Culture

Poetry Corner: The School Boy

school pupilsOn this day, 25th February 1888 a conference advocated the adoption of leaving certificates in Scottish schools. The conference was held in Edinburgh and attended by officials of the Scottish Education Dept and Secondary School Rectors, although representatives of universities declined the invitation to attend.

The first Leaving Certificate exam was sat by pupils on Monday 18 June 1888 and the certificate remained a fixture of Scottish education until 1962. Scot Clans


The School Boy by William Blake

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 ?

Pen and ink cartoon showing a teacher answering a question from a pupil. "Do Orcadians suffer from the Scottish cringe?" She doesn't know the answer but the children's thought bubbles are an Orcadian variation on "too wee, too poor, too stupid".

Credit: Martin Laird

Categories: Culture

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