Verse > Anthologies > Fuess and Stearns, eds. > The Little Book of Society Verse
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Fuess and Stearns, comps.  The Little Book of Society Verse.  1922.
 
School and School Fellows
By Winthrop Mackworth Praed
 
Floreat Etona

TWELVE years ago I made a mock
  Of filthy trades and traffics:
I wondered what they meant by stock;
  I wrote delightful sapphics;
I knew the streets of Rome and Troy,        5
  I supped with Fates and Furies,—
Twelve years ago I was a boy,
  A happy boy, at Drury’s.
 
Twelve years ago! how many a thought
  Of faded pains and pleasures        10
Those whispered syllables have brought
  From Memory’s hoarded treasures!
The fields, the farms, the bats, the books,
  The glories and disgraces,
The voices of dear friends, the looks        15
  Of old familiar faces!
 
Kind mater smiles again to me,
  As bright as when we parted;
I seem again the frank, the free,
  Stout-limbed, and simple-hearted!        20
Pursuing every idle dream,
  And shunning every warning;
With no hard work but Bovney stream,
  No chill except Long Morning:
 
Now stopping Harry Vernon’s ball        25
  That rattled like a rocket;
Now hearing Wentworth’s “fourteen all!”
  And striking for the pocket;
Now feasting on a cheese and flitch,—
  Now drinking from the pewter;        30
Now leaping over Chalvey ditch,
  Now laughing at my tutor.
 
Where are my friends? I am alone;
  No playmate shares my beaker:
Some lie beneath the churchyard stone,        35
  And some—before the Speaker;
And some compose a tragedy,
  And some compose a rondo;
And some draw sword for Liberty,
  And some draw pleas for John Doe.        40
 
Tom Mill was used to blacken eyes
  Without the fear of sessions;
Charles Medlar loathed false quantities,
  As much as false professions;
Now Mill keeps order in the land,        45
  A magistrate pedantic;
And Medlar’s feet repose unscanned
  Beneath the wide Atlantic.
 
Wild Nick, whose oaths made such a din,
  Does Dr. Martext’s duty;        50
And Mullion, with that monstrous chin,
  Is married to a beauty;
And Darrell studies, week by week,
  His Mant, and not his Manton;
And Ball, who was but poor at Greek,        55
  Is very rich at Canton.
 
And I am eight-and-twenty now;—
  The world’s cold chains have bound me;
And darker shades are on my brow,
  And sadder scenes around me:        60
In Parliament I fill my seat,
  With many other noodles;
And lay my head in Jermyn Street,
  And sip my hock at Boodle’s.
 
But often, when the cares of life        65
  Have set my temples aching,
When visions haunt me of a wife,
  When duns await my waking,
When Lady Jane is in a pet,
  Or Hoby in a hurry,        70
When Captain Hazard wins a bet.
  Or Beaulieu spoils a curry,—
 
For hours and hours I think and talk
  Of each remembered hobby;
I long to lounge in Poets’ Walk,        75
  To shiver in the lobby;
I wish that I could run away
  From House, and Court, and Levee,
Where bearded men appear to-day
  Just Eton boys grown heavy,—        80
 
That I could back in childhood’s sun
  And dance o’er childhood’s roses,
And find huge wealth in one pound one,
  Vast wit in broken noses,
And play Sir Giles at Datchet Lane,        85
  And call the milkmaids Houris,—
That I could be a boy again,—
  A happy boy,—at Drury’s.
 
 
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