The poet, essayist, MP, irascible Catholic, Hilaire Belloc was born on July 27, 1870 in France but became a British subject in 1902.
There are so many aspects to Belloc's life, some less pleasant than others that only a very long posting would do anything like justice to the man. It seems wrong on his birthday to do anything but to celebrate him as a poet but it is difficult to decide on the poems, those well-known and delightful children's ones or one of the West Sussex ones?
As this is the Conservative History blog, perhaps one should stick to the political poems, few of whom are better than Lord Lundy [scroll down], who
from his earliest yearsWell, we know what happened to Lord Lundy:
Was far too freely moved to Tears.
It happened to Lord Lundy then,It was that terrible tendency to be far too freely moved to tears.
As happens to so many men:
Towards the age of twenty-six,
They shoved him into politics;
In which profession he commanded
The Income that his rank demanded
In turn as Secretary for
India, the Colonies, and War.
But very soon his friends began
To doubt is he were quite the man:
They let him sink from Post to Post,What could be more conservative and, therefore, anti-utopian and anti-political than Belloc's famous quatrain about an election:
From fifteen hundred at the most
To eight, and barely six--and then
To be Curator of Big Ben!. . .
And finally there came a Threat
To oust him from the Cabinet!
The Duke -- his aged grand-sire -- bore
The shame till he could bear no more.
He rallied his declining powers,
Summoned the youth to Brackley Towers,
And bitterly addressed him thus--
"Sir! you have disappointed us!
We had intended you to be
The next Prime Minister but three:
The stocks were sold; the Press was squared:
The Middle Class was quite prepared.
But as it is! . . . My language fails!
Go out and govern New South Wales!"
The accursed power which stands on PrivilegeReaders of the blog may well have other favourites. They are welcome to post them.
(And goes with Women, and Champagne and Bridge)
Broke and Democracy resumed her reign:
(Which goes with Bridge, and Women and Champagne)