Gateway to the Classics: More Beasts for Worse Children by Hilaire Belloc
More Beasts for Worse Children by  Hilaire Belloc

The Crocodile


Whatever our faults, we can always engage

That no fancy or fable shall sully our page,

So take note of what follows, I beg.

This creature so grand and august in its age,

In its youth is hatched out of an egg.


And oft in some far Coptic town

The Missionary sits him down

To breakfast by the Nile:

The heart beneath his priestly gown

Is innocent of guile;


When suddenly the rigid frown

Of Panic is observed to drown

His customary smile.


Why does he start and leap amain,


And scour the sandy Libyan plain


Like one that wants to catch a train


Or wrestles with internal pain?


Because he finds his egg contain—

Green, hungry, horrible and plain—

An Infant Crocodile.

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