Charles Augustus Fortescue Poem by Hilaire Belloc

Charles Augustus Fortescue

Rating: 3.1

The nicest child I ever knew
Was Charles Augustus Fortescue.
He never lost his cap, or tore
His stockings or his pinafore:
In eating Bread he made no Crumbs,
He was extremely fond of sums,

To which, however, he preferred
The Parsing of a Latin Word--
He sought, when it was within his power,
For information twice an hour,

And as for finding Mutton-Fat
Unappatising, far from that!
He often, at his Father's Board,
Would beg them, of his own accord,

To give him, if they did not mind,
The Greasiest Morsels they could find--
His Later Years did not belie
The Promise of his Infancy.
In Public Life he always tried
To take a judgement Broad and Wide;

In Private, none was more than he
Renowned for quiet courtesy.
He rose at once in his Career,
And long before hus Fortieth Year

Had wedded Fifi, Only Child
Of Bunyan, First Lord Aberfylde.
He thus became immensely Rich,
And built the Splendid Mansion which

Is called The Cedars, Muswell Hill,
Where he resides in affluence still,
To show what everybody might

Ian Fraser 28 February 2010

I agree Belloc is very readable. The problem I find with him is that it is very difficult to decide to what extent he is being ironical, the impossible Fortescue seems to have done rather well for himself! Is that the point? ?

0 3 Reply
Robin Pershing 19 June 2022

Yes, that's the point. Be good and you will do well.

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John Cake 23 February 2012

Dear Mr. Ian Fraser, What do you mean by readable? What do you mean by impossible Fortescue? What do you mean by rather well for himself? What do you mean by what is the point? Your question can be answered if you answer all of my questions. If you are not good yourself, of course you will believe it is impossible to be good. Not everyone has the same definition of doing well. Not everyone has the same definition of what is readable. Not everyone cares for finding the same point. In short, you assume too much. From what facts have you deduced the possibility of irony?

2 1 Reply
Louise Mcvicar 10 September 2005

I am quite fond of this Author's style. This one is so short and sweet but It has such wonderful rythym you just want to share it with someone.

1 1 Reply
MAHTAB BANGALEE 08 February 2023

Had wedded Fifi, Only Child Of Bunyan, First Lord Aberfylde. He thus became immensely Rich, And built the Splendid Mansion which - lovely to read the poem;

0 0 Reply
Douglas Scotney 31 March 2015

Showing off what he got no matter that what he did was rot.

1 2 Reply
Kim Barney 31 March 2015

John Richter said it all. Amen. 'Nuff said.

1 1 Reply
John Richter 31 March 2015

Wow.... Loved this by Charles. My first read of his. I found it rather sweet, meaningful and tasteful. I don't understand the squabble below - commenters commenting on themselves. Morality in the 18th and 19th centuries, and tips to make yourself moral or socially 'renowned for courtesy' - to use Belloc's words - was very popular amongst most people - not just the affluent back in the days of chivalry. I think Belloc is saying that living those tips and idioms well can affect our lives, and might even bring affluence. It was no secret: Benjamin Franklin has reams of such tips and idioms, and from the handwritten journals of young Abe Lincoln (teenage years) you will find his handwritten notes about how to be courteous and polite in public, copied from a book he read on such matters.. Maybe there is confusion about such things today because it seems most people today don't care how they come off in public - I suppose that's why my heart will always revere Belloc's time.....

1 1 Reply
Pranab K Chakraborty 31 March 2015

Nice tribute. Excellently exposed. In Public Life he always tried To take a judgement Broad and Wide; .....................quiet rare even in such smart days. Irony is here I think.

1 1 Reply
Hilaire Belloc

Hilaire Belloc

La Celle-Saint-Cloud
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