23 March 2009

Mellifluous Mondays: Back to School

"The Schoolboy" by William Blake (1794)

I love to rise in a summer morn,
When the birds sing on every tree;
The distant huntsman winds his horn,
And the skylark sings with me:
O what sweet company!

But to go to school in a summer morn,
--O it drives all joy away!
Under a cruel eye outworn,
The little ones spend the day
In sighing and dismay.

Ah then at times I drooping sit,
And spend many an anxious hour;
Nor in my book can I take delight,
Nor sit in learning’s bower,
Worn through with the dreary shower.

How can the bird that is born for joy
Sit in a cage and sing?
How can a child, when fears annoy,
But droop his tender wing,
And forget his youthful spring!

O father and mother if buds are nipped,
And blossoms blown away;
And if the tender plants are stripped
Of their joy in the springing day,
By sorrow and care’s dismay,

--How shall the summer arise in joy,
Or the summer fruits appear?
Or how shall we gather what griefs destroy,
Or bless the mellowing year,
When the blasts of winter appear?

This is a partially tongue-in-cheek post, as Blake's poem is really about the corrupting, oppressive influences of society and "civilized education" on innocent little children. As a good Calvinist, I don't think children are so very innocent; as an aspiring classical educator, I think very highly of structured education. Oh, and my professors are neither cruel nor wearisome.

But putting all that aside, I do sympathize with the first several stanzas! Who wants to go to school when birds are singing? Homework can seem like a wintry blast sometimes . . .

Seven more weeks.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Rebecca-

    As I read some of your posts I am overcome with gratefulness to the gift you are to our church. Your beauty is true beauty in every sense of the word. The ability that God has given you to articulate truth is an amazing work of grace in your life. Thanks for speaking the truth in love to us.