All the world's wiseacres in arms against them
Shan't detach my heart for a single moment
From the man-like beasts of the earthy stories--
Badger or Moly.
Rat the oarsman, neat Mrs. Tiggy Winkle,
Benjamin, pert Nutkin, or (ages older)
Henryson's shrill Mouse, or the Mice the Frogs once
Fought with in Homer.
Not that I'm so craz'd as to think the creatures
Do behave that way, nor at all deluded
By some half-false sweetness of early childhood
Look again. Look well at the beasts, the true ones.
Can't you see?...cool primness of cats, or coney's
Half indignant stare of amazement, mouse's
Tipsy bear's rotundity, toad's complacence...
Why! they all cry out to be used as symbols,
Masks for Man, cartoons, parodies by Nature
Formed to reveal us
Each to each, not fiercely but in her gentlest
Vein of household laughter. And if the love so
Raised--it will, no doubt--splashes over on the
Who's the worse for that? Marry, gup! Begone, you
Fusty kill-joys, new Manichaeans! Here's a
Health to Toad Hall, here's to the Beaver doing
Sums with the Butcher!
~C.S. Lewis, Poems, "Impenitence" (1st pub. July 1953 in Punch)
On this day:
1952 Mere Christianity, a revised and amplified edition of Lewis's Broadcast Talks, Christian Behavior, and Beyond Personality, is published by Geoffrey Bles, London.