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Cautionary Tales for Children by  Hilaire Belloc




(Second Canto)

It happened to Lord Lundy then,

As happens to so many men:

Toward the age of twenty-six,

The shoved him into politics;

In which profession he commanded

The income that his rank demanded

In turn as Secretary for

India, the Colonies, and War.


But very soon his friends began

To doubt if he were quite the man:

Thus, if a member rose to say

(As members do from day to day)

"Arising out of that reply . . . !"


Lord Lundy would begin to cry.

A Hint at harmless little jobs

Would shake him with convulsive sobs.

While as for Revelations, these

Would simply bring him to his knees,

And leave him whimpering like a child.

It drove his colleagues raving wild!

They let him sink from Post to Post,

From fifteen hundred at the most

To eight, and barely six—and then

To be Curator of Big Ben!. . .

And finally there came a Threat

To oust him from the Cabinet!

The Duke—his aged grand-sire—bore

The shame till he could bear no more.

He rallied his declining powers,

Summoned the youth to Brackley Towers,

And bitterly addressed him thus—


"Sir! you have disappointed us!

We had intended you to be

The next Prime Minister but three:

The stocks were sold; the Press was squared:

The Middle Class was quite prepared.

But as it is! . . . My language fails!

Go out and govern New South Wales!"


The Aged Patriot groaned and died:

And gracious! how Lord Lundy cried!

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