Who played with a Dangerous Toy, and
suffered a Catastrophe of considerable Dimensions
When George’s Grandmamma was told
That George had been as good as gold,
She promised in the afternoon
To buy him an Immense BALLOON.
And so she did; but when it came,
It got into the candle flame,
And being of a dangerous sort
Exploded with a loud report!
The lights went out! The windows broke!
The room was filled with reeking smoke.
And in the darkness shrieks and yells
Were mingled with electric bells,
And falling masonry and groans,
And crunching, as of broken bones,
And dreadful shrieks, when, worst of all,
The house itself began to fall!
It tottered, shuddering to and fro,
Then crashed into the street below-
Which happened to be Savile Row.
When help arrived, among the dead
Were Cousin Mary, Little Fred,
The Footmen (both of them), the Groom,
The man that cleaned the Billiard-Room,
The Chaplain, and the Still-Room Maid.
And I am dreadfully afraid
That Monsieur Champignon, the Chef,
Will now be permanently deaf-
And both his aides are much the same;
While George, who was in part to blame,
Received, you will regret to hear,
A nasty lump behind the ear.
The moral is that little boys
Should not be given dangerous toys.
Hilaire BellocNational Poetry Day Ambassador Jan Dean says...
"Hilaire Belloc’s poem ‘George’ is what we call ‘a cautionary tale’ – a story with a warning message. Of course, it’s a jokey message and its funny. But the message is in the medium too – just look at the fun Mr Belloc has had with the rhyme and rhythm. The message of this poem isn’t just the moral at the end, the message is that words are wonderful and that playing with them is a delight."
Hillaire Belloc was one of the most prolific writers in England during the early twentieth century. He was known as a writer, orator, poet, sailor, satirist, man of letters, soldier and political activist. His Catholic faith had a strong impact on his works. Belloc's 'Cautionary Tales for Children'; humorous poems with an implausible moral, are the most widely known of his writings.