The Whale

By Hilaire Belloc 1870–1953 Hilaire Belloc
The Whale that wanders round the Pole   
   Is not a table fish.
You cannot bake or boil him whole,   
   Nor serve him in a dish;

But you may cut his blubber up
   And melt it down for oil,
And so replace the colza bean
   (A product of the soil).

These facts should all be noted down   
   And ruminated on,
By every boy in Oxford town
   Who wants to be a Don.

Source: Complete Verse (1970)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Hilaire Belloc 1870–1953


Subjects Pets, Humor & Satire

Poetic Terms Epigram, Rhymed Stanza

 Hilaire  Belloc


Hilaire Belloc is considered one of the most controversial and accomplished men of letters of early twentieth-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 . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Pets, Humor & Satire


Poetic Terms Epigram, Rhymed Stanza

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.