Charles Augustus Fortescue

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

by Hilaire Belloc

Other poems of BELLOC (101)

Comments (7)

Showing off what he got no matter that what he did was rot.
John Richter said it all. Amen. 'Nuff said.
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.....
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.
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?
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