Friday 12 November 2010

The Garden Party

In The Garden Party, poet Hilaire Belloc dissected the “hoary social curse”:

The rich arrived in pairs
And also in Rolls Royces
They talked of their affairs
In loud and strident voices.

The poor arrived in Fords
Whose features they resembled
And laughed to see so many lords
And ladies all assembled. (C2, D, E)

The people in between
Looked underdone and harassed
And out of place and mean
And horribly embarrassed. (A, B, C1)


  1. As a humble sequel to this delightful Belloccian observation ,I composed an update in 1988 whilst in the wastes of the Libyan Sahara to reflect the great changes in societal structures in the past 75 years .

    The Rich arrived in Fords
    A preference well commended.
    As even they record
    Rolls Royce's run expended,
    The poor came in Rolls Royces,
    Old ,shabby and pretentious,
    They winced to see so many Fords ,
    So sleek,so fast, so sensuous .
    Mike Day.
    Suphanburi ,
    Thailand 72120

  2. It goes on:

    And the hoary social curse
    Gets hoarier and hoarier
    And it stinks a trifle worse, than in
    The days of Queen Victoria
    When they married and gave in marriage
    and danced at the County Ball
    And some of them kept a carriage

    And the flood destroyed them all!

    1. Dear Lucy R. Fisher!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH for supplying the vital final verse, to which Belloc's two previous verses immaculately LEAD THE WAY!!!