition of doing well. Not everyone has the same definition of what is readable. Not everyone cares for finding the same point. In short, you assume too much. From what facts have you deduced the possibility of irony? (Report) Reply

  • Ian Fraser (2/28/2010 5:08:00 PM)

    I agree Belloc is very readable. The problem I find with him is that it is very difficult to decide to what extent he is being ironical, the impossible Fortescue seems to have done rather well for himself! Is that the point? ? (Report) Reply

  • Louise Mcvicar (9/10/2005 3:13:00 AM)

    I am quite fond of this Author's style. This one is so short and sweet but It has such wonderful rythym you just want to share it with someone. (Report) Reply

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