The Four Men

By Hilaire Belloc.


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Grayscale sketch of a landscape of rolling hills, fields, and forest stretching off into the distance, with several leafless trees on the far left in the foreground.

The Southern Hills and the South Sea
They blow such gladness into me,
That when I get to Burton Sands
And smell the smell of Home Lands,
My heart is all renewed and fills
With the Southern Sea and the South Hills.

Three measures of musical notation on the treble clef, with no time signature, in the key of C, with lyrics underneath the notes, “And I will sing Golier.”

Mrs. Wright-Biddulph
of burton in the county of sussex, under
whose roof so much of this
book was written

Three measures of musical notation on the treble clef, with the Common Time symbol, in the key of C.
Sketch looking down into a valley, with two hills into the distance to the left and right. A small tree is in the foreground to the far left, and a distant church steeple rises out of the left center of the valley.


My County, it has been proved in the life of every man that though his loves are human, and therefore changeable, yet in proportion as he attaches them to things unchangeable, so they mature and broaden.

On this account, Dear Sussex, are those women chiefly dear to men who, as the seasons pass, do but continue to be more and more themselves, attain balance, and abandon or forget vicissitude. And on this account, Sussex, does a man love an old house, which was his father’s, and on this account does a man come to love with all his heart, that part of earth which nourished his boyhood. For it does not change, or if it changes, it changes very little, and he finds in it the character of enduring things.

In this love he remains content until, perhaps, some sort of warning reaches him, that even his own County is approaching its doom. Then, believe me, Sussex, he is anxious in a very different way; he would, if he could, preserve his land in the flesh, and keep it there as it is, forever. But since he knows he cannot do that, “at least,” he says, “I will keep her image, and that shall remain.” And as a man will paint with a peculiar passion a face which he is only permitted to see for a little time, so will one passionately set down one’s own horizon and one’s fields before they are forgotten and have become a different thing. Therefore it is that I have put down in writing what happened to me now so many years ago, when I met first one man and then another, and we four bound ourselves together and walked through all your land, Sussex, from end to end. For many years I have meant to write it down and have not; nor would I write it down now, or issue this book at all, Sussex, did I not know that you, who must like all created things decay, might with the rest of us be very near your ending. For I know very well in my mind that a day will come when the holy place shall perish and all the people of it and never more be what they were. But before that day comes, Sussex, may your earth cover me, and may some loud-voiced priest from Arundel, or Grinstead, or Crawley, or Storrington, but best of all from home, have sung Do Mi Fa Sol above my bones.

Sketch of a traditional four-sail tower windmill, with a tree on the far right in the foreground. The top branches of the tree reach over and frame the windmill.

The Four Men

A Farrago

A map of Sussex, titled “Regni Regnorum.” Various locations are labeled in Latin, others in English.

The Twenty-Ninth of October