ページの画像
PDF
ePub
[graphic][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

THE JOLLY OLD PEDAGOGUE

GEORGE ARNOLD

A “jolly old pedagogue” simply means a jolly old teacher. But it does not mean the kind of teacher to whom you are accustomed. Long ago, women very rarely taught school. Except in girls' schools, the teachers were all men, and most of them old men at that. This poem tells of such a teacher. The first stanza tells what he looked like. He probably wore a long, black coat that showed much wear.

The pictures in this poem are so simplu and so clear that you cannot help seeing them. Now read in silence the first half of the first stanza, and then describe “the jolly old pedagogue.”

The remainder of the poem does not tell what he looked like, but it tells what he was like.

First, you see, he believed in being happy. He thought it very wrong to allow himself to be unhappy. And as he made himself happy, so he wanted to make everybody else happy. Note, in the second stanza, how he understood and treated the “littlest child.”

Now read the third stanza. Note how good he was to “ the stupidest boys.” At that time, the teacher almost always carried a long slender whip in the schoolroom, and he used it frequently. But to “ the jolly old pedagoguc,” love was sweeter than the power to punish or to whip. And so, “the rod was scarcely known in his school.”

Stanza 4 tells where and how he lived. Try to picture in your mind the outside and the inside of his house, and the old man sitting on his little porch on a summer's evening. He was not sorry that he was poor, for he did not want his relatives to “litigate over him ” (go to law over his property) after he was dead.

Read in silence stanzas 5 and 6. They present a beautiful picture. Try to think of this picture as it would look on the screen, — the old man taking his hat and cane, and walking slowly over to spend a sociable evening with a neighbor. Think of his arrival, the invitation into the house, the conversation, the bringing in of a pitcher of cider, — for that was the custom then, and the old man, brimming over with happiness, as, with his chair“ tipped back” and the glass of cider in his hand, he —

“ Chuckled, and sipped, and prattled apace,

Till the house grew merry from cellar to tiles (roof).” Note how, from his happiness, every one else grew happy. Note what he says in the last four lines of stanza 6. “An old-school grace ” means the fine manners of the olden times. The men of those days were taught while they were little boys to be extremely polite on all occasions.

Continue the moving picture through the last two stanzas, — the old man sitting on his porch on a summer evening, smoking his pipe, and the balmy evening wind playing in his long, thin white hair, and “the jolly old pedagogue” very, very happy.

Then just as the day dies in the golden west, a sweet and peaceful end comes to “the jolly old pedagogue,” — an end as happy as his life had been.

To be able to read so that you see and hear exactly what the poet tells you is a wonderful thing. If you so read this poem, the poet, George Arnold, will actually make you acquainted with "the jolly old pedagogue.

You know all the words and phrases that we have not explained.

[merged small][ocr errors]

'Twas a jolly old pedagogue, long ago,

Tall and slender, and sallow and dry;
His form was bent, and his gait was slow,

And his long, thin hair was white as snow,

But a wonderful twinkle shone in his eye; And he sang every night as he went to bed,

“Let us be happy down here below; 5 The living should live, though the dead be dead,”

Said the jolly old pedagogue, long ago.

2

He taught his scholars the Rule of Three,

Reading, and writing, and history too; He took the little ones up on his knee 10 For a kind old heart in his breast had he,

And the wants of the littlest child he knew : “Learn while you're young," he often said,

“There is much to enjoy down here below; Life for the living, and rest for the dead !”

Said the jolly old pedagogue, long ago.

15

3

20

With the stupidest boys, he was kind and cool,

Speaking only in gentlest tones;
The rod was scarcely known in his school;
Whipping, to him, was a barbarous rule,

And too hard work for his poor old bones;
Besides, it was painful, he sometimes said :

“We should make life pleasant down here below; The living need charity more than the dead,”

Said the jolly old pedagogue, long ago.

4

He lived in the house by the hawthorn lane,

With roses and woodbine over the door; His rooms were quiet, and neat, and plain, But a spirit of comfort there held reign,

And made him forget he was old and poor; “I need so little,” he often said;

“And my friends and relatives here below Won't litigate over me when I am dead,"

Said the jolly old pedagogue, long ago.

5

5

10

But the pleasantest times that he had of all,

Were the sociable hours he used to pass,
With his chair tipped back to a neighbor's wall,
Making an unceremonious call,

Over a pipe and a friendly glass;
This was the finest pleasure, he said,

Of the many he tasted here below; “Who has no cronies had better be dead!”

Said the jolly old pedagogue, long ago.

15

6

20

Then the jolly old pedagogue's wrinkled face

Melted all over in sunshiny smiles;
He stirred his glass with an old-school grace,
Chuckled, and sipped, and prattled apace,

Till the house grew merry from cellar to tiles ;

« 前へ次へ »