Hilaire Belloc bought King's Land (in Shipley, Sussex), 5 acres and a working windmill for £1000 in 1907 and it was his home for the rest of his life. Belloc loved Sussex as few other writers have loved her: he lived there for most of his 83 years, he tramped the length and breadth of the county, slept under her hedgerows, drank in her inns, sailed her coast and her rivers and wrote several incomparable books about her. "He does not die that can bequeath Some influence to the land he knows, Or dares, persistent, interwreath Love permanent with the wild hedgerows; He does not die, but still remains Substantiate with his darling plains."

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Friday, 16 December 2011

Christmas with Belloc...

The following ditty can be found in The Four Men: Belloc's imaginary ramble across the, then, largely unspoilt Sussex of 1902. The men in question represent different aspects of HB's character. Grizzlebeard for some, but not for me, represents the least appealing facet of Belloc's personality. His alternative Xmas song represents, in my view, one of the funniest things that he wrote. Anyhow, if you have crossed anyone off your Xmas card list this year you might consider the following alternative festive greeting: 

Noël! Noël! Noël! Noël!
A Catholic tale have I to tell!
And a Christian song have I to sing
While all the bells in Arundel ring.

I pray good beef and I pray good beer
This holy night of all the year,
But I pay detestable drink for them
That give no honour to Bethlehem.

May all good fellows that here agree
Drink Audit Ale in heaven with me
And may all my enemies go to hell!
Noël! Noël! Noël! Noël!
May all my enemies go to hell!
Noël! Noël!


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