The little country schoolhouse—you
Remember it; of course you do!
Within the angle snugly set,
Where two long yellow highways met,
And saplings planted here and there
About the yard, and boxed with care
As if to typify, in turn,
The youngsters caught and caged, to learn.
Around, the rolling pastures spread,
With woodland patches garlanded,
From which the breezes gladly bore
Sly invitations to the door.
Across the sills the bees' soft hum
Was mingled with the muttered sum,
And from their covert in the vale
In plaintive pleading piped the quail.
With basket and with pail equipped,
Clear-eyed, tan-cheeked and berry-lipped,
Athwart the pastures, down the road,
They trudged to learning's poor abode;
The pink sunbonnet, broad-brimmed straw;
The bare brown feet that knew no law
Of fashion's last; the bundled forms
That laughed aloud at cold and storms.
What tales the scarred desks might relate
Of triumphs gained with book and slate!
What lore the clapboards loose possess
Of feats at noontime and recess!
And doomed how oft the panes to see,
Back up the road, and o'er the lea,
Haste boy and girl, new worlds to find,
The little schoolhouse left behind.
O little country school! In vain
May critics hold you in disdain.
The greatest lessons that you taught
Were not by chalk and pencil wrought.
As oped your door on fields and sky,
So, likewise just as wide and high,
You opened to the eyes of youth
The principles of love and truth.