Jim Poem by Hilaire Belloc


Rating: 3.3

Who ran away from his Nurse and was eaten by a Lion

There was a Boy whose name was Jim;
His Friends were very good to him.
They gave him Tea, and Cakes, and Jam,
And slices of delicious Ham,
And Chocolate with pink inside
And little Tricycles to ride,
And read him Stories through and through,
And even took him to the Zoo--
But there it was the dreadful Fate
Befell him, which I now relate.

You know--or at least you ought to know,
For I have often told you so--
That Children never are allowed
To leave their Nurses in a Crowd;
Now this was Jim's especial Foible,
He ran away when he was able,
And on this inauspicious day
He slipped his hand and ran away!

He hadn't gone a yard when--Bang!
With open Jaws, a lion sprang,
And hungrily began to eat
The Boy: beginning at his feet.
Now, just imagine how it feels
When first your toes and then your heels,
And then by gradual degrees,
Your shins and ankles, calves and knees,
Are slowly eaten, bit by bit.
No wonder Jim detested it!
No wonder that he shouted ``Hi!''

The Honest Keeper heard his cry,
Though very fat he almost ran
To help the little gentleman.
``Ponto!'' he ordered as he came
(For Ponto was the Lion's name),
``Ponto!'' he cried, with angry Frown,
``Let go, Sir! Down, Sir! Put it down!''
The Lion made a sudden stop,
He let the Dainty Morsel drop,
And slunk reluctant to his Cage,
Snarling with Disappointed Rage.
But when he bent him over Jim,
The Honest Keeper's Eyes were dim.
The Lion having reached his Head,
The Miserable Boy was dead!

When Nurse informed his Parents, they
Were more Concerned than I can say:--
His Mother, as She dried her eyes,
Said, ``Well--it gives me no surprise,
He would not do as he was told!''
His Father, who was self-controlled,
Bade all the children round attend
To James's miserable end,
And always keep a-hold of Nurse
For fear of finding something worse.

Louise Mcvicar 10 September 2005

My great grandad read it to my grandad, my grandad read it to his children with vigour, and my mum then told it to my siblings and I. I love it. When it gets to the bit where he is being eaten bit by bit mum would grab my ankles and then shins and calves and knees as Jim was eaten. And best of all is... 'he hadn't gone a yard when BANG! with open jaws a lion sprang! '

41 6 Reply
Hope Davis 15 November 2004

My Mother taught us this poem about 30 years ago and I would like my som to use it for his ESB exams. We have been searching long and hard for it without success. It is a great poem.

33 7 Reply
John Richter 02 April 2015

'always keep-a hold of nurse - for fear of finding something worse! ' How awesome is that?

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Great Grandma Hinds 16 March 2018

I first read this poem when I was in grammar school in the 1930's. I loved it then and love it now. I read it to my children, grandchildren and now, my great grandchildren. It's a great lesson in obedience with the added plus of dry humor, English style.

11 1 Reply
David 01 October 2018

Golly. You must be around 90 and still using a computer. Well done!

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GERARD McGILL 20 December 2021

Today I told it to my grandson.

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GERARD McGILL 20 December 2021

I learnt by heart at the age of 7 years.

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GERARD McGILL 20 December 2021

I learnt this poem by heart when I was a 7 year old boy.

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Torquil Dick-Erikson 02 September 2021

Wonderful poem, amongst Belloc's others, satirising the psycholigical terrorism used in Victorian times to keep children in line. - e.g. the Fairchild Family. Such a pity that the recital by a flat, robotic, inexpressive voice does not do it justice at all.

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Kevin 14 April 2021

He was being eaten alive and he shouted 'Hi! ' as if someone had pushed in front of him in a queue.

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Hilaire Belloc

Hilaire Belloc

La Celle-Saint-Cloud
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