Godolphin Horne, Who was Cursed with the Sin of Pride, and Became a Boot-Black

By Hilaire Belloc 1870–1953 Hilaire Belloc
Godolphin Horne was Nobly Born;   
He held the Human Race in Scorn,   
And lived with all his Sisters where   
His Father lived, in Berkeley Square.   
And oh! the Lad was Deathly Proud!   
He never shook your Hand or Bowed,   
But merely smirked and nodded thus:   
How perfectly ridiculous!
Alas! That such Affected Tricks   
Should flourish in a Child of Six!
(For such was Young Godolphin's age).   
Just then, the Court required a Page,   
Whereat the Lord High Chamberlain   
(The Kindest and the Best of Men),   
He went good-naturedly and took   
A Perfectly Enormous Book
Called People Qualified to Be
Attendant on His Majesty,
And murmured, as he scanned the list   
(To see that no one should be missed),   
'There's William Coutts has got the Flu,   
And Billy Higgs would never do,   
And Guy de Vere is far too young,
And. . . wasn't D'Alton's Father hung?   
And as for Alexander Byng!—. . .   
I think I know the kind of thing,   
A Churchman, cleanly, nobly born,   
Come let us say Godolphin Horne?'   
But hardly had he said the word   
When Murmurs of Dissent were heard.   
The King of Iceland's Eldest Son
Said, 'Thank you! I am taking none!'   
The Aged Duchess of Athlone   
Remarked, in her sub-acid tone,   
'I doubt if He is what we need!'   
With which the Bishops all agreed;   
And even Lady Mary Flood
(So Kind, and oh! so really good)   
Said, 'No! He wouldn't do at all,   
He'd make us feel a lot too small.'
The Chamberlain said, ' . . . Well, well, well!   
No doubt you're right . . . One cannot tell!'
He took his Gold and Diamond Pen   
And Scratched Godolphin out again.   
So now Godolphin is the Boy   
Who blacks the Boots at the Savoy.

Source: Complete Verse (1970)

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Poet Hilaire Belloc 1870–1953

POET’S REGION England

Subjects Humor & Satire, Social Commentaries, Coming of Age, Class

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 Hilaire  Belloc

Biography

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 . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Humor & Satire, Social Commentaries, Coming of Age, Class

POET’S REGION England

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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