Guest poem sent in by Srinivasan, Deepak
(Poem #1220) The Village Schoolmaster
Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way With blossom'd furze unprofitably gay, There, in his mansion, skill'd to rule, The village master taught his little school; A man severe he was, and stern to view, I knew him well, and every truant knew; Well had the boding tremblers learn'd to trace The days disasters in his morning face; Full well they laugh'd with counterfeited glee, At all his jokes, for many a joke had he: Full well the busy whisper, circling round, Convey'd the dismal tidings when he frown'd: Yet he was kind; or if severe in aught, The love he bore to learning was in fault. The village all declar'd how much he knew; 'Twas certain he could write, and cipher too: Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage, And e'en the story ran that he could gauge. In arguing too, the person own'd his skill, For e'en though vanquish'd he could argue still; While words of learned length and thund'ring sound Amazed the gazing rustics rang'd around; And still they gaz'd and still the wonder grew, That one small head could carry all he knew. But past is all his fame. The very spot Where many a time he triumph'd is forgot.
I am surprised that minstrels does not carry this poem. This is one of the poems that i remember from my early school days and was skilfully unearthed for me by my teacher. It is surprising, how even now in these days of internet information sources, online education, advanced school curricula, etc. a very good teacher can literally change a person's life by pointing her down a path of passion for a subject. Before I wax lyrical on the qualities of the "schoolmaster", Goldsmith has so wonderfully given me a poem to remember him by. "And still they gaz'd and still the wonder grew, That one small head could carry all he knew. " /Deepak [Martin adds] Another excellent tribute to that most underappreciated of professions is Kipling's "A School Song", from "Stalky and Co.": http://www.poetryloverspage.com/poets/kipling/school_song.html