My favourite books 29: Selected Cautionary VersesPosted: June 25, 2011
Selected Cautionary Verses by Hilaire Belloc
Originally published by Duckworth; this edition, Puffin 1950
Properly cruel verse and satire for children, with plenty for adults to enjoy as well – indeed, the effect is not dissimilar to a DreamWorks cartoon, working on different levels for all the family. With a little practice, I could still recite Matilda, Who Told Lies And Was Burned To Death, from memory, but you’d have to buy me a drink first.
Some of Belloc‘s beliefs were pretty obnoxious by modern standards, which is one reason why the rest of his voluminous output is now little read. He was a “man of letters”, like Chesterton or Jerome. Do they still exist?