On the Gift of a Book to a Child

By Hilaire Belloc 1870–1953 Hilaire Belloc
Child! do not throw this book about!   
   Refrain from the unholy pleasure   
Of cutting all the pictures out!
   Preserve it as your chiefest treasure.

Child, have you never heard it said   
   That you are heir to all the ages?
Why, then, your hands were never made
   To tear these beautiful thick pages!

Your little hands were made to take
   The better things and leave the worse ones:   
They also may be used to shake
   The Massive Paws of Elder Persons.

And when your prayers complete the day,   
   Darling, your little tiny hands
Were also made, I think, to pray   
   For men that lose their fairylands.

Source: Complete Verse (1970)

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Poet Hilaire Belloc 1870–1953



Subjects Youth, Reading & Books

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 Hilaire  Belloc


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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SUBJECT Youth, Reading & Books



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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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