Have no idea why but was suddenly reminded about a poem that I had read while at school…I didnt even remember the poet’s name..just the first two lines, then did a google search and was really thrilled to find it! I used to really annoy my mom my deliberately reciting it in that sing song manner that a lot of kids use to recite poems…this poem really lends itself to that 🙂

Ok I’m off to recite it to her again!!

By Hilaire Belloc

Matilda told such dreadful lies,
It made one gasp and stretch one’s eyes;
Her aunt, who, from her earliest youth,
Had kept a strict regard for truth,
Attempted to believe Matilda:
The effort very nearly killed her,
And would have done so, had not she
Discovered this infirmity.
For once, towards the close of day,
Matilda, growing tired of play
And finding she was left alone,
Went tiptoe to the telephone
And summoned the immediate aid
Of London’s nobel Fire-Brigade.
Within an hour the gallant band
Were pouring in on every hand,
From Putney, Hackney Downs and Bow,
With courage high and hearts a-glow
They galloped, roaring though the town,
“Matilda’s house is burning down”
Inspired by British cheers and loud
Proceeding from the frenzied crowd,
They ran their ladders through a score
Of windows on the ball-room floor;
And took peculiar pains to souse
The pictures up and down the house,
Until Matilda’s aunt succeeded
In showing them they were not needed
And even then she had to pay
To get the men to go away!
. . . . .
It happened that a few weeks later
Here aunt was off to the Theatre
To see that interesting play
The Second Mrs Tanqueray.
She had refused to take her niece
To hear this entertaining piece:
A deprivation just and wise
To punish her for telling lies.
That night a fire did break out-
You should have heard Matilda shout!
You should have heard her scream and bawl,
And throw the window up and call
To people passing in the street-
(The rapidly increasing heat
Encouraging her to obtain
Their confidence)-but all in vain!
For every time she shouted “Fire!”
They only answered “Little Liar!”
And therefore when her aunt returned,
Matilda, and the house, were burned.


10 Responses

  1. ‘Matilda’ the word reminded me of a movie where the kid Matilda has supernatural powers. Couldn’t read the poem though, sorry. I’m quite bored and sleepy as of now.

    Haven’t seen that movie though…you should read the poem its quite funny and morbid in its own way.

  2. You remembered the entire poem???

  3. Oops sorry. Evidently didnt read your first para. But even two lines??? Wow.

    Welcome here!! And there’s now way I’d learn this poem!! Two lines yeah…and when I called my ma and asked her if she remembered matilda she said oh the liar 😀

  4. You might like to know that my edition of Arthur W. Pinero’s “The Second Mrs Tanqueray” was published by the Broadview Press a few months ago. In addition to the play, it contains numerous contemporary documents that relate to the play. And I did think of including Belloc’s poem as an example of just how popular the play was at the time.

    Oh wow…will check that out…and how did you find this blog..I’m really intrigued!

  5. Thank god, I am not the only wierd one reciting poems from grade school….My favourites used to be one called “Bishop Hatto” and another called “Clementine” Bizzare, because both of them are tragic and downright frightening. makes me wonder about how most of the nursery rhymes have these really tragic origins…

    Hehe!! It gets worse when I recite nursery rhymes at times…you know what really appalled me?? My husband did not even know all these rhymes except the usual suspects like Jack and Jill and Baa baa black know the ones like piggy on the railway.. 😀

    Yeah I’ve always wondered why there is so much gore and tragedy in all the nursery rhymes and poems?? One breaks his crown, another farmer cuts off tails of blind mice..the horrors!! But I’m really thrilled to have heard from you!! 🙂

  6. wow – i can’t believe u remembered all that!! great poem 🙂

    Matilda reminds me of – ‘Waltzing Matilda’, ‘Matilda’ by Roald Dahl (& the same movie talked about by lively) and Matilda – Heath Ledger’s little daughter.

    It’s very Aussie 😛

    No no…I’m not such a freak…I remembered just two lines and something towards the end!! And what is Roald Dahl’s Matilda?? Gotto find out now…year and poor Heath Ledger’s daughter..

  7. Too lengthy to read ..will come back and read 😛

    Yes do ..its a nice poem!

  8. Oh Wow, Mine has no clue about the rhymes either…he thinks I am a little bonkers either way…I am excited to have a new blog to read too 😀

    😀 Funny funny!!

  9. OMG – Roald Dahl is one of THE best children’s authors – ‘The Witches’, ‘The BFG’, ‘Matilda’ – he wrote ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’!! I loved him as a kid 🙂

    No no I love him too….Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach..all of it….just havent read his Matilda!!

  10. AND….ur tagged 😛

    Aha and a nice one at that..will do!

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