And now he watches for another sinner;
Shortly he has one, and the two change places.
William is idle, Harriet makes faces,
Peter is laughing, Anne lets fall her maps;
So it goes on-an hour or two perhaps,
But seldom longer; sharp as Andrew looks,
He finds no eye raised from the proper books.
In vain he sudden whirls, east, west, north, south;
Sits a wise gravity on every mouth.
Back seats nor front, nor boys nor girls once vary
From studious diligence most exemplary;
Each pays great heed to his peculiar labors,
And no one sayeth aught unto his neighbors.
A model school: why surely at this rate
All soon will know enough to graduate.
This lasts till five o'clock. Alas! to tell
The fate of him, unhappy sentinel.
Listen a tale Chinese: Where Yang-tse-kiang flows
There is a sort of folk, the story goes,
Who live on boats or rafts and keep a stock
Of ducks, tame ducks, for profit. This, their flock
Daily goes out to eat what it can catch,
But home it comes to sleep and lay and hatch.
The summons is the ringing of a bell;
Each drake and duck and duckling knows it well,
And when they hear afar its nightly tinkling,
Whate'er may tempt, obey it in a twinkling.
They crowd, they push, fly o'er each other's backs,
And the whole river is alive with quacks.
The secret of this haste, this fluttering, skipping,
Is plain to see: the last duck gets a whipping.
School done, without a moment wasting,
Our flock poured out glad, careless, hasting,
But our last duck had a most thorough basting
O happy days and wise! I need not tell
How hard we worked when “choosing sides” to spell.
Now wins the enemy, now our ranks swell;
'T is almost night, yet still the conflict rages,
And heavy batteries fire from Walker's pages;
Now here, now there, the favorite champion crosses,
Sometimes our gains are great, sometimes our losses.
But say, to them who, in life's earnest fight
For victory strive, brings any triumph quite
The overflowing, unalloyed delight,
The joy, as when our side spelled “phthisic” right?
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