He walked in the welcoming fields alone,
While from far, far away came the pedagogue’s drone:
“If a man makes . . .Multiply . . . Abstract nouns . . .
From B take . . .Population of towns . . .
Rods, poles or perches . . . Derived from Greek
Oh, the hawthorn buds came out this week,
And robins are nesting down by the creek.
So Sym was head of his class not once;
And his aunt repeatedly dubbed him “Dunce.”
But, “Give him a chance,” said his father, Joi.
“His head is abnormally large for a boy.”
But his aunt said, “Piffie! It’s crammed with bosh!
Why, he don’t know the rivers and mountains of Gosh,
Nor the names of the nephews of good King Splosh!”
In Gosh, when a youth gets an obstinate look,
And copies his washing-bill into a book,
And blackens his boot-heels, and frowns at a joke,
“Ah, he’s getting sense,” say the elderly folk.
But Sym, he would laugh when he ought to be sad;
Said his aunt, “Lawk-a-mussy! What’s wrong with the lad?
He romps with the puppies, and talks to the ants,
And keeps his loose change in his second-best pants,
And stumbles all over my cauliflower plants!”
“There is wisdom in that,” laughed the
But the aunt said, “Toity!” and, “Drat the boy!”
“He shall play,” said the father, “some noble part.
Who knows but it may be in letters or art?
’Tis a dignified business to make folk think.”
But the aunt cried, “What! Go messing with ink?
And smear all his fingers, and take to drink?
Paint hussies and cows, and end in the clink?”
So the argument ran; but one bright Spring day
Sym settled it all in his own strange way.
“’Tis a tramp,” he announced, “I’ve decided to be;
And I start next Monday at twenty to three . . .”
When the aunt recovered she screamed, “A tramp?
A low-lived, pilfering, idle scamp,
Who steals people’s washing, and sleeps in the damp?”
Sharp to the hour Sym was ready and dressed.
“Young birds,” sighed the father, “must go from the nest.
When the green moss covers those stones you tread,
When the green grass whispers above my head,
Mark well, wherever your path may turn,
They have reached the valley of peace who learn
That wise hearts cherish what fools may spurn.”
So Sym went off; and a year ran by,
And the father said, with a smile-masked sigh,
“It is meet that the young should leave the nest.”
Said the aunt, “Don’t spill that soup on your vest!
Nor mention his name! He’s our one disgrace!
And he’s probably sneaking around some place
With fuzzy black whiskers all over his face.”
But, under a hedge, by a flowering peach,
A youth with a little blue wren held speech.
With his back to a tree and his feet in the grass,
He watched the thistle-down drift and pass,
And the cloud-puffs, borne on a lazy breeze,
Move by on their errand, above the trees,
Into the vault of the mysteries.