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

D For Dreadful

The Dreadful Dinotherium, he
Will have to do his best for



The early world observed with awe

His back, indented like a saw.

His look was gay, his voice was strong;

His tail was neither short nor long;

His trunk, or elongated nose,

Was not so large as some suppose;

His teeth, as all the world allows,

Were graminivorous, like a cow's.

He therefore should have wished to pass

Long peaceful nights upon the Grass,

But being mad the brute preferred

To roost in branches, like a bird.

(We have good reason to suppose

He did so, from his claw-like toes.)


A creature heavier than a whale,

You see at once, could hardly fail

To suffer badly when he slid

And tumbled (as he always did).

His fossil, therefore, comes to light

All broken up: and serve him right.


If you were born to walk the ground,

Remain there; do not fool around.

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