Who was cursed with the Sin of Pride, and Became a Boot-Black.
by HILAIRE BELLOC (1870-1953)
Godolphin Horne was Nobly Born;
He held the Human Race in Scorn,
And lived with all his Sisters where
His father lived, in Berkeley Square.
And oh! The Lad was Deathly Proud!
He never shook your Hand or Bowed,
But merely smirked and nodded thus:
How perfectly ridiculous!
Alas! That such Affected Tricks
Should flourish in a Child of Six!
(For such was Young Godolphin’s age).
Just then, the Court required a Page,
Whereat the Lord High Chamberlain
(The Kindest and the Best of Men),
He went good-naturedly and took
A perfectly enormous Book
Called People Qualified to Be
Attendant on His Majesty,
And murmured, as he scanned the list
(To see that no one should be missed),
“There’s William Coutts has got the Flu,
And Billy Higgs would never do,
And Guy de Vere is far too young,
And … wasn’t D’Alton’s father hung?
And as for Alexander Byng!-…
I think I know the kind of thing,
A Churchman, cleanly, nobly born,
Come, let us say Godolphin Horne?”
But hardly had he said the word
When Murmurs of Dissent were heard.
The King of Iceland’s Eldest Son
Said, “Thank you! I am taking none!”
The Aged Duchess of Athlone
Remarked, in her sub-acid tone,
“I doubt if He is what we need!”
With which the Bishops all agreed;
And even Lady Mary Flood
(So kind, and oh! So really good)
Said, “No! He wouldn’t do at all,
He’d make us feel a lot too small.”
The Chamberlain said, “Well, well, well!
No doubt you’re right. One cannot tell!”
He took his Gold and Diamond Pen
And scratched Godolphin out again.
So now Godolphin is the Boy
Who Blacks the Boots at the Savoy.