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 3 September 2013

Cautionary Tales for Children: Designed for the Admonition of Children between the ages of eight and fourteen years...

Before I set up the Hilaire Belloc blog I sought advice from people who know far, far more more about Belloc than I do. One of the sages, I consulted, suggesting avoiding 'Distributism' and the 'Cautionary Verses'. This was not so much because these things are not interesting, but because those of us who are Bellocians hear so much about them that they almost detract from the substance of his writings. So, I have held off for over two years. But now I must subject at least one person to a charming You Tube rendition of 'Matilda'. Not least because we did recite some of the Verses at Belloc's grave (during the recent 'Belloc Day' in West Grinstead):

The Cautionary Verses are still in print which, of course, testifies to their enduring appeal. I suppose they are a good example of Belloc in populist mode: using a specific genre to popularise a basic moral code of conduct with his inventive little twists.

1 comment:

  1. We had intended you to be/The next Prime Minister but three...