Gateway to the Classics: A Moral Alphabet by Hilaire Belloc
A Moral Alphabet by  Hilaire Belloc

A for Archibald

A stands for Archibald


who told no lies,

And got this lovely volume for a prize.

The Upper School had combed and oiled their hair,

And all the Parents of the Boys were there.

In words that ring like thunder through the Hall,

Draw tears from some and loud applause from all,—


The Pedagogue, with Pardonable Joy,

Bestows the Gift upon the Radiant Boy:


"Accept the Noblest Work produced as yet "

(Says he) "upon the English Alphabet;

"Next term I shall examine you, to find

"If you have read it thoroughly. So mind!"


And while the Boys and Parents cheered so loud,

That out of doors a large and anxious crowd

Had gathered and was blocking up the street,

The admirable child resumed his seat.


Learn from this justly irritating Youth,

To brush your Hair and Teeth and tell the Truth.

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