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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Tuesday, 18 September 2018

The Four Men by Hilaire Belloc Performed at the Capitol Theatre, Horsham on Thursday 26th October 2017...





The opening lines, with their almost Virgilian strain, give one a sense of the whole:

''My country, it has been proved in the life of every man that though his loves are human, and therefore changeable, yet in proportion as he attaches them to things unchangeable, so they mature and broaden.On this account, Dear Sussex, are those women chiefly dear to men who, as the seasons pass, do but continue to be more and more themselves, attain balance, and abandon or forget vicissitude. And on this account, Sussex, does man love an old house, which was his father’s, and on this account does a man come to love with all his heart, that part of earth which nourished his boyhood. For it does not change, or if it changes, it changes very little, and he finds in it the character of enduring things.''

On one level, Belloc sought to capture an aspect of southern English rural culture that was fast fading even in his day. On another, deeper, level The Four Men reveals a Christianized pagan melancholy and resignation.