old time family favourite

The Village Schoolmaster, by Oliver Goldsmith

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Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way,

With blossomed furze unprofitably gay,

There, in his noisy mansion, skilled 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 learned to trace

The day’s disasters in his morning pace;

Full well they laughed, with counterfeited glee,

At all his jokes, for many joke had he:

Full well the busy whisper, circling round,

Conveyed the dismal tidings when he frowned;

Yet he was kind, or if severe in aught,

The love he bore to learning was in fault;

The village all declared how much he knew;

‘Twas certain he could write, and cipher too;

Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage,

And even the story ran that he could guage.

In arguing, too, the parson owned his skill,

For, even though vanquished, he argue still;

While words of learned length and thundering sound

Amazed the gazing rustics ranged around:

And still they gazed, 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 triumphed is forgot.

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