Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. I. Of Home: of Friendship
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume I. Of Home: of Friendship.  1904.
 
Poems of Home: II. For Children
The Smack in School
William Pitt Palmer (1805–1884)
 
A DISTRICT school, not far away,
Mid Berkshire hills, one winter’s day,
Was humming with its wonted noise
Of threescore mingled girls and boys;
Some few upon their tasks intent,        5
But more on furtive mischief bent,
The while the master’s downward look
Was fastened on a copy-book;
When suddenly, behind his back,
Rose sharp and clear a rousing smack!        10
As ’t were a battery of bliss
Let off in one tremendous kiss!
“What ’s that?” the startled master cries;
“That, thir,” a little imp replies,
“Wath William Willith, if you pleathe,—        15
I thaw him kith Thuthanna Peathe!”
With frown to make a statue thrill,
The master thundered, “Hither, Will!”
Like wretch o’ertaken in his track,
With stolen chattels on his back,        20
Will hung his head in fear and shame,
And to the awful presence came,—
A great, green, bashful simpleton,
The butt of all good-natured fun.
With smile suppressed, and birch upraised,        25
The threatener faltered,—“I ’m amazed
That you, my biggest pupil, should
Be guilty of an act so rude!
Before the whole set school to boot—
What evil genius put you to ’t?”        30
“’T was she herself, sir,” sobbed the lad,
“I did not mean to be so bad;
But when Susannah shook her curls,
And whispered, I was ’fraid of girls
And dursn’t kiss a baby’s doll,        35
I couldn’t stand it, sir, at all,
But up and kissed her on the spot!
I know—boo-hoo—I ought to not.
But, somehow, from her looks—boo-hoo—
I thought she kind o’ wished me to!”        40
 
 
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