Belloc, Hilaire

Anglo-French, (1870-1953)


  1. P stands for Pig,
  2. as I remarked before,
  3. A second cousin to the Huge Wild Boar.
  4. But Pigs are civilized, while Huge Wild Boars
  5. Live savagely, at random, out of doors,
  6. And, in their coarse contempt for dainty foods,
  7. Subsist on Truffles, which they find in woods.
  8. Not so the cultivated Pig, who feels
  9. The need of several courses at his meals,
  10. But wrongly thinks it does not matter whether
  11. He takes them one by one or all together.
  12. Hence, Pigs devour, from lack of self-respect,
  13. What Epicures would certainly reject.
  15. Moral.
  16. Learn from the Pig to take whatever Fate
  17. Or Elder Persons heap upon your plate.

Hilaire Belloc. A Moral Alphabet. Illus. Basil Temple Blackwood. London: Edward Arnold ()1899).


  1. Kings live in Palaces, and Pigs in sties,
  2. And youth in Expectation.
  3. Youth is wise.

Hilaire Belloc. Complete verse of Hilaire Belloc. London: Duckworth (1970).

About the Poet:

Joseph Hilaire Pierre René Belloc (1870-1953), was an Anglo-French historian, writer, orator, poet, satirist and political activist who became a naturalized British subject in 1902 and also served briefly as a Liberal Party Member of Parliament.

An 1895 graduate of Balliol College, Oxford, Belloc was a noted figure within the University, being President of the Oxford Union, the undergraduate debating society. Belloc was a prolific writer and an avid debater, and was considered one of the Big Four of Edwardian Letters, along with H.G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw, and G. K. Chesterton, all of whom debated with each other into the 1930s.
He was a noted disputant, with a number of long-running feuds, but also widely regarded as a humane and sympathetic man. He is most notable for his Catholic faith, which had a strong impact on most of his works and his writing

He is most widely remembered for his travel writing and his verse, which encompasses cautionary tales for children and more adult-themed religious poetry. Among his best-remembered poems are Jim, who ran away from his nurse and was eaten by a lion and Matilda, who told lies and was burnt to death. [DES-03/12]

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