The Rebel

By Hilaire Belloc 1870–1953 Hilaire Belloc
There is a wall of which the stones
Are lies and bribes and dead men's bones.   
And wrongfully this evil wall
Denies what all men made for all,
And shamelessly this wall surrounds   
Our homesteads and our native grounds.

But I will gather and I will ride,
And I will summon a countryside,
And many a man shall hear my halloa
Who never had thought the horn to follow;   
And many a man shall ride with me
Who never had thought on earth to see   
High Justice in her armoury.

When we find them where they stand,   
A mile of men on either hand,
I mean to charge from right away
And force the flanks of their array,
And press them inward from the plains,   
And drive them clamouring down the lanes,   
And gallop and harry and have them down,   
And carry the gates and hold the town.   
Then shall I rest me from my ride
With my great anger satisfied.

Only, before I eat and drink,
When I have killed them all, I think   
That I will batter their carven names,   
And slit the pictures in their frames,   
And burn for scent their cedar door,   
And melt the gold their women wore,   
And hack their horses at the knees,   
And hew to death their timber trees,
And plough their gardens deep and through—   
And all these things I mean to do   
For fear perhaps my little son
Should break his hands, as I have done.

Source: Complete Verse (1970)

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Poet Hilaire Belloc 1870–1953

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Georgian

Subjects War & Conflict, Social Commentaries

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 Hilaire  Belloc

Biography

Hilaire Belloc is considered one of the most controversial and accomplished men of letters of early 20th-century England. An author whose writings continue to draw either the deep admiration or bitter contempt of readers, he was an outspoken proponent of radical social and economic reforms, all grounded in his vision of Europe as a "Catholic society." Although many critics have attacked Belloc's prescriptive polemical works for . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT War & Conflict, Social Commentaries

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Georgian

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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