Hilaire Belloc

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

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The Frog


Be kind and tender to the Frog,
And do not call him names,
As 'Slimy skin,' or 'Polly-wog,'
Or likewise 'Ugly James,'
Or 'Gap-a-grin,' or 'Toad-gone-wrong,'
Or 'Bill Bandy-knees':
The Frog is justly sensitive
To epithets like these.

No animal will more repay
A treatment kind and fair;
At least so lonely people say
Who keep a frog (and, by the way,
They are extremely rare).

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002
Edited: Friday, November 11, 2011

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  • Kanniappan Kanniappan (2/28/2014 11:00:00 PM)

    One big frog used to climb
    the front stairs and stays
    under the stair case.

    When I tap with a stick,
    it decently withdraws backward
    under the small gap of the gate! (Report) Reply

  • Francis Lynch (2/28/2014 6:29:00 AM)

    Somebody didn't like Belloc's take on a frog, and he turned it into an anti-racist poem. Big tongue, little cheek. It's no coincidence that the French are called Frogs. (Report) Reply

  • Paul Reed (2/28/2014 2:43:00 AM)

    How perceptive to pick such an unlikely subject and be so sympathetic and humorous whilst keeping an admirable rhythm to the piece. (Report) Reply

  • Carlos Echeverria (2/28/2012 2:52:00 PM)

    Brilliantly, Belloc uses condescending verse (ostensibly, a children's poem) to teach adults a life lesson. (Report) Reply

  • Terence George Craddock (2/28/2010 7:09:00 AM)

    An alluring poem for children, drawing them in with a tale of the fabled frog. The immediate catch line ‘Be kind and tender to the Frog, ’ and instructing children not to call the frog names, then teaching six names to call the frog, is delightfully exciting for children. Yet as the French are often referred to by the English as the frog, and the French are passionate and take offense at the nickname, a more serious meaning is implied. The truth is, as mothers’ teach their children not to call others names, the poem is an adult reminder, not to call others insulting names; implied in an elevated entertaining, child’s rhyme is witty and wonderfully done. (Report) Reply

  • Joseph Poewhit (2/28/2010 2:07:00 AM)

    An eccentric type pet, reflecting the nature of the owner. Though kids around the pond, find them sport to catch. (Report) Reply

  • Indira Renganathan (2/28/2010 1:41:00 AM)

    Straight with so much care on the frog...but The dictionary gives one more meaning to the word frog as 'a decorative loop of braid or cord '...somebody else might find some different meaning too as I guess...nice to read (Report) Reply

  • Rm Salzmann (8/9/2006 12:19:00 PM)

    To Philippa Lane:

    Tarantella


    Do you remember an Inn,
    Miranda?
    Do you remember an Inn?
    And the tedding and the bedding
    Of the straw for a bedding,
    And the fleas that tease in the High Pyrenees,
    And the wine that tasted of tar?
    And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers
    (Under the vine of the dark veranda) ?
    Do you remember an Inn, Miranda,
    Do you remember an Inn?
    And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers
    Who hadn't got a penny,
    And who weren't paying any,
    And the hammer at the doors and the din?
    And the hip! hop! hap!
    Of the clap
    Of the hands to the swirl and the twirl
    Of the girl gone chancing,
    Glancing,
    Dancing,
    Backing and advancing,
    Snapping of the clapper to the spin
    Out and in-
    And the ting, tong, tang of the guitar!
    Do you remember an Inn,
    Miranda?
    Do you remember an Inn?

    Never more;
    Miranda,
    Never more.
    Only the high peaks hoar;
    And Aragon a torrent at the door.
    No sound
    In the walls of the halls where falls
    The tread
    Of the feet of the dead to the ground,
    No sound:
    But the boom
    Of the far waterfall like doom.

    Hilaire Belloc (Report) Reply

  • Philippa Lane (2/28/2006 4:13:00 AM)

    Hilaire Belloc is one of my most favourite poets. I loved The Frog, but it is not, in my opinion, one of his better poems. I am trying to find 'Tarantilla' by Hilaire Belloc, which he wrote when in the Pyranees. It is a wonderful example of onomatopoeia. Has anyone a copy of this they could send to me? (Report) Reply

Read all 12 comments »

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