Hilaire Belloc

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

Rebecca Poem by Hilaire Belloc


Who Slammed Doors For Fun And Perished Miserably

A trick that everyone abhors
In little girls is slamming doors.
A wealthy banker's little daughter
Who lived in Palace Green, Bayswater
(By name Rebecca Offendort),
Was given to this furious sport.

She would deliberately go
And slam the door like billy-o!
To make her uncle Jacob start.
She was not really bad at heart,
But only rather rude and wild;
She was an aggravating child...

It happened that a marble bust
Of Abraham was standing just
Above the door this little lamb
Had carefully prepared to slam,
And down it came! It knocked her flat!
It laid her out! She looked like that.

Her funeral sermon (which was long
And followed by a sacred song)
Mentioned her virtues, it is true,
But dwelt upon her vices too,
And showed the deadful end of one
Who goes and slams the door for fun.

The children who were brought to hear
The awful tale from far and near
Were much impressed, and inly swore
They never more would slam the door,
-- As often they had done before.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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Comments about this poem (Rebecca by Hilaire Belloc )

  • Freshman - 762 Points Michelle Claus (5/19/2014 11:11:00 AM)

    Clever cautionary tale. (Report) Reply

  • Bronze Star - 2,841 Points Darlene Walsh (5/19/2014 6:35:00 AM)

    lol I was a door slammer when I was little, guess I'm luck to have survived. Very enjoyable poem :) (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 1,175 Points Paul Reed (5/19/2014 3:01:00 AM)

    In similar vein:
    Don't shut the door!
    I roared with vigour
    Watch your fingers
    They would swell bigger
    If trapped between door and stile
    It would remove the smile
    From your face, if so captured
    And you, no longer enraptured
    Would be in great pain
    So Don't shut the door!
    I yelled again (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Joshua Zwane (5/19/2012 9:09:00 PM)

    lovely write-a fun read (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Sujit Sinha (7/6/2010 12:35:00 PM)

    Amusing poem.

    However I cant help thinking
    How terribly wrong it was
    To place Abraham's bust on that wall (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Terence George Craddock (5/19/2010 10:57:00 AM)

    A very entertaining and humorous poem yet the lines
    ‘And down it came! It knocked her flat!
    It laid her out! She looked like that.’
    end weakly with the ambiguous ‘She looked like that.’ The poem would attain a more thrilling climax if continuity was maintained and the last line of this important stanza finished ‘It laid her out! Dead just like that! ’
    The contrast with the next stanza beginning ‘Her funeral sermon (which was long’ is then more fitting in relationship to the grim humour of her ‘deadful end’. (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 532 Points Juan Olivarez (5/19/2010 10:32:00 AM)

    Truly outstanding poem. It hits on all cylinders. The words flow like a gently flowing river and no one needs to guess at the meaning. No need to ponder and guess at meanings, it is all laid out for you, and besides it has a moral.Asolutely enchanting. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Adnan Khalifeh (5/19/2010 7:03:00 AM)

    Thanks God this poet died before making world more complicated. (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 586 Points Ramesh T A (5/19/2010 2:25:00 AM)

    When fun becomes serious it is death sure! Very good poem! (Report) Reply

  • Silver Star - 3,583 Points Is It Poetry (5/19/2009 12:56:00 PM)

    The doors i get slammed on me, have diffrent kinds of busts, the sport some get from this just leaves me miserable..i confess..iip..this fine gentleman understood the flux all to well.. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 13 Points Ravi A (5/19/2009 8:41:00 AM)

    Only from this poem I came to know that one of the hobbies of our children of yesteryears was slamming the doors! What a sad end for Rebecca! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Kevin Straw (5/19/2009 6:34:00 AM)

    Does anyone know what 'She looked like that' means. I like the way he partly lets off the children who slam doors with the last line. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 26 Points Joseph Poewhit (5/19/2009 6:24:00 AM)

    A child's folly and fun. Sort of like kids pulling the legs off bugs, to watch them stumble around and giggle to each other. Though the Lord says, vengence is mine, I will recompense. [ Guess GOD made good ]. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Diane Wade (5/19/2006 1:50:00 PM)

    Yes, it's a rhyming poem but there's plenty of emotional prose out there. I found this one to be great fun! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Will Barber (5/19/2006 2:17:00 AM)

    Unforseen consequences of our own mischief. Who has never wanted to quiet an unruly child? Who has never been unruly? We're all annoying, and wish the others would just disappear from time to time. Anyway, Belloc was quite a grumpy man. But his biographies are very perceptive - gems of literature. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Christian Eliab Ratnam (5/19/2005 11:55:00 PM)

    Yes I do agree this poem does remind me of Roald Dahl. Though I tend to appreciate more romantic, thought provoking, deep thinker poems I think this poem taught me something with a laugh. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Agata Konopka (5/19/2005 11:55:00 AM)

    I have to say it does remind me of ROALD Dahl but that is beside the point it probably has some deeper meaning but in the mean time is rather amusing. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Alex Robertson (5/19/2005 5:16:00 AM)

    it was okay -though i do know my expectations are a little to high. (hey, we all can't be Charles Bukowski.)

    It was a rythyming poem and i generly don't even go near them, and i was surprised that i didn't despise it, it had a messege in it. reminded me of Rould Dahl. (Report) Reply

Read all 18 comments »

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