02 March, 2007

Hilaire-ious poems (ok, ok, bad pun)

In Victorian times, especially in England, most of the children's books published were horrid moralising poems or works of short fiction. They alternately featured angelic children who were rewarded with nauseating abundance for their perfection, or evil monster children who suffered unspeakable consequences for being bad. As you can see by these writings' complete neglect of the Catholic attitude toward suffering ("Remember my word that I said to you: The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you." --- anyone? ) these were usually written either by those with strict Puritanical views on life or by those people (prevalent in the late 1800s) who advocated a sort of "religion-less morality."

Here's a Catholic take (specifically a Hilaire Belloc-ian take) on morality poems.

Guess which type kids prefer?

"THE Chief Defect of Henry King
Was chewing little bits of String.
At last he swallowed some which tied
Itself in ugly Knots inside.
Physicians of the Utmost Fame
Were called at once; but when they came
They answered, as they took their Fees,
'There is no Cure for this Disease.
Henry will very soon be dead.'
His parents stood about his Bed
Lamenting his Untimely Death,
When Henry, with his Latest Breath,
Cried 'Oh, my Friends, be warned by me,
That Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch, and Tea
Are all the Human Frame requires...'
With that, the Wretched Child expires."

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