A blog dedicated to providing quotes by and posts relating to one of the most influential (and quotable!) authors of the twentieth century, G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936). If you do not know much about GKC, I suggest visiting the webpage of the American Chesterton Society as well as this wonderful Chesterton Facebook Page by a fellow Chestertonian

I also have created a list detailing examples of the influence of Chesterton if you are interested, that I work on from time to time.

(Moreover, for a list of short GKC quotes, I have created one here, citing the sources)

"...Stevenson had found that the secret of life lies in laughter and humility."

-Heretics (1905)

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"The Speaker" Articles

A book I published containing 112 pieces Chesterton wrote for the newspaper "The Speaker" at the beginning of his career.

They are also available for free electronically on another blog of mine here, if you wish to read them that way.




Thursday, August 23, 2012

Of the Dangers Attending Altruism on the High Seas

The following is a poem from Chesterton's first book ever published (in 1900 when he was 26), Greybeards at Play. It was a book of nonsense verse, containing, according to W.H. Auden, some of the best examples of nonsense verse in English and also some of Chesterton's own drawings. Here's my favorite poem (minus the drawings) from that book.  

Of the Dangers Attending Altruism on the High Seas

Observe these Pirates bold and [happy],
That sail a gory sea:
Notice their bright expression:--
The handsome one is me.

We plundered ships and harbours,
We spoiled the Spanish main;
But Nemesis watched over us,
For it began to rain.

Oh all well-meaning folk take heed!
Our Captain's fate was sore;
A more well-meaning Pirate,
Had never dripped with gore.

The rain was pouring long and loud,
The sea was drear and dim;
A little fish was floating there:
Our Captain pitied him.

"How sad," he said, and dropped a tear
Splash on the cabin roof,
"That we are dry, while he is there
Without a waterproof.

"We'll get him up on board at once;
For Science teaches me,
He will be wet if he remains
Much longer in the sea."

They fished him out; the First Mate wept,
And came with rugs and ale:
The Boatswain brought him one golosh,
And fixed it on his tail.

But yet he never loved the ship;
Against the mast he'd lean;
If spoken to, he coughed and smiled,
And blushed a pallid green.

Though plied with hardbake, beef and beer,
He showed no wish to sup:
The neatest riddles they could ask,
He always gave them up.

They seized him and court-martialled him,
In some excess of spleen,
For lack of social sympathy,
(Victoria XII.18).

They gathered every evidence
That might remove a doubt:
They wrote a postcard in his name,
And partly scratched it out.

Till, when his guilt was clear as day,
With all formality
They doomed the traitor to be drowned,
And threw him in the sea.

The flashing sunset, as he sank,
Made every scale a gem;
And, turning with a graceful bow,
He kissed his fin to them.

-Greybeards at Play (1900)

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