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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

A Pair of Eclogues: The Country School

By Anonymous

[Preserved in E. H. Smith’s Collection of “American Poems.” 1793. By an Anonymous Contributor to “The New Hampshire Spy.”]

PUT to the door—the school’s begun—

Stand in your places every one,—



Read in the Bible,—tell the place,—

“Job twentieth and the seventeenth varse

Caleb, begin. And—he—shall—suck

Sir,—Moses got a pin and stuck——

Silence,—stop Caleb—Moses! here!

What’s this complaint? I didn’t, Sir,

Hold up your hand,—What is’t, a pin?

O dear, I won’t do so agin.

Read on. The increase of his h-h-horse

Hold: H, O, U, S, E, spells house.

Sir, what’s this word? for I can’t tell it.

Can’t you indeed! Why, spell it. Spell it.

Begin yourself, I say. Who, I?

Yes, try. Sure you can spell it. Try.

Go, take your seats and primers, go,

You sha’n’t abuse the Bible so.

Will pray Sir Master mend my pen?

Say, Master, that’s enough.—Here Ben,

Is this your copy? Can’t you tell?

Set all your letters parallel.

I’ve done my sum—’tis just a groat

Let’s see it.—Master, m’ I g’ out?

Yes,—bring some wood in—What’s that noise?

It isn’t I, Sir, it’s them boys.——

Come Billy, read—What’s that? That’s A

Sir, Jim has snatch’d my rule away——

Return it, James.—Here, rule with this—

Billy, read on,—That’s crooked S.

Read in the spelling-book—Begin—

The boys are out—Then call them in—

My nose bleeds, mayn’t I get some ice,

And hold it in my breeches?—Yes.

John, keep your seat. My sum is more

Then do’t again—Divide by four,

By twelve, and twenty—Mind the rule.

Now speak, Manasseh, and spell tool.

I can’t—Well try—T, W, L.

Not wash’d your hands yet, booby, ha?

You had your orders yesterday.

Give me the ferule, hold your hand.

Oh! Oh! There,—mind my next command.

The grammar read. Tell where the place is.

C sounds like K in cat and cases.

My book is torn. The next—Here not

E final makes it long—say note.

What are the stops and marks, Susannah?

Small points, Sir.——And how many, Hannah?

Four, Sir. How many, George? You look:

Here’s more than fifty in my book.

How’s this? Just come, Sam? Why, I’ve been

Who knocks? I don’t know, Sir. Come in.

“Your most obedient, Sir?” And yours.

Sit down, Sir. Sam, put to the doors.

What do you bring to tell that’s new!

“Nothing that’s either strange or true.

What a prodigious school! I’m sure

You’ve got a hundred here, or more.

A word, Sir, if you please.” I will—

You girls, till I come in be still.

“Come, we can dance to-night—so you

Dismiss your brain-distracting crew,

And come—for all the girls are there,

We’ll have a fiddle and a player.”

Well, mind and have the sleigh-bells sent,

I’ll soon dismiss my regiment.

Silence! The second class must read.

As quick as possible—proceed.

Not found your book yet? Stand—be fix’d—

The next read, stop—the next—the next.

You need not read again, ’tis well.

Come, Tom and Dick, choose sides to spell.

Will this word do? Yes, Tom spell dunce.

Sit still there all you little ones.

I’ve got a word,—Well, name it. Gizzard.

You spell it, Sampson—G, I, Z.

Spell conscience, Jack. K, O, N,

S, H, U, N, T, S.—Well done!

Put out the next—Mine is folks.

Tim, spell it—P, H, O, U, X.

O shocking! Have you all tried? No.

Say Master, but no matter, go—

Lay by your books—and you, Josiah,

Help Jed to make the morning fire.