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

K For Klondyke

K for the klondyke,

a Country of Gold,

Where the winters are often excessively cold;

Where the lawn every morning is covered with rime,

And skating continues for years at a time.

Do you think that a Climate can conquer the grit

Of the Sons of the West? Not a bit! Not a bit!


When the weather looks nippy, the bold Pioneers

Put on two pairs of Stockings and cover their ears,

And roam through the drear Hyperborean dales

With a vast apparatus of Buckets and Pails;

Or wander through wild Hyperborean glades

With Hoes, Hammers, Pickaxes, Matlocks and Spades.

There are some who give rise to exuberant mirth

By turning up nothing but bushels of earth,

While those who have little cause excellent fun

By attempting to pilfer from those who have none.

At times the reward they will get for their pains

Is to strike very tempting auriferous veins;

Or, a shaft being sunk for some miles in the ground,

Not infrequently nuggets of value are found.

They bring us the gold when their labours are ended,

And we—after thanking them prettily—spend it.


Just you work for Humanity, never you mind

If Humanity seems to have left you behind.

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