Hilaire Belloc Was A Lame Politician? Huzzah!

Preston Brooks, nephew of Senator Andrew Butler, confronts Senator Charles Sumner in the Senate chamber after debates on the Kansas-Nebraska Act, 1856

Someone left a comment on a previous post that Hilaire Belloc was not only a horrible singer (that’s what I had said) but that,

Nor could he do politics in an honourable way!

I don’t know about that. In fact, I think he could and did, for no other reason than this: he didn’t make a career out of being a politician. And he seems quite honest in the estimation of the limits of his gifts as a politico in the following poem.

Epitaph on the Politician Himself

Here richly, with ridiculous display,
The Politician’s corpse was laid away.
While all of his acquaintance sneered and slanged
I wept: for I had longed to see him hanged.

Another on the Same

This, the last ornament among the peers,
Bribed, bullied, swindled and blackmailed for years:
But Death’s what even Politicians fail
To bribe or swindle, bully or blackmail.

On Another Politician

The Politician, dead and turned to clay,
Will make a clout to keep the wind away.
I am not fond of draughts, and yet I doubt
If I could get myself to touch that clout.

On Yet Another

Fame to her darling Shifter glory gives;
And Shifter is immortal while he lives.

Epitaph Upon Himself

Lauda tu Ilarion audacem et splendidum,
Who was always beginning things and never ended ‘em.

Oh my goodness, Hilare. I really like the last two lines, don’t you? When translated, the first line says, “Praise you Ilarion bold and bright,” which goes pretty well with Belloc’s second line with the edition of one, little, word.

Praise you Ilarion bold and bright,
Who was always beginning things and never ended ‘em right!

I wonder what Belloc would have thought of Newt Gingrich and the other automatons in the current election dance to the tune of cognitive dissonance? Something like this, I imagine. Belloc saw plenty of cainings and quite a number of dive bombings in his four year stint as a Member of Parliament.

I think Oingo Boingo has the theme song to the party I belong to.
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  • Darrin Grove

    I think highly of Belloc. I have read The Servile State, The Path to Rome, and some essays. It was through Chesterton (my favorite writer) that I became aware of his writings.
    Still don’t know how his first name is pronounced.

    • Frank Weathers

      Saying “Old Thunder” correctly is definitely easier than pronouncing “Hilaire.” *I don’t know how either.*

      • http://paullikoudis.wordpress.com/ Paul Likoudis

        Hilaire is pronounced “Hillary.”

        Check out this website; all Belloc’s speeches in Parliament are linked there:
        http://thehilairebellocblog.blogspot.com/

        • Frank Weathers

          For real?! LOL. Awesome Paul. Thanks for the link too!


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