Hilaire Belloc was born on July 27, 1870 and died on July 16, 1953 at age 82. He was born in France, but then was sent to Cardinal John Henry Newman Oratory School in England. In 1902, he became a naturalised British subject and was one of the most prolific poets and writers in England. He was very much against women’s rights and especially against women’s right to vote.
Who ran away from his Nurse and was eaten by a Lion
By Hilaire Belloc
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.
I think that in this poem, Belloc refers to his own life when he was younger and over exagerates how some people treated their children and friends, by giving them excessive toys and presents. I think that this is good that it is in a children’s book for one reason, but it shouldn’t be in for another reason. It should because it helps ensure kids will do what they are told, but it shouldn’t because it is fairly gruesome in the fact that he gets eaten piece by piece by a lion. Children shouldn’t be taught to behave out of fear, but instead should be taught to understand that their parents are doing what is best for their child. Over all, this poem keeps the reader entertained with interesting images and surprises and it has good advice for younger people. This poem made me reflect on life in the sense that, if you do something wrong on purpose because it is hard, it may just make your life even harder.