Dunce

Robert William Service was a poet and writer sometimes referred to as the Bard of the Yukon He is best-known for his writings on the Canadian North including the poems The Shooting of Dan McGrew The Law of the Yukon and The Cremation of Sam McGee His writing was so expressive that his readers took …






At school I never gained a prize,
Proving myself the model ass;
Yet how I watched the wistful eyes,
And cheered my mates who topped the class.
No envy in my heart I found,
Yet bone was worthier to own
Those precious books in vellum bound,
Than I, a dreamer and a drone.

No prize at school I ever gained
(Shirking my studies, I suppose):
Yes, I remember being caned
For lack of love of Latin prose.
For algebra I won no praise,
In grammar I was far from bright:
Yet, oh, how Poetry would raise
In me a rapture of delight!

I never gained a prize at school;
The dullard's cap adorned my head;
My masters wrote me down a fool,
And yet - I'm sorry they are dead.
I'd like to go to them and say:
"Yours is indeed a tricky trade.
My honoured classmates, where are they?
Yet I, the dunce, brave books have made."

Oh, I am old and worn and grey,
And maybe have not long to live;
Yet 'tis my hope at some Prize Day
At my old school the Head will give
A tome or two of mine to crown
Some pupil's well-deserved success -
Proving a scapegrace and a clown
May win at last to worthiness.

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