Fugitive Verses
Popular Reprinted Poetry from Nineteenth Century Newspapers

In School Days

Source of witness transcribed: The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer (Wheeling, West Virginia)

Date of witness transcribed: 3 January 1870

Notes about this poem: "In School Days" was printed in at least 214 newspapers during the nineteenth century. It can be found using ID 522611 in this table of most widely-reprinted poems.


  • Still sits the school house by the road,
  • A ragged beggar sunning;
  • Around it still the sumachs grow,
  • And blackberry vines are running.

  • Within, the master’s desk is seen,
  • Deep scarred by raps official;
  • The warping floor, the battered seats,
  • The jack-knife’s cared initial;

  • The charcoal frescoes on its wall;
  • Its door’s worn sill, betraying
  • The feet that, creeping slow to school
  • Went storming out to playing!

  • Long years ago a setting sun
  • Shone over it at setting;
  • Lit up its western window-panes,
  • And low caves’ icy fretting.

  • It touched the tangled golden curls,
  • And brown eyes full of grieving,
  • Of one who still her steps delayed
  • When all the school were leaving.

  • For near her stood the little boy
  • Her childish favor singled,
  • His cap pulled low upon a face
  • Where pride and shame were mingled.

  • Pushing with restless feet the snow
  • To right and left he lingered:—
  • As restlessly her tiny hands
  • The blue-checked apron fingered.

  • He saw her lift her eyes; he felt
  • The soft hand’s light caressing,
  • And heard the tremble of her voice,
  • As if a fault confessing.

  • “I’m sorry that I spelt the word;
  • I hate to go above you,
  • Because,”—the brown eyes lower fell,—
  • “Because, you see, I love you.”

  • Still memory to a gray haired man
  • That sweet child-face is showing,
  • Dear girl! the grasses on her grave
  • Have forty years been growing!

  • He lives to learn, in life’s hard school,
  • How few who pass above him
  • Lament their triumph and his loss,
  • Like her,—because they love him.