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

J For James

J stands for james,

who thought it immaterial

To pay his taxes, Local or Imperial.

In vain the Mother wept, the Wife implored,

James only yawned as though a trifle bored.


The Tax Collector called again, but he

Was met with Persiflage and Repartee.

When James was hauled before the learned Judge,

Who lectured him, he loudly whispered, "Fudge!"


The Judge was startled from his usual calm,

He struck the desk before him with his palm,

And roared in tones to make the boldest quail,

"J stands for James, It also stands for JAIL."

And therefore, on a dark and dreadful day,

Policemen came and took him all away.


The fate of James is typical, and shows

How little mercy people can expect

Who will not pay their taxes; (saving those

To which they conscientiously object.)

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